Police identify shooter in Nashville school massacre
(Update: Adds text, photos)
Washington, Mar 27 (EFE).- Authorities have identified the 28-year-old woman who is believed to be the shooter who killed three children and three adults at a Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday at a private Christian school, where she was later killed by police.
The attacker, Audrey Hale, was a resident of Nashville and planned the shooting at the Covenant school, where she had been a student in the past, Nashville Police Chief John Drake said at a press conference.
Authorities have located Hale’s home, where she lived with her parents, and there they found floor plans of the school showing assorted details like entrances and the location of “safe rooms.”
Police also say they found a “manifesto” or statement and other writings – presumably by Hale – that they are examining and evaluating.
The woman, who was described by authorities as “transgender,” had no criminal record and managed to enter the school through one of the side doors after apparently shooting it open.
Police were called to the site at 10:30 am.
At least seven people – three children, three adults and a female suspect – died in the incident, which Metropolitan Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said began when Hale entered the Covenant School carrying two assault rifles and at least one handgun.
The police response was swift, he said, adding that upon entering the building the officers heard gunshots on the second floor and made their way to that higher level.
He said two of the police saw the attacker firing her weapon and immediately opened fire.
The spokesman explained that on a normal day 209 students and more than 40 workers can be found on the grounds of the school, which, according to its website, is attended by students ranging from preschoolers to 6th graders (ages 3 to 11).
Thus far this year, at least 30 incidents involving firearms have been reported at schools in the United States. Eight people died and 23 were wounded in those attacks, according to the Everytown for Gun Safety organization, a non-profit group that advocates for gun control.
Shortly after the shooting, the White House said Republican lawmakers are partially to blame due to their failure to pass gun control legislation.
“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 the safe storage of guns?” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
“Once again the president calls on Congress to do something before another child is senselessly killed in a preventable act of gun violence. Again, we need to do something.”
President Joe Biden also offered immediate remarks on the tragedy from the White House, where he met Monday with female business owners.
“It’s sick,” the president said. “We do know that as of now there are a number of people who did not make it, including children. And it’s heartbreaking, a family’s worst nightmare.”
He also pointed to the need for legislative solutions.
“We have to do more to stop gun violence. It’s ripping our communities apart, ripping at the very soul of this nation. And we have to do more to protect our schools so they aren’t turned into prisons,” Biden said.
Noting that the alleged shooter was carrying two assault rifles, the president once again called on Congress to approve a ban on assault weapons.