Robert Caleb Engle is just 22 years old, but his life changed forever on Sunday.
While Engle was sitting inside the sanctuary of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee, Sunday morning, 25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson stormed inside and began shooting people. Samson had already murdered a woman in the church parking lot before bursting inside.
That's when Engle sprung into action and "physically engaged" Samson, according to authorities. After a "significant struggle" ensued, Samson laid injured from a single gunshot from his own firearm to the chest and Engle was injured from being pistol-whipped.
But that didn't stop Engle. He raced to his car and retrieved a firearm so he could protect the church and its congregation from Samson before authorities arrived. He later had to go to the hospital for injuries sustained when he was pistol-whipped.
Who is Engle?
According to Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson, Engle is a "hero."
"He's the hero. He's the person who stopped this madness," Anderson said Sunday.
Nashville police Chief Steve Anderson on Caleb Engle, 22: "He's the hero here. He's the person who stopped this madness in its tracks." pic.twitter.com/8SOgYg2xn6
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) September 24, 2017
Engle's friend, Blake Langford, echoed Anderson, according to the Tennessean: "He’s just a great guy. Just one of the kindest human beings you’ll ever meet."
Engle has attended the church since he was a kid. According to posts on his Facebook page, Engle loves his family and his faith. He is also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and has a license to carry concealed firearms, police said.
What did Engle have to say about it?
In a statement, Engle said he did not want to be called a hero and that he just hoped people would come to know Jesus through the incident:
I’ve been going to this church my whole life, since I was a small child. I would have never, ever thought something like this would have happened.
I ask everyone to pray for the victims, family members of the victims, our church community. Please pray for healing. Also, please pray for the shooter, the shooter’s family and friends. They are hurting as well.
I pray that through all of this that people will come to know Christ and I ask our nation to reflect on Romans 8:31, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
I do not want to be labeled a hero. The real heroes are the police, first responders, and medical staff and doctors who have helped me and everyone affected.
My hope is for privacy for all involved.