Mass Shooting at Nashville Christian School kills 6 including children

Mass Shooting at Nashville Christian School kills 6 including children

IN a shocking incident of gun violence, a 28-year-old, heavily-armed individual fatally shot six people, including three children and three staff members, at a private Christian school in Tennessee’s capital city on Monday.

The Covenant School, located in Nashville, was targeted by the suspect, who had detailed maps of the building’s entry points and left behind a “manifesto” and other writings that investigators were examining.

Police Chief John Drake identified the suspect as Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a resident of the Nashville area who had previously attended the school.

The chief referred to the assailant using female pronouns but mentioned that the suspect identified as transgender.

Police later released a school video showing the assailant roaming the halls, pointing a semi-automatic rifle while wearing a black vest over a white T-shirt, camouflage pants, and a backward red baseball cap.

The motive for the attack remains unclear, but investigators believe the shooting may have stemmed from resentment the suspect harbored for having attended the school in the past.

Drake did not specify the nature of the resentment, and whether it had anything to do with the suspect’s gender identity or the Christian orientation of the school.

However, he did confirm that the school was singled out for attack, and the victims were targeted at random.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department received several calls at 10:13 a.m. reporting a shooter at the school.

Arriving officers reported hearing gunfire coming from the building’s second floor, and two officers from a five-member team shot the assailant in a lobby area.

The suspect was pronounced dead at 10:27 a.m.

Police said the suspect was armed with two assault-type guns and a 9 mm pistol.

The victims were identified as three students – Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all aged 9 – along with staffers Mike Hill, 61, a school custodian, Cynthia Peak, 61, a substitute teacher, and Katherine Koonce, 60, listed on the Covenant website as “head of school.”

It can be noted that the Covenant School, founded in 2001, is a Ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church in the Green Hills neighborhood of Nashville, serving preschool through sixth-grade students.

And reacting to the tragedy is US President Joe Biden who urged Congress to pass a tougher gun law.

Meanwhile, Nashville Mayor John Cooper expressed his condolences for the victims and wrote on social media that his city had now joined a dreaded and long list of communities that had experienced school shootings.

According to the K-12 School Shooting Database, there have been 89 school shootings – defined as any incident in which a gun is discharged on school property – in the US in 2023.

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