Emanuel Samson, the person accused of killing a woman and wounding seven others at the 2017 Nashville church shooting said that he wanted to kill "a minimum of 10 white churchgoers," according to prosecutors. Samson's trial, that officially began on Monday, May 20, revealed that the man was trying to pass Charleston shooter Dylann Roof's death toll from the 2015 shooting in South Carolina. White Supremacist Roof, who was formally sentenced to death killed nine people at a historically black church that year.
"Dylann Roof is less than nothing. The blood that 10 of your kind will shed is that of the color upon the RBG flag in terms of vengeance," is what Samson allegedly wrote in a note that was found in his car, said prosecutors. The note is said to have included a smiley face.
"This state will prove beyond all reasonable doubt that on Sept. 24, 2017, this defendant, Emanuel Kidega Samson, went to the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ with the intent to murder a minimum of 10 white churchgoers on that day," Nashville Deputy District Attorney Amy Hunter said during her opening statements, "You won't have to take the state's word for it though."
The man is said to have allegedly opened fire at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch meaning to kill white churchgoers as a way to avenge Roff's victims, who were all African American. However, his attorney Jennifer Lynn Thompson countered that Samson's actual intentions were suicide and that he had left a suicide note for his girlfriend and a video for his cousin. The shooting rampage killed 38-year-old Melanie L. Crow of Smyrna, Tennessee.
However, his arrest affidavit reportedly said that he had shown up in a tactical vest and wore a mask that had a clown smile on it. At a hearing in April, it was revealed that Samson had been diagnosed with "schizoaffective disorder bipolar type" and had PTSD because of a violent and abusive past.
"What this case is about is a man who was very sad, very suicidal, and he was looking to die that day," Thompson told jurors on Monday. He faces up to 43 charges, including civil rights intimidation and murder. His next day in court has not yet been revealed.