UNITED STATES: On Monday, a heavily armed 28-year-old fatally shot three children and three adult staff members at a private Christian school the assailant once attended in Tennessee’s capital city before being killed by the police, said authorities.
Although the reason was not immediately clear, Police Chief John Drake told reporters that the suspect had left behind a “manifesto” and other writings that investigators were looking through. He also had drawn detailed maps of the school, including the location of the building’s entrances.
The most recent incident in an epidemic of deadly mass gun violence that has routinely terrorised even the most cherished of American institutions took place on a warm spring morning at the Covenant School, where the majority of the students are of primary school age.
Drake said that the attacker was a 28-year-old woman from the Nashville area named Audrey Elizabeth Hale. He used the pronouns “she” and “her” to talk about the attacker. The chief stated that the suspect was identified as transgender but did not provide any further clarity.
The Tennessean newspaper said that a police spokesman said that Hale used the pronouns “he” and “him.” In a LinkedIn profile that included recent employment in graphic design and grocery delivery, Hale used the pronouns “he” and “him.”
Later, police released a school video that showed the attacker roaming the hallways while brandishing a semi-automatic rifle and shattering glass doors. In a video where only the shooter was visible, Hale was seen sporting a red baseball cap worn backwards, camouflage pants, and a black vest over a white T-shirt.
Drake stated at a news conference held in the early evening that police were developing a hypothesis regarding what might have led to the shooting and would “put that out as soon as we can.” The suspect, he said, had no known criminal past.
In a later NBC News television interview, Drake stated that detectives thought the suspect may have been motivated to shoot people out of “some resentment” for having to attend that particular school when he was younger.
The police chief made no mention of the kind of this alleged resentment or whether it was related to the suspect’s gender identity or the Christian ethos of the school. Drake said that the school was the target, but the people who were killed were picked at random.
A police spokesman named Don Aaron told reporters that at 10:13 a.m., the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department started getting calls about a shooter at the school. When police officers arrived, they heard gunfire coming from the second floor of the building.
The attacker was shot by two officers of a five-person squad in a lobby area, and the assailant was declared dead by 10:27 a.m. The police stated that the suspect was carrying a 9-mm pistol and two assault-style rifles.
The victims were identified as 9-year-olds Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, as well as staff members Cynthia Peak, 61, a substitute teacher, Mike Hill, 61, a school custodian, and Katherine Koonce, 60, who was listed on the Covenant website as the “head of school.”
President Joe Biden called for more gun control in Washington in response to the most recent school attack. Congress needs to enact stricter gun control laws once more.
During an event at the White House, Biden addressed the concern by saying, “It’s sick.” He also urged Congress to again ban assault-style weapons. “We have to do more to stop gun violence. It’s ripping our communities apart and ripping the soul of this nation,” he said.
Tennessee, at the state level, eliminated its permit requirement for carrying a concealed handgun in 2021 and now permits anyone aged 21 and older to carry a firearm, either openly or concealed, without a permit, as long as they are legally permitted to buy the weapon.
In Tennessee, anyone who has been accused of a violent or drug-related felony is prohibited from possessing a handgun.
According to the K-12 School Shooting Database, a website created by researcher David Riedman, there have been 89 school shootings in the U.S. in 2023, which are described as any incidents in which a gun is discharged on school grounds. Last year witnessed 303 such instances, the most of any year mentioned in a database that dates back to 1970.
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