O'Reilly, Savage, Hannity on accused church shooter's reading list
Diane Sweet
Published: Monday July 28, 2008

Print This  Email This

Jim Adkisson, the 58 year old man being held in a Knoxville, Tennessee jail on murder charges stemming from a shooting during a children's musical at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday, is said to have had a array of right-wing political books in his home, along with brass knuckles, empty shotgun shell boxes, and a handgun discovered by police who searched his home.

A report from the local Knoxville news details the findings from Adkisson's home, along with key statements from a document written by Adkisson related to an apparent motive behind the violent attack that rocked the suburban community:

"Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, 'because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.'

"Adkisson told Still that 'he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.'

"Adkisson told officers he left the house unlocked for them because 'he expected to be killed during the assault.'

"Inside the house, officers found 'Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder' by radio talk show host Michael Savage, 'Let Freedom Ring' by talk show host Sean Hannity, and 'The O'Reilly Factor,' by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly."

Further details from an earlier AFP wire report:

"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,' Owen said. 'We have recovered a four-page letter in which he describes his feelings.'

"Owen said Adkisson had specifically targeted the Unitarian church.

"'It appears that 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,' he said.

"'He indicated also in that letter that he expected to be in there shooting people until the police arrived and he fully expected to be killed by the responding police,' the police chief said."

A newly released AP report has more details on the background of the accused, a veteran who was a helicopter repairman in the 70's, a 'specialist' who was then downgraded back to 'private' before discharge:

"Adkisson, a 58-year-old truck driver on the verge of losing his food stamps, had 76 rounds with him when he entered the church and pulled a shotgun from a guitar case during a children's performance of the musical 'Annie.'

"Adkisson's ex-wife once belonged to the church but hadn't attended in years, said Ted Jones, the congregation's president. Police investigators described Adkisson as a 'stranger' to the congregation, and police spokesman Darrell DeBusk declined to comment on whether investigators think the ex-wife's link was a factor in the attack.

"Adkisson remained jailed Monday on $1 million bond after being charged with one count of murder. More charges are expected. Four victims remained hospitalized, including two in critical condition.

"The attack Sunday morning lasted only minutes. But the anger behind it may have been building for months, if not years.

"'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,' Police Chief Sterling Owen said.

"Adkisson was a loner who hates 'blacks, gays and anyone different from him,' longtime acquaintance Carol Smallwood of Alice, Texas, told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

"Authorities said Adkisson's criminal record consisted of only two drunken driving citations. But court records reviewed by The Associated Press show that his former wife obtained an order of protection in March 2000 while the two were still married and living in the Knoxville suburb of Powell.

"The couple had been married for almost 10 years when Liza Alexander wrote in requesting the order that Adkisson threatened 'to blow my brains out and then blow his own brains out.' She told a judge that she was 'in fear for my life and what he might do.'"

Adkisson killed two members of the church, and wounded six others during the shooting before he was overcome by church members who held him at bay until authorities arrived on the scene. He carried a shotgun into the church inside a guitar case along with 76 shotgun shells, but only managed to fire off three rounds before the congregation subdued him.

He faces first degree murder charges in the death of 60-year-old Greg McKendry, was hailed as a hero for shielding others from gunfire, Linda Kraeger, 61, who was visiting the church from Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, was also killed. Among the wounded, three remain in critical or serious condition.

None of the children were injured during the shooting.