National News

'Honey, he's killed me': Minister injured in church shooting recounts attack

Posted September 26, 2017 3:46 p.m. EDT

— Minister Joey Spann, who was shot during the church attack in Antioch on Sunday, recounted the terrifying encounter he had with the gunman to the media on Tuesday morning.

Spann said he believes the suspect, Emanuel Samson, shot at him three times, eventually striking him in the chest.

During the news conference, Spann said he told other members of the congregation at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ to run away.

Spann said he saw the masked gunman come around the corner and thought he was going to shoot everyone.

"He wasn't walking slow, coming very quick and shooting ... not yelling anything, nothing like that. Just shooting," he said.

Spann thought he was dying and told his wife, "Honey, he's killed me. I'm dying, and I'm sorry," while he was lying on the ground waiting for help.

The shooting stopped when heroic usher Caleb Engle retrieved his gun from his car and confronted the gunman. Spann credits Engle for saving a lot of lives during the attack.

"He was reloading, he was gonna kill all of us. I think Caleb saved us, and we're fortunate he was here that day," Spann said.

The minister said several members of the congregation who have nursing training were helping him until first responders arrived.

Spann said he's still trying to figure out why his church was targeted. He said he didn't know of any enemies or hostilities.

Spann's wife was also shot during the attack. He was able to reunite with her Tuesday morning and said she is doing all right.

"She's had a second surgery, so I'm not able to talk to her, so my son told me she's doing OK. It was an emotional meeting," Spann said.

Spann lost one of his fingers from injuries suffered he during the shooting, but he said he's thankful to be alive.

"I have my faith, and it's solid, and I don't question God," Spann said.

The minister said he hopes to get back to preaching, teaching and coaching soon.