(MENAFN) On Monday, a heavily armed 28-year-old individual opened fire at The Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, killing three children and three adult staffers. The suspect, identified as Audrey Elizabeth Hale, was a former student of the school and had drawn detailed maps of the building, including entry points. Hale left behind a “manifesto” and other writings that investigators were examining to determine a motive for the shooting.
Police Chief John Drake referred to the assailant using female pronouns and stated that the suspect identified as transgender, but provided no further clarity. However, a police spokesperson later cited by The Tennessean newspaper stated that Hale used he/him pronouns. Hale had recently worked in graphic design and grocery delivery.
In a school video released by the police, the assailant can be seen blasting through glass doors with gunfire and roaming the halls with a semi-automatic rifle. Hale wore a black vest over a white T-shirt, camouflage pants, and a backwards red baseball cap in the video.
Drake stated that investigators believed the shooting stemmed from “some resentment” the suspect harbored “for having to go to that school” as a younger person. He did not specify the nature of the presumed resentment or whether it had anything to do with the suspect’s gender identity or the Christian orientation of the school. Drake said the school was singled out for attack, but the individual victims were targeted at random.
The shooting at The Covenant School is the latest in a series of deadly mass gun violence incidents that have become all too common in the US. The incident has left a community in mourning and reignited debates about access to firearms and mental health care.
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