NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A masked gunman entered a church in Tennessee on Sunday and opened fire, killing at least one person and injuring seven others before apparently shooting himself, an official said.
Don Aaron, spokesman for the Metro Nashville Police Department, said the gunman arrived at the parking lot in a blue vehicle as services were ending at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in the neighborhood of Antioch.
Aaron said the suspect – wearing a half mask – fatally shot a woman who was walking to her vehicle, then entered the rear of the church, and shot six people.
Aaron says an usher at the church confronted the gunman and then was pistol-whipped. During an altercation, the gunman shot himself.
Aaron said it was unclear whether the self-inflicted wound was intentional.
The gunman and five others were treated for gunshot wounds at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Aaron said. One gunshot victim and the man who was pistol-whipped were taken to Skyline Medical Center for treatment.
Aaron said the condition of the 26-year-old suspect from Rutherford County wasn’t believed to be life-threatening. He was under police guard. His name was not immediately released.
Aaron said he was “not aware” of any relationship between the alleged gunman and any of the worshippers inside the church. Congregants who witnessed the shootings were being interviewed by investigators.
No motive for the shooting was immediately determined. Aaron said as many as 50 people were in the church at the time of the shooting, and that all victims were adults.
The small, yellow brick church describes itself on its website as a “friendly, Bible based group of folks who love the Lord and are interested in spreading His Word to those who are lost.”
Photos on the church’s Facebook page show a diverse congregation with people of various ages and ethnicities.