Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Church shooting in Knoxville leaves several injured

A friend in Knoxville contacted me about a shooting at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church this morning. Several have been injured. There aren't many details yet.

This congregation hosts the Spectrum Cafe, which is a welcoming place for GLBT youth. Please, keep the members of this congregation in your thoughts and prayers.

Update: WBIR has several details and a time line of events.

Update 2: The Knoxville News Sentinel story linked above has been updated and reports that Greg McKendry has died from wounds he received when he interposed his body between the shooter and other parishioners. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." The Gospel according to St. John 15:13

Update 3: Out & About Newspaper provides additional information on the ways in which the congregation has been supportive of the GLBT community.

Update 4: The FBI is involved in case the matter turns out to be a hate crime. One parishioner notes that the gunman was yelling "hateful things." (I had seen a report that a second person has died. It is no longer posted. Will try to find out more.)

Update 5: The Knoxville News Sentinel has acknowledged the conflicting information about a second victim and released the name of the shooter as Jim D. Adkisson of Powell. The online story is also the first in the mainstream media to acknowledge the congregation's outreach to the GLBT community. They mention in connection with officers being dispatched to other congregations for security.

[Knoxville Police Chief Sterling] Owen said when authorities learned of the shooting, police officers were sent to other churches to provide security.

"We've gone to some in the county and in other counties as well," Owen said. He declined to identify the churches targeted for additional security, however, the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was a strong proponent of gay rights in the community.

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