International/U.S. News Editor
A shooting occurred at a private school in Nashville, Tennessee on March 27 which left six people dead and police looking for answers.
The shooting happened at The Covenant School, a private Presbyterian school near downtown Nashville. The shooter, identified as Audrey Hale, gained entry to the building by breaking through glass doors. Police arrived within minutes and opened fire on Hale, who was eventually killed by the officers. Three of the victims, Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs, were all 9-year-old children. The other victims included 61-year-old custodian Mike Hill, 61-year-old substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, and 60-year-old head of the school Katherine Koonce.
Details about the shooter have been released, with more information still being determined. According to police, Hale had planned the attack for months and had studied other mass murderers. While a motive is still yet to be found, police say Hale had left writings which are being reviewed by the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. The shooter had also legally purchased seven firearms and used three of them in the attack, according to Nashville Police Chief John Drake. Police had also confirmed that 152 rounds of ammunition were fired, leading officials to assume that the shooter was “prepared for a confrontation with law enforcement.” Hale was also being treated for an emotional disorder at the time of the attack, with the shooter’s parents thinking that Hale should not have been allowed to own weapons. The shooter had also identified as transgender; officials had used “she” and “her” to refer to Hale, although a social media post suggested that Hale identified as male.
The shooting has also caused backlash and outrage across the country. Almost immediately, new protests and pushes for gun control have taken place, with a rally in Nashville having been held the day after the shooting. Students and adults alike gathered on the steps of the Tennessee state Capitol to advocate for gun reform, with three House Democrats also joining the protests and signs displaying messages such as “Protect kids, not guns.” The Human Rights Campaign, an organization for LGBTQ+ rights, was also allegedly targeted in response to the shooting, according to police. A man has been charged with interstate communications with a threat to injure after leaving a voicemail threatening members of the organization. Republicans have also speculated that the shooter’s gender identity played a role in what happened, further promoting fears of increased violence against the LGBTQ+ community.
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