Hero In Church Shooting Honored In La Vergne

Posted at 10:08 PM, Oct 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 00:07:24-04

The hero credited with saving lives when gunshots rang out at an Antioch church, was recognized by city of La Vergne.

Robert “Caleb” Engle, 22, was at the monthly Mayor and Alderman meeting Tuesday to receive a special honor.  In front of his family, city, county and state leaders, Mayor Dennis Waldron proclaimed Oct. 4th as “Caleb Engle Day” in La Vergne.

“We’re proud of him and we want to recognize what he’s done,” said Mayor Waldron. “In my eyes, he’s our hero.”

Mayor Waldron said Engle graduated from La Vergne High School and his grandmother and father both served as city employees. He said it was an easy decision to recognize him.

“We just want to say thank you for helping save the lives of so many people,” said Mayor Waldron.

Engle didn’t address the crowd after receiving a certificate from the Mayor. He also opted not to talk with reporters. He previously has said he doesn't’t consider himself a hero.

However, Metro Police have called Engle a hero for his efforts to stop the shooting that occurred at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on September 24. He confronted the gunman, Emanuel Samson, and was pistol whipped during the confrontation.  He then used his own gun to hold Samson until police arrived. One woman was killed and six other were shot at the church.

Engle’s arm was still in a sling when he stood in front of the crowd.

His family members said they weren’t surprised by his actions the day of the shooting.

“I don’t think he wants to be a hero,” said Jamie Engle, Caleb’s dad. “He was doing what any law abiding citizen would do.”

Mayor Waldron said he hopes people take a moment on Oct. 4 to remember Engle’s bravery.

“If it wasn’t for him, there’s no telling how many other people would have gotten hurt or killed,” said Mayor Waldron.