NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Loved ones already grieving the loss of 19-year-old Terriana Johnson to gun violence earlier this month had their pain reignited Saturday afternoon when a shooting broke out as they tried to lay her to rest in Bordeaux.
“This was just a brazen shooting. These persons had no regard for human life at all,” said Don Aaron, a spokesperson for the Metro Nashville Police Department.
The drive-by shooting took place outside the New Season Church along S. Hamilton Road shortly before 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25, according to officials.
“I mean, the funeral service was over, the hearse was parked in front, the rear door to the hearse was open, and persons had begun to come out of the church when this car goes by and the shots were fired,” Aaron added.
An 18-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man were hit by gunfire, leaving them with non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
In addition, some attendees at the funeral reportedly returned fire, which led to police marking at least 46 shell casings at the scene.
“This is a beef between two groups. When you say gang, you think of Bloods and Crips and that type of thing,” Aaron explained. “It’s not to that extreme, but these were two factions of people that this is likely resulting from.”
Pastor Dwayne Lewis was inside New Season Church when gunfire broke out just yards away, outside the front door.
“Everybody was running toward the altar area, so we just tell everybody to get down, and everybody was saying, ‘get down, get down,’ so everybody was covering their kids and everything for protection,” the pastor recalled.
He and his wife, Alexis Lewis, said they’re in shock.
“I am truly hurt by the fact that someone would come and be shooting in front of a church, at a funeral,” the pastor said.
“It’s already difficult for the family to go through something like this, but then on top of that, now you also have this memory that’s attached to a day that’s really a sacred day,” said Alexis, who is also the executive director at New Season Church.
Amid all the chaos and disbelief, the Lewis family said the gun violence has to stop.
The pastor had this message for the person behind the shooting: “Don’t take your life for granted, don’t take your loved ones for granted, and don’t take God for granted. Really begin to look at your life and begin to assess areas that need to be changed in your life. All of us have issues of some type. Whatever that issue might be, why don’t you turn it over to the Lord and not take your life for granted?”
Meanwhile, Metro police said they are searching for the black Honda Civic with temporary tags that drove by the church and opened fire Saturday afternoon. If you have any information about this vehicle, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.