Three children and three adults killed by female shooter at Nashville elementary school
Monday, 27 March, 2023, 23:24
Three children and three adults were killed by a female shooter who carried two assault-style rifles and a pistol into an elementary school in Nashville on Monday, police said.
Police officers shot and killed the attacker at Covenant School, Covenant Presbyterian church in the Tennessee capital.
Don Aaron, a spokesperson for Nashville police, told reporters: “We know at this point that this shooter is a female. She appears to be in her teens, although her identification has not been confirmed at this juncture.”
Police later said the shooter was a 28-year-old woman, adding that it was not known if she was connected to the school.
Aaron said: “We know that she was armed with at least two assault-type rifles and a handgun. We are [making efforts] now to identify her.
“She entered the school through a side entrance and traversed her way from the first floor to the second floor, firing multiple shots.
“We now know there are three students who were fatally wounded, as well as three adults inside the school. We are working to identify those victims. Including the shooter, a total of seven persons were killed as a result of this incident.”
Aaron said an officer was wounded from cut glass, but he knew of no other injuries.
He said: “The shooter was engaged by two of our police officers on a five-member team, and … there are no other gunshot victims, non-lethal, that I’m aware of the present.”
Aaron said there were no police personnel assigned to the private school, which is run by the church. He said police were viewing school video footage, adding that the shooting happened in a “lobby-type area” on the second floor of the school and “not in a classroom per se”.
The shooting was just the latest in a string of such horrific violence. Less than a year ago, in Uvalde, Texas, 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school. More recently, a six-year-old shot his teacher in Virginia, and last week a high-school student in Denver, Colorado shot two administrators who were conducting a daily search of him because of behavioral issues.
According to the K-12 School Shooting Database resource, there have been at least 89 instances of gun violence at kindergarten through 12th grade schools or during school activities in the US this year.
The Covenant School in Nashville has about 209 students and 42 staff members, from pre-school through sixth grade, Aaron, the police spokesman, said.
After the shooting, students were seen walking, holding hands and surrounded by police cars, to the nearby Woodmont Baptist church, where they were reunited with parents.
A woman whose mother teaches at the school told news networks they texted while the attack was in progress.
Avery Myrick said her father told her there was “a shooter at the school, and then I texted [my mother], and I said, just like, what was going on?”
“She said she was hiding in the closet and that they were shooting all over, and that they were potentially trying to get into a room,” Myrick added. “It was really scary, really sad. I’m just praying for all the families out there.”
Hannah McDonald, a reporter for News Channel 5 in Nashville, told viewers her mother-in-law was working at the school and was coming back from a break at the time of the shooting.
“My mother-in-law is the front-desk angel … and she was at the school this morning,” McDonald said. “However, Diana was able to come out of this safe. She actually stepped away to take a break.
“The school is kind of situated sideways, if you will. So the front door is actually on the side of the building. And that’s where she sits, and so you walk down a long exterior pathway to the front door, and then you see her smiling face in the morning there.
“And she and I have not been able to talk, but my husband and I have talked and I’ve heard that she is safe.
“She was outside the school and she heard gunshots. She had just gotten back from her break. She starts her day early. This is an elementary school. People are there at 7am to greet these children. So she had stepped away already when this happened and she got back and she heard gunshots.”
In Washington, the first lady, Jill Biden, spoke about the shooting during a public appearance.
“We just learned about another shooting in Tennessee, a school shooting,” she said. “I am truly without words. Our children deserve better. We stand with Nashville in prayer.”
Gun control legislation that Congress passed and Biden signed last year only expanded background checks for the youngest gun buyers while funding mental health and violence intervention programs.
“He wants Congress to act because enough is enough,” Jean-Pierre said. “How many more children have to be murdered before Republicans in Congress will step up and act to pass the assault weapons ban, to close loopholes in our background check system or to require safe storage.
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