On Monday, a former student shot and killed three young children and three staff members in an apparently carefully planned attack at a private elementary school in Nashville in the US state of Tennessee.
28-year-old Audrey Hale was subsequently shot dead by the police. Police Chief John Drake told reporters the young woman identified as transgender.
According to Drake, Hale left a manifesto, had maps of the school containing surveillance and access points and was “prepared for a confrontation with law enforcement.” Hale apparently planned to target other locations as well, Drake said in an interview with NBC News.
Armed with at least two assault rifles and a handgun, Hale entered the Christian school, The Covenant School, through a side entrance, allegedly shot through a door and fired several shots as she walked through the building.
One of the children who was shot dead was eight years old and the other two were nine. The three members of staff were between the ages of 60 and 61.
According to the police, officers were on the scene within 15 minutes of receiving the first emergency call.
President Joe Biden described the latest shooting as “sickening” and said gun violence is tearing America’s “soul”.
Drake said investigators are working on a possible motive, but said it is “not yet confirmed.”
Asked if Hale’s gender identity might have been a factor, Drake said: “There’s a theory about that, we’re looking into all the leads”.
He also told NBC that investigators found that Hale may have had “some sort of resentment for attending the school in question.”
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