A former student at a Nashville elementary school shot and killed three kids and three adults at the private Christian school on Monday, as the nation reels from yet another “sick” and “heartbreaking” school shooting.
The 28-year-old suspect, a transgender woman who was a former student at The Covenant School in Nashville, entered the Tennessee school through a side door as she carried two AR-style weapons and a handgun, police said.
The shooter, identified as Audrey Hale who wrote a manifesto and had drawn a detailed map of the school, fatally shot three 9-year-olds and three staff members before she was shot and killed by police.
The three 9-year-old student victims were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney. The three adult victims were identified as Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61.
“I was hoping this day would never, ever come here in this city,” Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake said during a press conference.
“I was literally moved to tears to see children being ushered out of the building,” the chief added.
Five police officers immediately went into the school, “addressed the threat and took that threat down,” Drake said of the swift police response to the targeted school shooting.
Kids were seen crying as they boarded buses to leave the school.
“It’s just sick,” President Biden said from the White House about yet another school shooting, later adding, “It’s heartbreaking. A family’s worst nightmare.”
The president praised the police who quickly responded to the school “to end the danger.”
“We have to do more to stop gun violence,” Biden said. “It’s ripping our communities apart. It’s ripping at the soul of this nation, ripping at the very soul of this nation… I call on Congress again to pass my assault weapons ban. It’s about time that we begin to make some more progress.”
First Lady Jill Biden said of the school shooting, “I am truly without words. And our children deserve better.”
The shooter did not have a criminal history, and police did not immediately know if she had a history of mental illness.
The police chief was asked about the motive, and whether the shooter identifying as transgender led her to targeting the school.
“There is some theory to that,” the police chief responded. “We’re investigating all the leads, and once we know exactly, we’ll let you know.”
There have been seven mass killings at K-12 schools since 2006 in which four or more people were killed within a 24-hour period, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.
Massachusetts elected officials called for legislative action in the wake of another school shooting.
“There are few words left to describe the pain felt by these parents, or the trauma left with students, educators and community members whose worst fear has become a horrifying reality,” Gov. Maura Healey tweeted. “We need action.”
Congresswoman Katherine Clark tweeted, “Enough. Our children, our families, and our educators deserve security. They deserve to live free from fear. They deserve bold, urgent action to stop this never-ending cycle of tragedy.”
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley tweeted, “Again & again & again, my heart is shattered. For the loved ones ripped away from their families in Nashville. For this unconscionable violence enabled by cowardice & a deficit of political will. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Original story HERE