Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 16:58 UK

US church 'killer' wrote of hate

Police photo of shooting suspect Jim Adkisson
Jim Adkisson is accused of opening fire with a 12-gauge shotgun

A man accused of shooting dead two people in a Tennessee church was motivated by hatred of liberals and anger at being jobless, US police say.

Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen said they had found a letter in Jim Adkisson's car in which he described his feelings.

There were about 200 people in the church, which is known for its liberal stance, at the time of Sunday's attack.

Mr Adkisson, 58, has been charged with first-degree murder.

Children were putting on a play at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church when a gunman entered with a 12-gauge shotgun and opened fire on the congregation.

People dived for cover under pews but several adults were hit, two of them fatally, before a group managed to overpower Mr Adkisson.

Police Chief Owen said Mr Adkisson had brought the gun into the church in a guitar case.

Police guard the entrance to the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (27 July 2008)
The church's congregation had been watching a performance by 25 children

Officers also found a four-page letter in the suspect's car.

"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," Chief Owen said.

"It appears that the church had received some publicity in the recent past regarding its liberal stance on things and that is at least one of the issues we believe caused that church to be selected."

The Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church describes itself on its website as working for social change since the 1950s, including desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women's rights and gay rights.

Police say it appears Mr Adkisson was acting alone.

The two people who were killed were Greg McKendry, a 60-year-old usher at the church, and Linda Kreager, who died of her injuries at a nearby hospital a few hours after the shooting.

Church member Barbara Kemper said that Mr McKendry had "stood in front of the gunman and took the blast to protect the rest of us".

Deadly gun rampage in US church
28 Jul 08 |  Americas
State profile: Tennessee
25 Jul 08 |  Americas

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