Father of Tennessee Church Shooter Says He Begged Police to Take Son’s Guns Away and Told Him to ‘Pray to God and Those Demons Will Go Away’ as He Battled Depression

Vanansio Samson, the father of 27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson who fatally shot a beloved mother and wounded six others at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, in 2017, said he begged police to take his son’s guns before the tragedy.

He also said he tried convincing his only child to use the Bible and prayer to shoo demons that terrorized him at night as he battled mental illness.

“I begged the Murfreesboro Police to take away guns from him because I’m scared. Emanuel love people. Emanuel can only hurt himself. Emanuel can barely kill even a chicken. … I told the police to help me take his guns away. They said ‘no,’ that is his civil right and they cannot do it,” Vanansio explained about one rainy day in June 2017 when Emanuel sent him a suicidal text.

He was so sure his son was already dead, Vanansio started crying.

“I was definitely crying and I went and reported it to the Murfreesboro Police Department,” he said.

The police would later locate Emanuel alive and told his father that his son was well. Vanansio, however, said he knew he wasn’t.

It was almost three months later on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, when police say Emanuel, who worked as a security guard at the time, arrived at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ at 10:55 a.m. in a blue SUV wearing a neoprene half face mask.

Armed with a handgun, Emanuel “fired upon the church building” with his vehicle still running in the parking lot where he shot church member Melanie Crow Smith, 39, and left her for dead. He then went on to shoot several other people inside the church building.

On the third day of Emanuel’s trial this week, Vanansio testified that his son had been struggling with bipolar disorder and depression before the shooting and if only authorities had helped him when he asked, perhaps the tragedy could have been avoided.

“If metro had detained him and taken him for evaluation that time, because I believe that sickness was out there, we would have not been sitting here today. Or this tragedy would have not happened. Because I tried to take the guns away from him. Could not,” he said.

He explained that a few months while he was out of the country in early 2017, Emanuel went through a dark period and sent him suicidal messages then too. Emanuel confided in him that he was seeing visions of black and white that kept him from sleeping at night. He urged his son at that time to try the Bible.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair