Breaking: Unitarian-Universalist Church Shooting

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On Sunday morning Jim Adkisson, who defined himself to neighbors as a “Confederate” and a “believer in the old South”, walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and opened fire with a shotgun. Nine people were inured by gunfire, two have died.

“KPD Chief Sterling Owen said … that mental illness is not believed to be a factor in the suspect’s actions. Owen also said the FBI is now involved in the investigation. Owen confirmed witness reports indicating that the suspect arrived on the scene with a large quantity of ammunition. He also noted that the suspect had attempted to conceal the 12 gauge shotgun he used in the shooting by carrying it in a guitar case.”

There were around 200 people in attendance, and children were singing songs for the congregation when the shooting started. Four members of the congregation managed to tackle and subdue Adkisson. The minister of TVUUC has asked people to “pray for us”. Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale has issued a written statement of support and sympathy:

“When we go to our places of worship, we go expecting to have a time of reflection and fellowship. Today’s violence is the worst sort of desecration and should be renounced by citizens of all faiths. I join all Knox Countians in offering our prayers to the families affected by this terrible tragedy. This is a time for all of us to come together to lend our complete support to this church family.”

As a member of the extended UU family, I want to say that my thoughts and prayers go out to the TVUUC community, may they find the strength to recover and move forward. May healing come to those still in the hospital, and may justice be done.

More information: CNN, Knoxville News Sentinel, Reuters, New York Times, Statement from Rev. William G. Sinkford, President, Unitarian Universalist Association.

ADDENDUM: From Philocrites: Gunman targeted the UUs for their ‘liberal stance’ and their acceptance of gays.