Tennessee congregants wrestle with church shooter

Church shooting graphic by MGN.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Members of a Tennessee church that was attacked by a gunman have struggled to reconcile the 27-year-old defendant with his younger self, who used to be part of the church.

Emanuel Kidega Samson was convicted Friday of first-degree murder and other offenses for fatally shooting one person and injuring seven others at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Nashville in 2017.

Years earlier, he had taught vacation Bible school at the same church.

Minister Joey Spann, who was wounded in the attack, says Samson changed. He cited recordings in which Samson and his ex-girlfriend laughed about the victims and bragged about how good he looked in media coverage.

Congregants are hoping he gets life without parole. Samson says he's mentally ill, was suicidal that day and didn't remember the shooting.