American Christian leaders and politicians have voiced their devastation after a shooting at a Nashville Christian primary school claimed the lives of three children and three adults, including the head of the school and a senior pastor’s 9-year-old daughter.
The shooting occurred at The Covenant School which offers classes to around 200 students from preschool to Grade-6, employing 50 staff members.
The shooter was named as 28-year-old Audrey Hale who was a former student at the school and identified as a man using male pronouns.
Hale who was heavily armed with two assault-type rifles and a handgun was fatally shot by police after firing rounds at apparently “random victims.”
Investigators believe at least two of the weapons had been purchased legally.
The perpetrator broke into the school by shooting through one of the school doors as part of a well-planned attack.
Police seized a manifesto, a detailed map and writings from the shooter’s home.
Officers said they first got calls about the attack at 10:13 a.m. and the shooter “was deceased” by 10:27 a.m.
The Covenant School is described as a ministry of the Covenant Presbyterian Church.
Its website says the school was “created to assist Christian parents and the Church by providing an exceptional academic experience founded upon and informed by the Word of God.”
“I was literally moved to tears to see this and the kids as they were being ushered out of the building,” Nashville Police Chief John Drake said.
Chief Drake told NBC News that the attack might have been motivated by unspecified “resentment” for having to attend that school.
US President Joe Biden called the shooting a “family’s worst nightmare” and again implored Congress to pass a ban on certain semi-automatic weapons.
“It’s ripping at the soul of this nation, ripping at the very soul of this nation,” Mr. Biden said.
“Is He Worthy” artist Andrew Peterson tweeted: “Heartbroken for Nashville today. Please pray for the victims, families, first responders, and the greater community. I’ve spoken and played at Covenant School multiple times, so this hits hard. How long, O Lord?”