NASHVILLE, Tenn. Before the slaughter, the former pupil had sketched out a comprehensive map of the school, including potential entrance points, and conducted surveillance of the structure. He then shot through the doors of a Christian elementary school in Nashville, killing three children and three adults.
Before being shot and killed by police on Monday morning at The Covenant School, the shooter opened fire, according to Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake. The latest in a string of mass shootings that have alarmed the nation with slaughter in schools, he offered horrifying indications of the shooter’s meticulous planning for the planned attack.
He told reporters, “We have a manifesto; we have certain papers that pertain to this day, the actual incident, that we’re going over. “We have a diagram of how this was going to happen.”
Investigators think the shooter had “some resentment for having to go to that school,” he said in an interview with NBC News.
Three 9-year-old kids, the head of the school, a substitute teacher, and a custodian were among the victims. Amid the mayhem, a well-known routine occurred: shocked neighbors held vigils for the victims as panicked parents raced to the school to check on their children’s safety and hugged them.
Everyone was in “complete shock,” according to Rachel Dibble, who was at the nearby church where the children were taken to reunite with their parents.
Others were shaking uncontrollably, she claimed. The kids got their Froot Loops this morning while wearing their adorable little uniforms, and now their lives have altered.
Regarding the shooter’s gender, the police provided conflicting information. Police had been identifying the gunman as a 28-year-old woman for hours before finally naming her Audrey Elizabeth Hale. The police chief later revealed that Hale was transsexual during a late-afternoon press conference. Don Aaron, a police spokeswoman after the press conference, declined to provide more detail on Hale’s present identification.
Police claimed Hale had two “assault-style” firearms and a handgun. According to the chief, at least two of them were thought to have been legally acquired in the Nashville region. A sawed-off shotgun, a second shotgun, and other unidentified evidence, according to police, were found during a search of Hale’s residence.
Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all nine years old, and adults Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61, were named the victims.
The Covenant School, a Protestant institution established in 2001, identifies Katherine Koonce as its head of school on its website. She is listed as the school’s principal on her LinkedIn profile as of July 2016. Investigators determined that Hill worked as a custodian and that Peak was a substitute teacher.
The Covenant School, established as a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church, is situated in Nashville’s affluent Green Hills area, just south of downtown, which is also the location of the renowned Bluebird Café, a hangout frequently frequented by singers and songwriters.
The school has about 200 children in grades preschool through six and about 50 employees.
According to a statement from the school, “Our community is inconsolable.” “We have suffered a great loss and are still in shock after the terror that destroyed our church and school. We are committed to showing our students, families, educators, and staff love while starting the healing process.
According to a database by The Associated Press, USA Today, and Northeastern University in collaboration, there have been seven mass killings at K–12 schools since 2006 in which four or more persons were killed within 24 hours. The shooters were men in each one.
The database excludes school shootings with fewer than four fatalities, which have increased significantly in recent years. For instance, two days after one another, school shootings occurred just last week in the Dallas and Denver areas.
The catastrophe on Monday lasted about 14 minutes. At 10:13 a.m., police received the first contact reporting an active shooter.
When they heard gunfire coming from the second level of the school, the officers started to clear the first floor, according to Aaron. Then, according to police, the shooter arrived with a large supply of ammunition and fired at the approaching officers from a window on the second floor.
Around 10:27 a.m., a five-person squad of cops responded by opening fire, Aaron said. The suspect was killed in the crossfire.
Almost two minutes of edited security footage of the shooter’s automobile approaching the school from several perspectives—including one in which kids can be seen swinging in the background—was made available by the police late Monday night. A view from inside the school shows glass doors being shot out and the shooter ducking through one of the broken doors.
Another video from inside the building reveals the gunman passing through a school hallway while carrying a weapon with a large barrel, entering a space marked “church office,” and exciting again. The shooter can be seen walking down a further lengthy corridor with his revolver pulled in the latter segment of the video. The footage has no sound and doesn’t show the gunman communicating with anyone else.
Because the school is administered by a church, according to Aaron, no police officers were present or assigned to it at the time of the incident.
Speaking on Monday at the White House, President Joe Biden described the shooting as “a family’s greatest nightmare” and begged Congress to ban certain semi-automatic weapons once more.
A reeling city held several vigils Monday night. At Belmont United Methodist Church, sobs of sadness could be heard in the background as people sang, prayed, and lighted candles during the vigil. They lamented the ongoing trend of deadly and violent shootings throughout the country.
We must take a step back. We should breathe. Paul Purdue, the church’s senior pastor, stated that we needed to grieve. “We must keep in mind. We must allow others who are suffering space. The cries of our neighbors must be heard.