Nashville police search for clues after latest US school shooting | Gun Violence News

Police release body camera footage of an attack on a Christian elementary school that left three children and three adults dead.

Investigators are looking for clues to better understand the motive behind the recent school shooting in the United States that killed three children and three adults at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee.

Police on Tuesday mulled over what they described as a “manifesto” left by the attacker after the mass shooting at Covenant School in the leafy community of Green Hills.

They identified the attacker as 28-year-old former student Audrey Elizabeth Hale.

Authorities described the attacker as a woman, although a police officer said she “identified” as transgender, without elaborating.

Among the other evidence assessed Tuesday were writings by Hale and a detailed, hand-drawn map of the school showing various entry points, Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake told reporters.

He told NBC News the evidence “suggested that shootings would occur in multiple locations and that the school was one of them.”

He added that the school appeared to have been targeted, but the individual victims were attacked indiscriminately.

“There is a suspicion that there was some resentment about having to go to this school,” said the police chief.

Meanwhile, former schoolmate Averianna Patton told CNN Hale wrote on Instagram the morning of the shooting.

“One day this will make more sense,” she said, Hale wrote. “I left more than enough evidence. But something bad is about to happen.”

Patton said she called the police to alert them around the time the attack began.

The children killed were all nine years old, authorities said. They have been identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney.

The adults fatally shot were identified as Mike Hill, 61, a school administrator; Cynthia Peak, 61, substitute teacher; and Katherine Koonce, 60, who was listed as “Headmistress” on the Covenant website.

Surveillance footage released by police showed Hale wearing camouflage pants, a black vest over a T-shirt and a red baseball cap backwards. The attacker shoots through a glass door to gain entry to the school before stalking the hallways.

Police bodycam footage showed police moving through the building before confronting and fatally shooting Hale.

Authorities later said Hale was carrying two assault weapons, including a rifle, and a pistol.

They said at least two of the guns were legally purchased, adding Hale had multiple rounds of ammunition and was “prepared for a confrontation with law enforcement.”

Founded in 2001, the Covenant School is a ministry of the Covenant Presbyterian Church and has about 200 students, according to the school’s website.

The school serves preschool through sixth grade and ran an active shooter training program in 2022, local TV station WTVF-TV reported.

According to the K-12 School Shooting Database, a website founded by researcher David Riedman, this year’s attack marked the 90th school shooting in the United States — defined as any incident in which a gun is fired on school property.

According to the database, there were 303 such incidents in the US in 2022, the highest annual number since reporting began in 1970.

As of 2020, the number of mass shootings in the US has surpassed 600 each year, with 646 recorded in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive database.

As of Tuesday, there have been 130 mass shootings so far this year in the United States, according to the tracker, which considers any gun attack that kills four or more as a mass shooting.

President Joe Biden has described the Nashville school shooting as “sick” and said gun violence “renders the soul of this nation” as he asked Congress to pass a federal ban on the assault weapons commonly used in mass shootings.

Despite regular, high-profile attacks using assault-style firearms, which are military-style weapons that can be fired rapidly, a federal ban has been a political non-starter.

“You must act,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday, citing U.S. lawmakers. “The time is now.”


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