Accused church shooter worked as security guard, was renewing license before shooting

Emanuel Samson is escorted by police after being interviewed. (Photo: Metro Nashville Police Department)


State records with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance show accused church shooter Emanuel Samson was previously licensed to be an unarmed security guard and the News 4 I-Team has learned he was in the process of renewing the license before the shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ.

The I-Team has confirmed that last Friday, Samson was taking a class at the Academy of Personal Protection and Security in Nashville in order to renew his license.

"He was quiet and nice," said owner Buford Tune. "There was nothing outstanding about him at all."

Samson had contacted the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance about completing the required training on Friday, according to spokesman Kevin Walters.

Tune said Samson was sent to take the all-day class by his new employer. Tune said to his knowledge, Samson worked his first shift Saturday, but was fired on Sunday after not showing up for a shift.

That same day, Samson allegedly shot six people at a house of worship.

The I-Team confirmed Samson had also tried to apply for a job at the security company G4S in Nashville back in June. But a corporate spokeswoman said Samson failed the screening process, which included a drug test and background check.

Samson has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Melanie Crow, 38, of Smyrna, outside Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch. He will face additional charges after shooting six other people, including the church’s minister Joey Spann, and pistol-whipping another person.

Previous police records reveal another side to Samson’s life.

According to a police report, on June 27, Murfreesboro police responded to a call about suicidal thoughts.

Samson’s father, Vanansio Samson, told police that his son Emanuel had sent a text to him early that morning stating, “Your phone is off, I have a gun to my head. Have a nice f****** life.”

According to the police report, Vanansio Samson tried to call his son and could not make contact.

Police pinged Emanuel Samson’s phone to an address in Nashville, which turned out to be the local G4S office. Murfreesboro Police said upon contacting Samson, he said his father Vanansio had overblown the situation.

A G4S spokeswoman said that’s about the time Samson was attempting to file application paperwork before failing the screening process.

On Jan. 29, Murfreesboro police responded to a call of a domestic disturbance at a home on North Rutherford Boulevard.

The police report states that his girlfriend, Jeanna Ambrose, was arguing with her boyfriend.

The report cites Ambrose said that she believed Samson had cheated on her.

According to the report, at one point, Samson turned away from her and punched a small TV, breaking it.

The report also cites that Samson broke a small figurine, and when Ambrose tried to leave the room, Samson demanded that she talk to him.

Ambrose called police and Samson refused medical attention for his hand, and Samson left the residence.

On March 11, at 2:25 p.m., a police report indicates Samson called police, saying that he was trying to break all contact with Ambrose and claimed that she kept coming around.

Samson reported that Ambrose showed up and was banging on his door and that he was in fear of her because Ambrose had allegedly struck him before.

No threat or report of an assault was made that day.

Ambrose claimed in the report that she was coming to the house to pick up her things.

Murfreesboro PD did not arrest Samson for any of the incidents during 2017.

Samson had a criminal interaction with the LaVergne Police Department in 2008, according to a records custodian. But because Samson was a minor at the time, the department could not release those records.

In 2015, Samson was listed as the victim of an aggravated burglary in Smyrna, according to Sgt. Bobby Gibson with the Smyrna Police Department.

The following is the statement from Crimson Security, the last place Samson worked until the day of the shooting:

Mr. Samson was hired by our company to work as an unarmed security officer. He attended and completed state-mandated classes on Friday September 22, 2017. He submitted his documentation to Crimson Security Service per the state requirements. He first reported to work on Saturday, September 23, 2017, for training purposes only. There was no incident or indication of any problem with Mr. Samson at any time during his shift. The company received a text from him on Sunday morning around 10:00 am advising that he would not return to work for us. Crimson Security Service terminated his employment upon receipt of his message. That was the last communication Crimson Security Service had with Mr. Samson. As a locally based member of the community, Crimson Security is deeply saddened by this tragedy and is more dedicated than ever to keeping our community safe.

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