S.C. church shooting brings back painful memories of 2008 Knoxville incident

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The deadly shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina has brought up memories of a deadly church shooting in Knoxville from seven years ago.

Two people were killed and six others were injured when a man started shooting inside the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville on July 27, 2008.

Church staff and members who were there when the shooting occurred say learning of the church shooting in Charleston has been deeply painful.

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It’s been almost seven years since the deadly church shooting in Knoxville. Knox County Commissioner Amy Broyles is a member of the church and was there when the shooter opened fire.

“In some ways it seems like a long, long time ago, and in some ways it seems like it was only yesterday,” said Broyles.

Related story: Suspect in Charleston church shooting apprehended without incident

The shock, sadness and fear from that day came rushing back when she learned about the church shooting in Charleston.

“A physical, like being stabbed through the chest and an emotional, stomach I have to go throw up, kind of feeling,” said Broyles.

She says her heart goes out to the shooting victims, their families and the congregation because more pain is to come.

Amy Broyles
Amy Broyles

“The actual event is not the worst thing. It’s what comes afterwards and having to deal with it and having to explain it to your children,” said Broyles.

A church spokesperson said, “We express our deepest sympathy and condolences and we understand what they are experiencing.”

“This does bring up a lot of pain. Our hearts are broken for what the people have to go through and what they are going to go through in the days ahead. Our prayers go out the victims, their families and the church members,” said the minister of pastoral care at the church.

Broyles’s advice to the Charleston congregation is to hold each other and accept the help that is offered.

“It was amazing to me all the church groups in this area that kind of circled around us and supported us. It was amazing and it was helpful,” said Broyles.

Broyles says healing from this type of tragedy is an ongoing and takes years to get rid of the fear. She says a shooting at a place where you felt very safe will shake you and your sense of security.

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