Nashville shooter bought seven guns before attack on The Covenant School in Tennessee
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The shooter who killed three children and three adults at a Christian school in Nashville legally bought seven firearms in recent years and hid the guns from their parents before the attack, police have said.
Monday's violence at The Covenant School is the latest school shooting to roil the nation. Three 9-year-old students were killed, as well as the head of the grade school, a custodian and a substitute teacher.
The suspect — Audrey Hale, 28 — was a former student at the school. Police said the shooter did not target specific victims.
Authorities said Hale was not on their radar before the attack but was under a doctor's care for an undisclosed emotional disorder.
Police have released videos of the shooting, including edited surveillance footage that shows the shooter's car driving up to the school, glass doors being shot out and the shooter ducking through one of them.
Additional video — from Officer Rex Engelbert's bodycam — shows a woman greeting police outside as they arrive at The Covenant School on Monday.
"The kids are all locked down, but we have two kids that we don't know where they are," she tells police.
"OK, yes, ma'am," officer Engelbert replies.
The woman then directs officers to Fellowship Hall and says people inside had just heard gunshots.
"Upstairs are a bunch of kids," she says.
Three officers, including officer Engelbert, search rooms one by one, holding rifles.
"Metro Police," officers yell.
"Let's go, let's go," one officer yells.
As alarms are heard going off in the school, one officer says: "It sounds like it's upstairs."
Officers climb stairs to the second floor and enter a lobby area.
"Move in," an officer yells. Then a barrage of gunfire is heard.
"Get your hands away from the gun," an officer yells twice. Then the shooter is shown motionless on the floor.
Police earlier said Hale had drawn a detailed map of the school, including potential entry points, and had conducted surveillance of the building before carrying out the massacre, authorities said.
Response times to school shootings have come under greater scrutiny after the elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, in which 70 minutes passed before law enforcement stormed the classroom.
There have been 129 mass shootings in the United States this year alone. Here's what we know about the latest.
In Nashville, police have said 14 minutes passed from the initial call about a shooter in the school to when the suspect was killed, but they have not said how long it took them to arrive.
Surveillance video of The Covenant School grounds released by police shows a time stamp of just before 10:11am, when the glass doors were shot out by the shooter.
Police said they received a call about a shooter at 10:13 am, but have not said precisely what time they arrived, and the edited bodycam footage didn't include time stamps.
A police spokesperson didn't immediately respond to an email on Tuesday, asking when they arrived or whether any version of the video includes time stamps.
Police have given unclear information about Hale's gender.
For hours on Monday, police identified the shooter as a woman.
At a late afternoon press conference, however, the police chief said that Hale was transgender. After the news conference, police spokesperson Don Aaron declined to elaborate on how Hale identified.
In an email on Tuesday, police spokesperson Kristin Mumford said Hale "was assigned female at birth. Hale did use male pronouns on a social media profile".
The victims were children Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all aged 9 years. The adults killed were Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61.
The website of The Covenant School — a Presbyterian school founded in 2001 — lists a Katherine Koonce as the head of the school. Her LinkedIn profile says she has led the school since July 2016.
Ms Peak was a substitute teacher, and Mr Hill was a custodian, according to investigators.
Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake did not say exactly what motivated Hale, but said in an interview with NBC News that investigators believe the shooter had "some resentment for having to go to that school".
He provided chilling examples of the shooter's elaborate planning for the targeted attack, the latest in a series of mass shootings in a country that has grown increasingly unnerved by bloodshed in schools.
"We have a manifesto. We have some writings that we're going over that pertain to this date, the actual incident," he told reporters.
"We have a map drawn out of how this was all going to take place."
Authorities said Hale was armed with two "assault-style" weapons, as well as a handgun.
At least two of them were believed to have been obtained legally in the Nashville area, according to the police chief.
There were 193 incidents of gun violence on school grounds in the latest school year — in the previous year there were 62.
Police said a search of Hale's home turned up a sawn-off shotgun, a second shotgun and other unspecified evidence.
President Joe Biden said he had spoken to the Nashville chief of police, mayor and senators in Tennessee. He pleaded with Congress to pass stronger gun safety laws, including a ban on assault weapons.
"The Congress has to act," Mr Biden said.
"The majority of the American people think having assault weapons is bizarre, it's a crazy idea. They're against that."
Founded as a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church, The Covenant School is in the affluent Green Hills neighbourhood, just south of downtown Nashville that is home to the famous Bluebird Cafe, beloved by musicians and songwriters.
The school has about 200 students from preschool to year six, as well as roughly 50 staff members.
Before Monday's violence in Nashville, there had been seven mass killings at K-12 schools across the US since 2006, in which four or more people were killed within a 24-hour period, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.
In all of them, the shooters were males.
The database does not include school shootings in which fewer than four people were killed, which have become far more common in recent years. Just last week alone, for example, school shootings happened in Denver and the Dallas area within two days of each other.
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