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Tragedy Strikes Nashville Christian School as Shooter Kills Six including Three Children and Three Staff Members

A school shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville has left six people dead, including three children and three adult staff members.[0] Officers who arrived at The Covenant School in response to the scene fatally shot 28-year-old Audrey Hale, who was believed to be the shooter.[1] The victims have been identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9; Mike Hill, 61; William Kinney, 9; Katherine Koonce, 60; Cynthia Peak, 61; and Hallie Scruggs, 9.[0] Hale shot multiple rounds into glass doors to make entry into the school, and surveillance video shows him carrying and aiming an assault rifle as he walks hallways.[2] The video stops playing after a few minutes.[3] According to investigators, the perpetrator had in their possession two AR-style weapons, namely a rifle and a pistol, in addition to a handgun.[4] According to the police, the assailant seemed to have meticulously plotted the assault using elaborate maps and surveillance tactics.[5]

The Covenant School released a statement saying, “Our community is heartbroken. We are grieving tremendous loss and are in shock coming out of the terror that shattered our school and church. We are focused on loving our students, our families, our faculty and staff, and beginning the process of healing.”[6] The head of the Covenant School, Dr. Katherine Koonce, was among those killed, and Mike Hill was a beloved custodian at the school who had worked there for over 13 years.[0] Cynthia “Cindy” Broyles Peak was a substitute teacher at the school, and Hallie Scruggs was the daughter of Covenant Presbyterian Church Lead Pastor Chad Scruggs.[7]

Police have released body camera footage from the officers who responded to the shooting, which shows the first moments of the attack. Two officers, Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo, are credited with taking the shooter down.[8] President Joe Biden, who has taken executive action on guns, signed into law last year the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in roughly three decades.[9] Biden recently signed an executive order with the goal of enhancing the number of background checks completed prior to gun sales.[9]

While many details remain unknown about the shooting, some conservatives have blamed the shooting on the suspect's gender identity.[10] However, police have said there is no known motive for the shooting.[10] The shooting has left the Nashville community devastated, and authorities are urging anyone with information about the incident to come forward.

0. “Nashville school shooting: What to know about the 6 victims” ABC News, 27 Mar. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/US/nashville-school-shooting-victims/story?id=98161083

1. “6 victims in Covenant School shooting identified; all 3 students were 9 years old” WKRN News 2, 27 Mar. 2023, https://www.wkrn.com/news/local-news/nashville/nashville-active-aggressor-investigation

2. “BODYCAM VIDEO: Moment Nashville Police encounter elementary school mass shooter” WZTV, 28 Mar. 2023, https://fox17.com/news/local/nashville-tennessee-middle-tennessee-gun-violence-mass-shooting-body-cam-video-metro-police-release-video-of-moments-officers-encountered-mass-shooter-davidson-county-local-news

3. “Nashville shooting latest news: Shooter Audrey Hale sent Instagram DMs” Tennessean, 28 Mar. 2023, https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/2023/03/28/nashville-shooting-latest-updates-audrey-hale-covenant-school/70054540007

4. “Audrey Hale Manifesto Release Raises Major Concerns From LGBTQ+ Groups” Newsweek, 28 Mar. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/audrey-hale-manifesto-release-raises-major-concerns-among-lgbtq-groups-1790938

5. “Nashville police release surveillance footage showing the shooter entering the school” Yahoo Entertainment, 28 Mar. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/nashville-police-release-surveillance-footage-124336773.html

6. “Young children, the head of their school and its custodian. These are the victims of the Nashville school shooting” CNN, 29 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/28/us/victims-covenant-school-shooting-nashville/index.html

7. “Victims of Nashville school shooting: Young children, the head of their school and its custodian” WCVB Boston, 28 Mar. 2023, https://www.wcvb.com/article/nashville-school-shooting-victims/43441255

8. “Bodycam video shows moments police killed active shooter at Nashville school” WKRN News 2, 28 Mar. 2023, https://www.wkrn.com/news/local-news/nashville/covenant-school-mass-shooting/nashville-school-shooting-bodycam-video/

9. “White House raises pressure on GOP lawmakers to take action on guns” The Hill, 28 Mar. 2023, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/3922702-white-house-raises-pressure-on-gop-lawmakers-to-take-action-on-guns/

10. “Fear pervades trans community amid focus on Nashville shooter's gender identity” NBC News, 28 Mar. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/fear-pervades-tennessees-trans-community-focus-nashville-shooters-gend-rcna77066