Hundreds gather to offer prayers and support at vigil for victims of Burnette Chapel shooting

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ANTIOCH, Tenn. -  A community in mourning gathered together to remember the loss of one of their own and pray for the seven others that were wounded during a tragic shooting over the weekend.

Police say a gunman opened fire at Burnette Chapel Church on Sunday, before being taken down by an usher.  25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson is charged with murder in connection to the shooting.

Authorities say he killed a woman in the parking lot of the church, then entered a back door and began shooting, just as the service ended.

Monday night, hundreds gathered at the church in remembrance of the victims during a  vigil that helped so many find the strength to push through this tragedy.

"Tonight we are here to lift this community up, and I think in the days to come we'll need answers. We want to know why this happened and how this happened."

Nashville Mayor Megan Berry says the only way to describe this church is tragic. "Sometimes we don`t get the privilege of having the answers . We just have to know what has happened is just a tragedy."

Though Mayor Berry knows first hand the best way to heal this fresh wound, is to spread love. "One of the things Nashville does well is we wrap each other in love and I know that very well because I recently had a tragedy in my own life."

Hundreds took the mayor's advice at a candlelight vigil Monday night. "This is about the folks that were impacted, the folks I just came from the hospital and saw, who are trying to keep their spirits up."

Church members are trying to stay positive. "One moment you are crying because how severe, how sad situation this is. It`s very traumatic," explained Burnette Chapel member Kristy Mallory.

Mallory, a 30-year-member of the church, was just one of many who waited impatiently on Sunday to be reunited with her church family.

The situation is terrible, but she has nothing negative to say to Emanuel Kidega Samson, the former church member accused in the shooting. "He was a very sweet boy when he was going here. Something must have happened to make him want to do this."

The pain can still be seen in the eyes of the church members, but Mallory says the vigil is going to give many the strength to push through. "It's going to show God is here. We are all here fighting the Devil. He is the one that brought this here, the Devil did. We don't allow him in our community."

Church members say they are simply asking people to pray for them, but also the alleged gunman and his family.

Mayor Berry says the love Nashville has received since this tragedy has just been simply wonderful.


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