The shooting at Burnett’s Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, started in the church’s parking lot, according to police and the Nashville Fire Department.
Nashville Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said emergency calls came in around 11:15 a.m. as services were letting out.
The gunman, identified as a 26-year-old black man, arrived in the parking lot and first fatally fired at a woman walking to her car, Aaron said. He was was wearing a neoprene half-mask and drove an SUV, Aaron said.
After gunning down the woman in the parking lot, the shooter went inside the rear of the church and began “indiscriminately shooting at people,” police said, setting off multiple rounds and wounding six people.
A church usher who ran up and confronted the gunman was pistol-whipped by him, the police spokesman said. During the struggle, the gunman unintentionally shot himself in the left pectoral. At that point, the usher went to his car, where he got his weapon to confront the shooter again.
Police said they know the identity of the suspect and that he has no relationship to the congregation. The gunman’s wound is not life-threatening, police said.
All seven of the wounded including the suspect were taken to area hospitals. Five of them were sent to Vanderbilt Medical Center and one to Skyline Medical Center.
Vanderbilt Medical Center said in a statement after the shooting that its emergency medicine physicians and trauma center surgeons are caring for two critically injured gunshot victims, and another four individuals who are currently in stable condition.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released a statement on Sunday:
“This is a terrible tragedy for our city,” she said. “My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased as well as for the wounded victims and their loved ones. Their lives have been forever changed, as has the life of their faith community at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ.
“My administration, especially the Metro Nashville Police Department, will continue to work with community members to stop crime before it starts, encourage peaceful conflict resolution, and promote non-violence,” she added.