Two dead, seven others wounded in church by gunfire in Tennessee, United States

Sunday, July 27, 2008

On Sunday morning, at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, a gunman identified as 58 year old Powell, TN resident Jim Adkisson fired a number of shots with a 12 gauge shotgun, killing two people, and wounding seven others. He was finally tackled by two parishioners and restrained until the authorities arrived.

Knoxville, Tennessee skyline
Image: Nathan C. Fortner.

Seven wounded victims from gunfire were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Twelve others received minor wounds and were cared for at the church. Greg McKendry, one of the victims who was killed as a result of the shootings reportedly "stood in the front of the gunman and took the blast to protect the rest of us," said Barbara Kemper, a witness to the shooting. The other person to die from the gunfire was 61 year old Linda Kreager. She passed away several hours after being admitted to the Medical Center.

The motive of the crime was Adkisson's annoyance at his inability to get a job, and a general hatred of the "liberal movement," said the police on Monday. "It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred for the liberal movement," said Knoxville Chief of Police Sterling Owen.

Unitarian Universalism is a theologically liberal religion, separate from mainstream Christianity, that promotes desegregation, fights for women's and gay rights, and participates in different charitable outreaches.

Children from the church's Summer Theater Workshop were performing the musical Annie at the time of the shootings reportedly. The police have stated that no children were wounded in the shooting.

The Mayor of Knoxville, Bill Haslam stated that the city had "suffered a tragedy," and that "our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the church community."