A gunman has opened fire at the end of a church service near the city of Nashville in Tennessee, killing a woman and injuring seven others, local officials say. The suspect shot himself before being taken into custody.
The incident began just before 11:15 a.m. CT on Sunday when officers were called to reports of an active shooter at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, which is a neighborhood about 9.5 miles (15 kilometers) southeast of Nashville.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said the gunman first arrived in the church’s parking lot. “One woman who was walking to her vehicle was immediately fatally wounded by the gunman,” he said.
The suspect is then believed to have entered the rear of the church. “Other persons were still inside the church building. The gunman opened fire on them [and] multiple rounds were fired inside the church,” the spokesman said.
Police confirmed that a total of 7 victims had been shot, including the woman who died in the parking lot of the church. At least two of those injured were reported to be in a critical condition. An eighth victim was pistol-whipped and taken to hospital for treatment.
Police said one of the churchgoers has a gun permit and ran to his car to retrieve his weapon, after which he confronted the suspect, who then shot himself. The suspect was transported to an area hospital where there was no immediate word on his condition.
The suspect was described as a man in his mid-20s who is believed to be from Rutherford County. There was no immediate indication of a link between the suspect and the church, although the investigation is still underway.
Churchgoers who were not injured were being interviewed by police.
The gunshot victims include people who were attending a weekly church service that starts at 10 a.m. on Sundays. All of the injured victims are over the age of 60 and were taken to area hospitals for treatment, the Nashville Fire Department said.
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