JONATHAN MATTISE, TRAVIS LOLLER, HOLLY MEYER (Associated Press)
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Three children and three former students were killed Monday after breaking through the doors of a Christian elementary school, creating detailed maps and monitoring the building to map out a massacre. , police said.
The massacre at a Covenant school in Nashville was the latest in a series of mass shootings in a country increasingly worried about bloodshed at schools.
Victims included three 9-year-olds, a top school administrator, a substitute teacher, and a parent. Amidst the confusion, a familiar ritual unfolded. Panicked parents rushed to schools to see if their children were safe, tearfully hugging them, and a stunned community planned an all-night vigil for the victims.
Nashville Police Chief John Drake said at a press conference that he was “literally moved to tears when I saw the children being taken out of the building.”
Police provided unclear information about the gender of the shooter.For hours, police identified the shooter as a 28-year-old woman and eventually identified the person as Audrey Hale. Later, at a late afternoon press conference, the police chief said Hale was transgender. refused to explain.
Drake didn’t reveal a specific motive when asked by reporters, but gave a chilling example that the shooter had previously planned a targeted attack.
“We have a manifesto and we are looking at some documents related to this date, the actual case,” he said. .”
In an interview with NBC News, he said investigators believe Hale “had some resentment for having to go to that school.”
The shooter opened fire on the building’s glass door, shattering it and breaking in, police later said in a tweet.
Authorities said the shooter was armed with two “assault-type” weapons and a handgun. At least two of them were thought to have been legally obtained in the Nashville area, according to the chief.
A search of the shooter’s home found a mutilated shotgun, a second-street shotgun and other unspecified evidence, police said.
The victims were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9 years old, Hallie Scruggs, William Kinney, and adult Cynthia Peak, 61. Katherine Koons, 60 years old. Mike Hill, 61 years old.
The Covenant School, a Presbyterian church founded in 2001, lists Katherine Koons as its principal on its website. She has been leading the school since July 2016, according to her LinkedIn profile.
The students held hands and headed to the school bus to a nearby church to reunite with their parents.
Rachel Dibble, who was at the church when the family found the children, described the scene as “complete shock” for everyone.
“People were shaking unconsciously,” said Dibble, whose children attend another private school in Nashville. So today, their whole lives have changed.”
Communities across the United States have suffered one after another in recent years, with school shootings particularly devastating.
Recent tragedies across the country include last year’s massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. A freshman who shot a teacher in Virginia. A shooting in Denver last week in which two of his administrators were injured.
Speaking at the White House on Monday, President Joe Biden called the shooting “the family’s worst nightmare” and called on Congress to repass a ban on certain semi-automatic weapons.
“It’s tearing out the soul of this country, it’s tearing out the very soul of this country,” Biden said.
Biden has since ordered the Stars and Stripes to be flown at half mast on all federal buildings until March 31. He also spoke to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Nashville Mayor John Cooper about the shooting, officials said.
Covenant School, founded as a ministry of the Covenant Presbyterian Church affiliated with the conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church in America, is located in a wealthy neighborhood just south of downtown Nashville, home to the famous Bluebird Cafe. Located in the Green Hills area. by musicians and songwriters.
The school has about 200 students in preschool through sixth grade and about 50 staff.
“Our community is heartbroken,” said a statement from the school. “We are grieving the tremendous loss and shocked by the horror that shattered our school and church. is focused on.”
Since 2006, before Monday’s riots in Nashville, there have been seven mass murders at K-12 schools, according to a database maintained by the Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern. More than four people were killed within. University. In all of them the shooters were men.
This database does not include school shootings where fewer than four people have died, which have become much more common in recent years. For example, just last week, school shootings in the Denver and Dallas areas occurred within two days of him.
Monday’s tragedy unfolded over approximately 14 minutes. Police received their first call to the shooter at 10:13 am.
In a news briefing, Aaron said officers began clearing the first floor of the school when they heard gunshots coming from the second floor. Police later tweeted that the shooter opened fire on arriving officers through a second-story window and was armed with a good deal of ammunition.
Aaron said two police officers from a team of five opened fire and shot the suspect dead at 10:27 a.m. One officer was hand wounded by cut glass.
Late Monday night, police released a nearly two-minute edited surveillance video. Multiple angles show the shooter’s car driving toward the school, including children playing on swings in the background. In the next interior view, the glass door to the school has been shot down, with a shooter walking through one of the shattered doors.
Another footage from inside shows the shooter carrying a long-barreled gun, walking down the halls of the school, into a room labeled “Church Office,” and back. In the final part of the footage, the shooter can be seen walking down another long hallway with his gun drawn. is not.
Aaron said there were no police officers at the school at the time of the shooting as it is a church-run school.
Jozen Reodica heard police sirens and fire engines blaring from outside a nearby office building. When her building went under lockdown, she pulled out her cell phone to record the chaos.
“I thought I was just going to watch this on TV,” she said. “And now it’s real.”
Nashville has seen a lot of violence in recent years, with an attack on Christmas 2020 that deliberately detonated an RV in the heart of Music City’s historic downtown, killing a bomber. , three others were injured and more than 60 businesses were forced to close.
A number of all-night rallies were held on Monday night, leaving the turbulent city in mourning. At the Belmont United Methodist Church, the scent of tears filled the background as the all-night attendees sang, knelt in prayer, and lit candles. They lament the nationwide cycle of violent and deadly shootings, and at one point “confess that they haven’t done enough to protect” children injured or killed in the shootings. We recite it together.
“We need to step back. We need to breathe. We need to grieve,” said Paul Perdue, the church’s senior pastor. “We need to remember. We need to make room for others who are grieving. We need to hear our neighbors scream.”
Contributing to this report is Associated Press writer Christine Hall in Nashville. Her Denise Lavoie from Richmond, Virginia. John Lavy of Charleston, West Virginia. Stephanie Dazio in Los Angeles. Beatrice Dupuy and Larry Fenn in New York. Lisa Bauman of Bellingham, Washington. So do New York AP researchers Randy Hershaft and Rhonda Schaffner.
https://www.mcall.com/2023/03/28/nashville-shooter-who-killed-6-drew-maps-surveilled-school/ Nashville shooter who killed six drew maps, monitored schools – The Morning Call