2 seriously, 4 not so seriously.

This really hurts.
That is my church.
And it had to happen during a children's production of Annie.
Who knows what the motivation was.
I guess we'll find out.
Apparently members of the congregation tackled the guy.
Long blond hair in his 40s

ED. UPDATE: KNS: One fatality reported

"Make sure everyone knows that Greg McKendry was a hero, a total hero," Taylor Bessette said of the man who has been his foster father just a few months.

Witness Barbara Kemper said, "Greg McKendry stood in the front of the gunman and took the blast to protect the rest of us."

ED. UPDATE: News now reporting two fatalities. No word yet on who the second victim is.

ED. UPDATE: According to the updated KNS report, the shooter is identified as Jim D. Adkisson, a 58-year-old Powell man. He is being held on $1 million bond. Reports of a second fatality are unconfirmed by the KPD.

ED. UPDATE: WBIR: Second fatality confirmed

A second victim in the church shooting has died. Linda Kraeger, 73 years of age, has died from her wounds, according to city of Knoxville spokesman Randy Kenner.

ED. NOTE: KNS article says Linda Kraeger was 61.

Sam's picture

That is so sad. I am praying

That is so sad. I am praying for the injured.

marat's picture

CNN Report

I got a CNN bulletin on this a little while ago. They said:

--Seven shot and critically wounded at Unitarian church in Knoxville, Tennessee, authorities say. Suspect arrested.

Was the shooter injured in the arrest?

Anonymously Nine's picture

Give it a rest

Not today Butterfly.

Anonymously Nine's picture

The Atheists all want to be

The Atheists all want to be the center of attention also. Not cool.

Andy Axel's picture

It especially makes little

It especially makes little sense as a number of atheists/agnostics that I know attend UU services regularly.


"It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?"

Andy Axel's picture

Not today?

Did you say "not today?" Did you say "give it a rest?"

OK, then.

(xpost with Hayduke)


"It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?"

Hayduke's picture


ICU is first in line on KnoxBlab with: "What a wake up call, huh? Now maybe one might have a better understanding as to why I have a 9mm."

Lumpy is out in front on talk radio according to cjensen on the KNS thread: "Lumpy was just on 100.3 and was braggin' about how he and his pastor were estimatin' that about a hundred of their parishioners were 'packin'."

Carole Borges's picture

A horrible thing

I also have many friends who attend this church. I pray everyone involved is safe and those who were hurt find a way to heal. This is truly an unspeakable act.

kbarry's picture

video feed on cnn.com

video feed on cnn.com now


choose "live video"

Frank's picture


City Councilman Joe Hultquist says one victim in the church attack has died, and five others are in critical condition.

sugarfatpie's picture

This is a courageous church!

You will be hard pressed to find a more courageous, caring, informed and active church anywhere in the world. Name a progressive issue and someone in this congregation is doing something about it. That's why I go there, really. Though the sermons are inspiring and funny, and the music is often wonderful, its what this church does in the community that makes me love it.


I suppose some might see TVUUC's courage on social justice, the war, glbt issues as a possible reason for the attack, but so far there is no indication of this at all.

Dr. John Bohstedt (UTK History dept) who helped tackle the shooter, emphasizes this point.

"This was a day the church was looking forward to for a long time and it turned into a nightmare," Bohstedt said. Bohstedt said the gunman had no connection to the church that he knows of, and he has no clue as to a motive.

"Just another crazy, random church shooting," added an emotional Bohstedt.

Steve Drevick just gave an interview to WVLT where he mentioned that the shooter might have been mentally unstable, and in the same breath said that incidents like this make clear the need to take better care of the mentally ill. The kindness of this congregation shines through even in the worst of times.

While I'm sure the church will recover, I'm sure many members, especially the kids, have been scarred. They will need support from all of us.


"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

Mark Harmon's picture

Becky and I were there, and

Becky and I were there, and are unhurt. Becky was in the back hallway and gave a full statement to police about what she saw. I was in the first row on the right side. I noticed after the shots rang out a woman seated behind me was bleeding profusely.

A lot of people were in the church for a special kids performance of the musical Annie. The performance was barely underway when we heard the first bang.

From what I understand the following people are heroes who helped tackle the gunman: Terry Uselton, Jamie Parkey, John Bohstedt, and a fourth man whose name I do not know. Our Religious Education Brian Griffin rushed the children not on stage up the hill to a nearby Presbyterian Church where they were locked in and cared for by that congregation.

The church is still a crime scene. The Red Cross has brought food and drink. Church members have helped and counseled one another.

Amy Broyles and her youngest, Avery, were in the "cry room." Her other daughter Aidyn had blood on her dress from someone nearby who was injured. Her stepdaughter Amira was on stage when the first shot rang out.

Indya Kincannon and her two daughters were in the same row as Jamie, Aidyn, and me. They escaped quickly. All unhurt.

I hear news reports that Greg McKendrie is dead from his wounds. Greg was a friend and a tireless worker for the church. He was a big bear of man whose heart and home were always open to those in need of help.

Pray for him and for all victims, and for those who must live with the aftermath of this shooting.

Mark Harmon

Brian A.'s picture


Informative interview:


Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Pam Strickland's picture

Am friends with many there,

Am friends with many there, including Brian Griffin who is the youth director (not sure of the exact title). I hear that he is safe and that he is busy organizing counseling for the kids.

Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

Elrod's picture

I'm a member

We were not there this morning but seriously considered attending with friends. It's just so awful.

lovable liberal's picture

Elrod has a diary up at

Elrod has a diary up at DailyKos. (I am assuming it's the same Elrod.)

There's an outpouring of sympathy.

Liberty and justice for all.

My home

Elrod's picture

It's me

I posted it as soon as my wife told me about it. The outpouring of sympathy from the greater Knoxville community and the online community has been wonderful. This is a traumatic time. I just attended a grievance meeting for TVUUC members in Blount County and it will take a while for the congregation to get through this. Greg McKendry, the victim, was a really nice man.

R. Neal's picture

This is horrible,

This is horrible, heartbreaking news.

sugarfatpie's picture

'Total hero' dies after taking blast to protect others in church



"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

SharonCobb's picture

This is devastating under

This is devastating under any circumstance, but to have it happen not only in my State, but where I know many of the people I know in Knoxville attend church is surreal.

Sending you all love and good thoughts and energy.

Brian A.'s picture

What a horrible

What a horrible tragedy.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Andy Axel's picture

Awful. Just

Awful. Just awful.


"It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?"

bizgrrl's picture


It is just too sad. I know everyone in the community wants everyone at this church to know how much we care. A shooting.A shooting at a church. A shooting at a children's play at a church. Just horrible.

R. Neal's picture

The Mrs. just called her

The Mrs. just called her niece who is a member to check up on her. Her husband and son were there. They are OK, physically. She said there were people from other churches from around the community because of participation in the children's play event.

Bird_dog's picture

too close to home

It is so hard to hear about tragedies like this. My heart goes out to my friends at both Second and TVUUC where we "sing-out" with Bob Grimac every month. One of my children saw the scrolling news at a restaurant in CA and called.

Bizzy's picture

Dear Members

I am just so sorry, so stunned that this has happened. Thank you for taking the time to post here to share your stories. I know it must be difficult to talk about. I am glad for your safety, saddened for the loss and hurt of others.

Andy Axel's picture

Listening to WNOX right now

Listening to WNOX right now online...


"It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?"

Andy Axel's picture

According to WNOX, five

According to WNOX, five people critical at UTMC, one serious. Two treated & released. One at Ft. Sanders. (No clue how accurate that is.)


"It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?"

Mark Siegel's picture

This tears at your heart and

This tears at your heart and your soul.

Like hundreds of other people, I was at a religious service within a mile of TVUUC when this occurred. My daughter was in a play at a local church on June 2. I know names I am seeing in the reports.

This is, literally, way too close to home for me. I can not begin to imagine what those who were there, and who belong to the church, are going through.

Bbeanster's picture

I'm sitting here in San

I'm sitting here in San Francisco stunned beyond words. I have so many friends who attend -- my children went to kindergarten at the old church. They are dear, gentle people.

I was there 10 days ago, covering a Sierra Club Forum. I noticed the sign in the front lobby (we Methodists would have called it a vestibule) welcoming gays and lesbians and wondered if there's another church in town these things would happen.

God, I'm sad.

knoxvegas99's picture

This is tragic beyond words.

This is tragic beyond words. We all grieve for the victims.

Larry Van Guilder

bill young's picture

Peace be with you.

"Blessed are those who mourn,for they shall be comforted."

Lobster's picture

I had the urge to hijack

I had the urge to hijack this thread with a rant directed at "the lump." I'm going to resist it, as hard it might be, since there are always plenty of other threads better suited to that purpose. I too grieve for the victims, their families, and all who witnessed this terrible tragedy. It was a senseless act of violence.

Beth Maples-Bays's picture

Outpouring of grief

I am stunned and deeply saddened that this travesty has been visited on the lovely, warm, welcoming people of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. My heart goes out to all involved, but especially to Greg McKendry's family, the other shooting victims and their families, and also to all the children who witnessed this terrible crime.

The gentlefolk that attend this church have stepped up in support of the LGBT (some, though not I, call it "gay") community many times over the years. They have consistently and regularly invested their time and efforts in support of my community.

I can remember many years ago before the new church was built at the present site. The facility was a few blocks further down Kingston Pike at that time, and TVUUC hosted the Metropolitan Community Church of Knoxville each Sunday afternoon because they had no building of their own. (See (link...).)

Even now they offer an LGBT/diversity supportive youth organization and host the Gay Men's Discussion Group as well. They supported the LGBT community in the Vote No on One campaign in an effort to block the homophobic Tennessee Constitutional "marriage amendment." They are also home to Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG.)

I love these people for all they do.

Witnessing violence and/or losing a loved one to gun violence is something I have experienced in my own life. The path to healing is long and hard, but nonetheless achievable.

I send blessings to all involved and will try to find concrete ways to help them in the days to come.

Tom Streeter's picture

My prayers are with all of you

May the Lord bless and keep all of you, and may light perpetual shine upon those who have been taken from us.

Pray for the shooter. As hard as it might be to do that. And for his family.

Mykhailo's picture

Pray for the shooter. As

Pray for the shooter. As hard as it might be to do that. And for his family.

Maybe the highest compliment I can pay to the TVUUC congregation is that I'm sure they will. They're truly good folk.

michael kaplan's picture

it makes me angry. over the

it makes me angry. over the years, i've benefited from TVUUC's good works and hospitality. i wonder if we'll get any word from the mayors, city council and county commission about the need for gun control, or just a bunch of condolences ..

Pam Strickland's picture

Much as I believe that gun

Much as I believe that gun control is needed, it wouldn't have made any difference here. He was using a shotgun, which isn't a target of most gun control efforts.

Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

reform4's picture


And my understanding from Amy is that anyone 'packing' in the congregation would not have made a difference. He was stopped without another gun, albeit at a terrible cost. I would guess that the congregation would overwhelmingly say that more guns is not the answer (although I see a *professional* security detail in our future).

I'm just still physically ill over the losses we suffered today. Greg did very great things for a lot of people, and as heroic as his final moments were, it should not overshadow a lifetime of good works. I just spoke to a friend in Clinton whose grandson was helped by Greg. You will be missed by many. I'm sure Linda's life was equally as full of love and service to others.

Anonymous's picture

"gun control"


Your "gun control" equals my view of victim disarmament. There are
plenty of laws. Unfortunately,the criminal thinks nothing of breaking ALL
You scare me!!

ANGRYWOLF's picture


very sad.My sympathies for the victims and their families...

A second person has died.

Sadly also there are some real imbiciles who take offense at any objective discussion about it on the KNS board.

Andy Axel's picture

Sadly also there are some

Sadly also there are some real imbeciles on the KNS board.



"It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?"

rikki's picture

guns don't prevent violence, heroes do

The more I think about this being a hate crime, the more I hope we learn the shooter had a personal connection to the crowd and disregard for the consequences. If this man deliberately chose to enter a church with a concealed weapon, then open fire on a crowd watching their children, grandchildren and godchildren on stage, intending those consequences, his heart is as vile as the worst before him. So I hope he is merely a pedophile who was about to be exposed, some run-of-the-mill degenerate whose insanity is rooted in human weaknesses we have long suffered. That is easier to reconcile than thinking this man is a terrorist who chose the church as deliberately as he chose a disguise for his weapon.

If this had happened at Lumpy's church, the result could have been a vigilante bullet hitting one of the heroes as they tackled the shooter or hitting a bystander in the cloud of near misses, perhaps another tally or eight on the lists of the dead and wounded and a congregation facing not just the violence of an outsider, but their own as well. Thankfully, the congregation who actually suffered the tragedy was able to neutralize the threat quite effectively with just hands and knees and quick-thinking bravery. Real heroes need no props.

tin cup's picture

I know nothing about this

I know nothing about this church or any of the folks who attend. I walked off the golf course yesterday when I heard. So sad that this could happen.

Rachelw's picture

thinking of you all

My husband and I attended TVUUC a few times before we moved and Rev. Buice performed our wedding ceremony. Our thoughts are with the community.

Anonymous's picture


I pray for healing for the victims. I feel strongly that this incident may reflect a reality that has been ignored. It can no longer be ignored. In the end, I believe that the shooter’s motive will be revealed. I can only hope that it is an individual issue rather than one that is embedded in our community. If it is a hate crime, I fear for other churches in Knoxville—including those that provide services for non-documented individuals. Therefore, I think it is necessary to bring these issues into a community forum such as this.

Considering past incidences of regional terrorism, I think of Eric Rudolph and how this area is ripe for producing a byproduct of rugged individualism—hate and intolerance. When a lack of individual faculty combines with a strong sense of individualism/separatism (e.g., dialect and religious fundamentalism) and a polarized political climate, the illogical becomes logical. Also, keep in mind that church burnings, segregation, and assassinations are part of Tennessee’s history. Change does not happen overnight, and the alleged shooter is old enough to have been taught to esteem intolerance.

Personally, I attended TVUUC as a guest, but enough times to know that this church was a liberal pocket that emphasized the importance of tolerance and community. Further, I was greatly impressed by the church’s social activism. Even so, when I sat in the pews, I realized that the church was inhibited.

There are no easy answers. However, we need to keep doing things that emphasize tolerance, including strengthening TVUUC.

sugarfatpie's picture

It was a hate crime.

Apparently the guy's letter, found in his car in the parking lot, says that he singled TVUUC out because of its "liberal" stances. On what we still don't know.
Sounds like he was also angry about not finding work and hadn't had a job in two years.
Also, his neighbors mentioned that he had issues with "inconsistencies" in the bible.

So far the most we can say is that the shooter is a mentally unstable person under economic stress who blamed his problems on "liberals".

While I don't want to diminish the responsibility of the shooter for this crime, I also think its important to put his act into cultural and political context.

To those on the right and the left who look for "wedge issues" to divide a complex world into "us" and "them", your words can have real consequences on the mentally unstable.

Something I incorporate into my writing (though admittedly not always my online writing) is the following mental check: "Could my words be misinterpreted to inspire hateful thoughts and actions?" If so, I do some serious rethinking and re-wording.

Its time to tone down the extreme and hateful rhetoric that has become so prevalent in our society. Culture creators, politicians and media people ( including radio personalities, bloggers, print journalists/columnists, and tv news) take note: when you blame liberals or conservatives for complex problems, when you paint the world with a broad brush of right/wrong, black/white, you open the door to misunderstanding, and potentially hatred.


"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

kelaad's picture

Tennessee DESPERATELY needs Kendra's Law

“Most laws governing the treatment of mentally ill individuals assume that such individuals are competent to accept or reject treatment, with the sole exception of obvious dementia. Yet, contemporary research has established that up to half of all individuals with severe psychiatric disorders are not competent to assess their own need for treatment. The consequences of this misunderstanding have led to increasing numbers of mentally ill individuals who are homeless, incarcerated, and victimized, and increasing numbers of individuals who commit homicides and other violent acts. This misunderstanding underlies one of the great social disaster of late twentieth-century America.” Dr. Fuller Torrey in his book The Insanity Offense. "The sad truth that in many part of the country there is no mental health system,” says Michael J. Fitzpatrick, executive director of NAMI. In each of the preventable tragedies told in the book, there is a solution. “Dr. Torrey’s unflinching analysis shows that caring for severely mentally ill people is not impossible,” notes author Sally Satel, M.D. “It should be required reading on Capitol Hill and in state houses across the country.”

Kendra's Law requring mandatory outpatient treatment has been enacted and proven effective in New York. This law helps lessen preventable tragedies from occuring. Not only should mental health help be assessible to those who need it, it must be accepted by them. Kendra's Law assures court-ordered mandatory outpatient treatment for the untreated mentally ill individual at risk to themselves or others. Please support efforts for a Kendra's Law in Tennessee. Urge our legislators to reconsider senate bill 1269 in it's original form. For more information on Kendra's Law, go to the Treatment Advocacy Center's website at (link...)

Virgil Proudfoot's picture

Opportunity to oppose the "death penalty"

I think this would be a great opportunity to show support for abolition of the "death penalty," which should of course be called by its true name, "state killing." If UUers can find it in themselves to publicly tell the state that it shouldn't murder the man who killed two of its members, it would be a beautiful demonstration to other Tennesseans that killing human beings is not the answer to any problem, not even to this kind of horror.

R. Neal's picture

One of the shooting victims

One of the shooting victims says he is rethinking his support of the death penalty:


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