Police: Man shot churchgoers over liberal views
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An out-of-work truck driver accused of opening fire at a Unitarian church, killing two people, left behind a note suggesting that he targeted the congregation out of hatred for its liberal policies, including its acceptance of gays, authorities said Monday.
A four-page letter found in Jim D. Adkisson’s small SUV indicated he intentionally targeted the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church because, the police chief said, “he hated the liberal movement” and was upset with “liberals in general as well as gays.”
Adkisson, a 58-year-old truck driver on the verge of losing his food stamps, had 76 rounds with him when he entered the church and pulled a shotgun from a guitar case during a children’s performance of the musical “Annie.”
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Monday that Adkisson may also have chosen the church because his ex-wife was a former longtime member of the congregation.
He remained jailed Monday on $1 million bond after being charged with one-count of murder. More charges are expected. Four victims were hospitalized in critical condition.
The attack Sunday morning lasted only minutes. But the anger behind it may have been building for months, if not years.
“It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred for the liberal movement,” Police Chief Sterling Owen said.
Adkisson was a loner who hates “blacks, gays and anyone different from him,” longtime acquaintance Carol Smallwood of Alice, Texas, told the newspaper.