On Monday, March 27th, six people were killed in a school shooting at the Covenant School, a private Presbytarian school in Nashville, Tennessee.
Three of the victims were children, all age nine: Evelyn Dieckhaus (she/her), Hallie Scruggs (she/her), and William Kinney (he/him). Also killed were head of the Covenant School Dr. Katherine Koonce (she/her, 60), substitute teacher Cynthia Peak (she/her, 61), and custodian Mike Hill (he/him, 61). A funeral for Dieckhaus, the first service of the victims, was held on Friday, March 31st at nearby Woodmont Christian Church.
The shooter was identified as a 28-year-old Audrey Hale (he/him). Though previously referred to as “female” by authorities, Hale used he/him pronouns on his social media and was acknowledged as transgender by Nashville Chief of Police John Drake. There is no evidence that Hale’s gender identity was a motivating factor. Drake told reporters that Hale was receiving treatment for an “emotional disorder,” and that the seven firearms he owned were purchased legally.
The shooter entered the school by a side door and opened fire. Police responded 14 minutes later and killed Hale in the confrontation.
Shortly after the shooting, the shooter’s home was searched and the police found a map of the school where the shooting would be planned out, as well as a manifesto. The manifesto has not been made public by the authorities. Hale was a former student at the Covenant School. While police have not publicly identified a motive, they stated that they believe the attack had been planned for months.
Many have renewed calls for gun control in the wake of the shooting. On March 30th, thousands of activists descended on the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville to call for stricter gun control laws. At a women’s business summit on the day of the shooting, President Joe Biden (D, he/him) remarked, “We have to do more to stop gun violence. It’s ripping our communities apart, ripping the soul of this nation, ripping at the very soul of the nation… we have to do more to protect our schools, so they aren’t turned into prisons.” He urged Congress to pass his proposed ban on assault weapons.