Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Guns don't kill people ... right wing gun nuts do
From the AP:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Knoxville's police chief says the man accused of a shooting that killed two people at a Tennessee church targeted the congregation because of its liberal social stance.

Chief Sterling Owen IV said Monday that police found a letter in Jim D. Adkisson's car. Owen said Adkisson was apparently frustrated over being out of work and had a "stated hatred of the liberal movement."

Adkisson is charged with first-degree murder. Police say a gunman entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church during a children's performance Sunday. No children were hurt.

The church is known for advocating women's and gay rights and founding an American Civil Liberties Union chapter.

The kids were performing "Annie." More on our unfriendly neighborhood gunman:

"It appears he was acting alone," Chief Sterling Owen IV tells reporters. "In his written statement, he does not describe any affiliation with anybody and the subsequent search at his residence shows that it appears he was operating alone."

The chief says Adkisson fired three times with a 12-gauge shotgun. They recovered 76 shotgun shells at the Tennessee Valley Universalist Church. The gun was purchased last month at a pawn shop.

"I do not believe he expected to leave there alive," Owen says.

Owen says officers were at the church within minutes of receiving a call for assistance.

The FBI and ATF are assisting with the investigation.

Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the four-page leter that investigators recovered from Adkisson's truck "indicates he had been planning the shooting for about a week."

Good thing he's got the individual right to bear arms. Otherwise he would have had to resort to something weak and liberal; very strong language, perhaps. Just a bit more, from the aforementioned Knoxville News Sentinel:

Owen said Adkisson specifically targeted the church for its beliefs, rather than a particular member of the congregation.

“It appears that church had received some publicity regarding its liberal stance,” the chief said. The church has a “gays welcome” sign and regularly runs announcements in the News Sentinel about meetings of the Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays meetings at the church.

The church’s Web site states that it has worked for “desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women’s rights and gay rights” since the 1950s. Current ministries involve emergency aid for the needy, school tutoring and support for the homeless, as well as a cafe that provides a gathering place for gay and lesbian high-schoolers.

Officers recovered 76 shells for a 12-gauge, semiautomatic shotgun inside the church. Among those shells were three spent rounds. He had carried the shotgun inside the church in a guitar case, Owen said.

“He certainly intended to take a lot of casualties,” the chief said.

The story also has a hero:

Church members praised Greg McKendry, 60, who died as he attempted to block the gunfire. Church member Barbara Kemper told The Associated Press that McKendry "stood in the front of the gunman and took the blast to protect the rest of us."

"Greg McKendry was a very large gentleman, one of those people you might describe as a refrigerator with a head," said church member Schera Chadwick. "He looked like a football player. He did obviously stand up and put himself in between the shooter and the congregation."

A second victim was identified as Linda Kraeger, 61. She died at a hospital hours later, Kenner said.

Five others remained hospitalized Monday in critical and serious condition. Two others were treated and released Sunday.

Very sad story.


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