The Nashville community and law enforcement are still grappling with the mass shooting Sunday at a small church there, which left one woman dead and another seven people injured by the attacker, reports the Tennessean. Metro Nashville police Chief Steve Anderson said Monday he could only speculate as to the motive for the suspected attacker, identified as 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson. But a former U.S. attorney said discovering the motivation for the attack will be key to the ongoing federal civil rights investigation. “First you solve the crime and figure out exactly what happened. Then you delve into the background of the attack and you need to determine what attitudes (the suspect) had in terms of race and religion in the years leading up to the attack,” said Jonathan Skrmetti, a Memphis private attorney who worked as a trial attorney at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Police charged Samson Monday night with one count of homicide but additional charges are coming as the investigation continues. “He’s acknowledged that he was there. He’s acknowledged that he fired, quote, ‘at the church.’ That’s the extent of our information that we’ve obtained from him at this point,” Anderson said. Police said Samson, who emigrated to the U.S. from Sudan as a child about 20 years ago, fired 12 rounds from a .40-caliber handgun during the attack, stopping to reload the gun at least once. Police in Murfreesboro, Tenn., said Samson had a suicidal incident in June reportedly involving a gun. Samson also had two domestic disputes with a woman that resulted in calls to police, but no arrests, police records show. The reports do not immediately point to obvious racial or religious animosity by Samson, who is black.