NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Candles, flowers, and balloons were left behind at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on Monday night after hundreds of people came together to support the congregation.
Just one day ago, a gunman opened fire during Sunday’s service, killing one woman in the parking lot and injuring seven others inside, including the minister and his wife.
The vigil Monday was a show of strength and unity as people from all over the United States gathered to say prayers and sing beautiful hymns.
The supporters also praised Caleb Engle, the 22-year-old church usher who stepped into stop the violence, confronting the gunman and holding him at gunpoint until police arrived.
Mayor Megan Barry gave Engle high praise at the vigil.
“We’re so thankful for Caleb who stopped the gunman as he entered into the church put his own life in danger, and I think that speaks so highly to the fact that he wanted to step up and make sure he won’t call himself a hero, but I’m going call him a hero,” she said.
“I didn’t know what to think. It’s the first time this has happened in Nashville. I was so surprised … It means a lot, it means a lot to see all these people from all over the community, showing their support for everybody,” said attendee Clifford Hunter. Members of the church, members of surrounding churches, and even leaders from churches out of state—as far as New York—were in attendance, as those in pain leaned on each other for support, still reeling from the news.
A GoFundMe has also been set up to help with funeral expenses for the woman who was killed, Melanie Crow-Smith. Click here to donate.
Her funeral will be held Thursday at West Harpeth Funeral Home and Crematory with visitation scheduled for Wednesday.