Ex-Student Shoots Dead 3 Children, 3 Adults at Tennessee Christian School
- March, 28, 2023 - 10:02
- Other Media news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A heavily armed 28-year-old fatally shot three children and three adult staffers on Monday at a private Christian school the suspect once attended in Tennessee's capital city before police killed the assailant, authorities said.
The motive was not immediately known, but the suspect had drawn detailed maps of the school, including entry points for the building, and left behind a "manifesto" and other writings that investigators were examining, Police Chief John Drake told reporters.
The latest in an epidemic of deadly mass gun violence that has come to routinely terrorize even the most cherished of US institutions unfolded on a warm spring morning at The Covenant School, whose students consist mostly of elementary school-age children, Reuters reported.
Drake identified the suspect as Audrey Elizabeth Hale, 28, a resident of the Nashville area, and referred to the assailant by female pronouns. The chief said the suspect identified as transgender but provided no further clarity.
The Tennessean newspaper cited a police spokesperson as saying Hale used he/him pronouns. Hale used male pronouns on a LinkedIn page that listed recent jobs in graphic design and grocery delivery.
Police later released a school video showing the assailant blasting through glass doors with gunfire and roaming the halls, pointing a semi-automatic rifle. Hale wore a black vest over a white T-shirt, camouflage pants and a backwards red baseball cap in a video that showed only the shooter in the frame.
Two officers from a five-member team shot the assailant in a lobby area, and the suspect was pronounced dead by 10:27 am.
Police said the suspect was armed with two assault-type guns and a 9 mm pistol.
The victims were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all age 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."
Reacting in Washington to the latest school shooting, President Joe Biden urged the US Congress again to pass tougher gun reform legislation.
Possessing a handgun is outlawed in Tennessee for anybody who has been convicted of a felony offense involving violence or drugs.
There have been 89 school shootings – defined as any incident in which a gun is discharged on school property – in the US in 2023, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database, a website founded by researcher David Riedman. Last year saw 303 such incidents, the highest of any year in the database, which goes back to 1970.