The devastated children of a woman killed when a gunman shot several people at a Tennessee church Sunday are revealing what their mother meant to them and describing how they are coping with their loss.
Melanie Smith, 39, was at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch for Sunday morning service when she was gunned down, allegedly by 25-year-old Emanuel Samson as she was walking to her car.
Samson then allegedly entered the church at about 11:15 a.m. and shot six more people.
Breanna Smith, 19, and her 12-year-old brother, RJ, are having a rough time, but are choosing to focus on the good times they had with their mother.
“There's no understanding, why he did it," Breanna Smith told WTVF. "Everybody is looking for why, why, why. There's no understanding evil, there's no understanding hate. I'm not going to focus on him, I'm going to focus on my family, and the mom that I love and I miss."
RJ Smith said the tragedy has been difficult for the family.
“I'm feeling for the most part pretty sad, mostly angry because it's something you expect never to happen,” he said. “I hope she knows I love her. It's just really hard... I thought she'd live till she's 90 but things just don't go the way you expect it."
Breanna Smith said her mom was at church that day because she recently reconnected with her faith.
She added that her mom was truly finding happiness again.
“I'm so proud of her. I saw the changes she was going through. She was finding her joy again after a minute of not having it,” Breanna Smith said.
Samson has since been charged with felony homicide and is being held without bond.
The Justice Department and FBI have opened a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting. A motive for the shooting is not yet clear.
Smith's funeral is set for Thursday.