LOCAL PASTOR REACTS TO TENNESSEE CHURCH SHOOTING

By WVUA 23 Web Writer Kate Silvey

Local Tuscaloosa pastors are reacting after a deadly shooting at a Tennessee church.

According to police, 26-year-old Emanuel Samson opened fire in the parking lot of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee, on Sunday, Sept. 24. Samson shot 39-year-old Melanie Smith in the parking lot before entering the church, where he shot six other victims including the pastor and his wife. Police then say Samson shot himself.

Samson has been released from the hospital and has been charged with murder and attempted murder.

The Rev. Freddie Washington of Cornerstone Full Gospel Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa said he hated to hear about another tragedy at a church.

But the tragic situation, Washington said, is “one that continuously brings us into an awareness that in this day and time, security is definitely needed.”

Deadly church shootings like the one that took place in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015 inspired Washington’s church to implement a security team. During weekly services, Cornerstone Baptist Church has a number of security workers monitoring the parking lot and all entrance ways. The church has never had an issue before, but the security team is well-prepared in case of an emergency.

Washington wants his congregation to feel safe after the Tennessee shooting, and suggests that other churches look into getting a security team to ensure the safety of their members.

“In theses times of so much that’s going on in our society, in the body of Christ, and even in our nation, it’s vitally important that we remain vigilant, that we remain steadfast in our hopes and in our belief, and not allow fear to have us in the place to where we feel as though it is unsafe,” said Washington.

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