The six surviving victims, all described as being between the ages of 60 and 83, are being treated at Nashville-area hospitals, as is the usher.
Three men and three women were reportedly wounded in the attack, including church pastor Joey Spann and his wife Peggy. Police say Samson pistol-whipped Engle, but then accidentally shot himself during the scuffle and fell to the ground.
Engle's grandmother, 69-year-old Rheta Engle, told a local newspaper that she was proud of him.
"There was a significant struggle between the two".
Police added that when the usher tried to stop the suspect's actions, he was hit by a gunshot in the head by the gunman before the suspect fired and injured himself.
John Howser, spokesman for Vanderbilt University Medical Center said, "The two critical patients suffered gunshot wounds to their chest and torso".
Late Sunday, the Civil Rights division of the FBI's Memphis field office announced it was opening an investigation into the shooting.
Mr Samson is a legal United States resident but not a citizen, Mr Aaron said.
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His public records do not list any criminal charges against him and shows him as a man of clean reputation.
Aaron said the suspect, who was in his mid-20s and was from Rutherford County, was taken to a hospital.
Samson, who came to the U.S. from Sudan in 1996 and is a legal resident, posted a series of freakish messages on Facebook in the hours before the shooting.
The final post said, "Everything you've ever doubted or made to be believe as false, is real & vice versa".
Another post read, "Become the creator instead of what's created. Whatever you say goes". Samson attended high school in Tennessee. Church members told investigators the Samson had attended services a year or two ago, said Don Aaron, a spokesman for the Metro Nashville Police Department.
"When I realized they were alive, I just started pouring out crying", Jeremiah Reese. "I couldn't believe it".
Police initially said the suspect was African-American but later identified him as Sudanese with legal USA residency. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. He wasn't big on religion. "You never know who is going to come to the door or what reasons they would come to the door, come to your church and do something like that".
"This is a bad tragedy for our city", Mayor Megan Barry said in a statement. "My heart aches for the family and friends of the deceased as well as for the wounded victims and their loved ones".