Robert Caleb Engle: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, Burnette Chapel Church of Christ antioch, burnette chapel church antioch, burnette church antiochMetro Nashville Police/Twitter

The scene at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, after at least one woman was killed and six others were wounded when a gunman opened fire Sunday morning, the Metro Nashville Police Department says.

Robert Caleb Engle, 22, is the heroic usher and legal gun carrier who stopped the fatal shooting at Burnette Chapel Church in Antioch, Tennessee today. He’s being hailed as a hero who risked his own life to stop the gunman, now identified as Emanuel Samson. While they struggled, Samson was shot in the chest.

Here’s what you need to know about Engle and what he did to stop the shooting.


1. When Robert Caleb Engle Confronted the Gunman, He Was Pistol-Whipped

When Robert Engle saw the shooting, he ran up to the gunman to try to stop him, police said. “There was a significant struggle between the two,” said Don Aaron, police spokesman. Samson pistol-whipped Engle during the struggle. Engle was bleeding from his head, but he didn’t let the injury stop him.

Nashville police chief Steve Anderson said Engle was a hero.

“He’s the hero here, he’s the person who stopped this madness in its tracks.”

Engle suffered severe injuries from the confrontation, but is now stable.


2. Engle Got His Gun, Returned, and Held the Shooter at Gunpoint

Engle, who has a legal permit to carry his gun, ran outside to his car to get his gun after he was pistol-whipped, according to early police reports. The gunman had accidentally shot himself in the chest during their initial struggle.

When he went back into the church, Engle held the shooter at gunpoint while he was bleeding from his head, waiting for the police.

“After the gunman suffered the self inflicted wound, the church usher … ran to his car, got his gun, came back in, and made sure the gunman didn’t make any more movements until the police officers arrived,” Aaron told reporters.

Engle was able to talk to the police and walk into the ambulance on his own.


3. Police Officials Called Engle an ‘Exceptionally Brave Individual’ and a Hero

Police officials had nothing but praise for Engle. Don Aaron, a police spokesman, called him an “exceptionally brave individual.”

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Engle, a church usher, was hospitalized with a head injury from the confrontation, but the injury is not life threatening, according to police.

Engle’s grandmother, Rheta Engle, said her grandson just really cares for people, The Tennessean reported.

That’s like him. He’s just someone who cares about a lot of people. He has all their feelings at heart… It would make any parent, grandparent very, very proud of him.”

Robert Langford, a friend of Engle’s, said his friend goes by his middle name, Caleb. He described Engle to The Tennessean as a gentle giant.

He’s such a great guy… Just one of the kindest human beings you’ll ever meet.”

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4. The Gunman Opened Fire as Church Was Letting Out

Burnette Chapel Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee.

The shooter had opened fire just as Burnette Chapel was letting out on Sunday morning. Emergency responders were called to the church at 11:17 a.m., according to Metro Nashville Fire Department dispatch audio. The victims included three women and three men. One woman who was shot in the parking lot, 39-year-old Melanie Smith of Smyrna, died.

The shooter was wearing a neoprene sky type mask, Aaron said. The gunman entered the rear of the church, Aaron said, and opened fire again, shooting “indiscriminately.”


5. About 42 People Were in the Church When the Shooting Started

Police said they believed about 42 people were in the church when the shooting began. All of the victims were adults. Police weren’t aware of the motive or any relationship between the shooter and the congregation. The latest reports from police reveal that the shooter had attended the church about one to two years ago.

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A witness said the shooter was silent and shot continuously while moving to the front of the church. “I’ve never seen him before,” she told reporters.

Read more about the shooting in Heavy’s story below:

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