Gunman Opens Fire During Church Service

July 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
In Knoxville, Tennessee, a community of the faithful finds its faith put to the test. Their Sunday services were cut short by a gunman who also cut short the lives of two church-goersAngry about the liberal movement, and frustrated at being unemployed, Jim Adkisson walked into the crowded Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church Sunday morning during a children's performance and started shooting.

Knoxville police said the 58-year old wrote a letter about his intentions. "He indicated he expected to shoot till police arrived and expected to be killed by police," said Chief Sterling Owen with the Knoxville Police Department.

Police said Adkisson killed 2 people and injured 7 others before church members were able to restrain him and call for help.

Witnesses said one of the victims, Greg McKendry, died while trying to shield the children. "I will tell you that Greg McKendry we loved. We loved Greg McKendry and.. Please pray for this congregation because we are grieving the loss of a wonderful man," said church member Steve Drevik.

Investigators, congregants and the community as a whole are coming together to grieve for the fallen. "It's terrible that you come to church to do worship and something like this occurs. It is horrendous," said Deputy Chief Bill Roehl with the Knoxville Police Department.

"We are hurting with the people in this church," said Knoxville resident Steve Kopp.

Their grief, mixed with gratitude, at knowing the shooter's rampage was cut short.

Jim Adkisson is being held on $1-million dollars bail on a charge of first degree murder. He'll appear in court next month.



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