Minister describes chaos during Antioch church shooting

Joey Spann speaks to the media from VUMC (Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The minister wounded in the church shooting in Antioch on Sunday spoke to the media for the first time Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Joey Spann said he thought he was going to die on Sunday after he was shot.

“When I fell down to the side, my wife raised up and she called out my name,” he said. “I said, ‘Honey, he’s killed me. I’m dying. I’m sorry.’”

PHOTOS: Mass shooting at Antioch church

Spann said he didn’t remember much about the shooter other than the mask he was wearing.

“Last time I saw him, he was going into the auditorium. You could still hear the gun going off and I thought he was going to shoot everybody,” he recalled.

(Photo: WKRN)

The minister said the shooter was silent most of the time.

“He was coming. He wasn’t walking slow; he was coming in there pretty quick. He was shooting as he was coming aggressively but not yelling anything. He was just shooting.”

Spann also noted the bravery and humbleness of the man credited with stopping the shooter, Caleb Engle.

“Caleb will, where I’ve seen him, come across very humble, because he is,” he said. “I think he saved every one of our lives.”

The minister continued, “He was reloading. He was going to kill every one of us in there. I think Caleb, you know, saved us, and we were very fortunate he was there that day.”

Spann said he could not think of a reason someone would target the churchgoers at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ that morning.

Day after shooting on Sept. 25, 2017 (Photo: WKRN)

“Of all the places, why a little church like Burnette Chapel? There were no enemies, no hostilities toward anyone. It’s hard to figure out why and I don’t know why,” he explained.

Spann has since been upgraded to critical but stable condition while his wife Peggy, a retired psychiatric nurse, was stable.

Minister Spann did say he finally got to see his wife, who was also injured, Tuesday around 12:30 a.m.  He said it was an emotional meeting and that she was doing okay.

In addition to being a minister, Spann teaches Bible at the Nashville Christian School. He is also a coach for the varsity girls’ basketball team. Spann is widely known as Coach Spann and popular with his students.

Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, of Murfreesboro, was charged Sunday night with one count of murder. A bond has yet to be set, and further charges are forthcoming.

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