3 children and 3 adults are dead in a shooting at a Christian school in Nashville
The shooter, who police said was a white 28-year-old Nashville woman, was shot dead by two officers.
The shooting occurred at Covenant School, a private religious school in Nashville. The three children who died were students, and the three adults who died were staff members, Nashville police spokesperson Don Aaron said in a press briefing Monday.
The first call came in at 10:13 a.m. The shooter "entered the school through a side entrance and traversed her way from the first floor to the second floor, firing multiple shots," Aaron said.
The shooter had two assault-style rifles and at least one pistol, he said, and the shooting took place in a "lobby-type area" in an upper part of the school. The shooter was dead by 10:27 a.m., he added.
Police believe the woman was a former student but have not said anything about a potential motive.
Nashville Police Chief John Drake said the parents of the children who were killed have been notified. "Right now, I will refrain from saying the ages other than to say, I was literally moved to tears to see this and the kids as they were being ushered out of the building," he said.
At least five of the victims were transported to emergency departments at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A spokesperson for the hospital confirmed to NPR that three children and two adults sent to the hospital had died.
Aaron said he was not aware of any other gunshot victims from the shooting. He said a responding officer had a wound from cut glass.
A reunification center for parents and students has been set up nearby with mental health specialists available.
According to its website, the Covenant School is a private school associated with the Covenant Presbyterian Church serving students from preschool through sixth grade. On a regular day there would be about 209 students and 42 staff members at the school, Aaron said.
Mayor John Cooper said Nashville was joining the "dreaded, long list" of cities and towns that have suffered school shootings.
"My heart goes out to the families of the victims," Cooper said. "Our entire city stands with you."
Tennessee state Rep. Bob Freeman, whose district includes the school, said it was "an unimaginable tragedy for the victims, all the children, families, teachers, staff and my entire community. I live around the corner from Covenant and pass by it often. I have friends who attend both church and school there. I have also visited the church in the past. It tears my heart apart to see this," WPLN reported.
State Sen. Jeff Yarbro, who represents Nashville, said on Twitter "My heart breaks for the families at Covenant. As a parent, I both ache for them and rage with them that fear of this kind of tragedy is just accepted as just part of what it means to raise kids these days."