On March 28, 2023, a tragic shooting occurred at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, which resulted in the deaths of three children and three adults. According to Nashville police spokesperson Don Aaron, the shooter was a 28-year-old white individual from the Nashville area who was shot dead by two officers. Initially, the shooter was identified as a woman, but later it was clarified that the shooter was assigned female at birth and used he/him pronouns.
The shooting occurred at The Covenant School, a private religious school associated with the Covenant Presbyterian Church that serves students from preschool through sixth grade. The three children who lost their lives were students at the school, and the three adults who died were staff members. The victims were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, William Kinney, Cynthia Peak, Katherine Koonce, and Mike Hill. Koonce served as the head of the school, according to the school’s website.
The shooter entered the school through a side entrance and moved from the first floor to the second floor, firing multiple shots along the way. The shooter was armed with two assault-style rifles and one pistol, and the shooting took place in a “lobby-type area” in an upper part of the school. Two of the guns used were obtained legally. The shooter was a former student of the school, but police have not disclosed any motive for the attack.
Nashville Police Chief John Drake revealed that the shooter had maps drawn of the school and its entry points, and was “prepared for a confrontation with law enforcement.” Drake added that the shooter had multiple rounds of ammunition, and was shooting at arriving police vehicles from a window on the second floor.
The parents of the children who lost their lives have been notified, and mental health specialists are available to provide support to affected families. At least five victims were transported to the emergency departments at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and three children and two adults died from their injuries. A responding officer suffered a wound from cut glass.
The Nashville shooting has drawn responses from politicians, with Mayor John Cooper stating that Nashville was joining the “dreaded, long list” of cities and towns that have suffered school shootings. State Rep. Bob Freeman, whose district includes the school, described the shooting as “an unimaginable tragedy for the victims, all the children, families, teachers, staff, and my entire community.”
President Joe Biden also addressed the shooting, calling it “sick” and “heartbreaking,” and emphasizing the need to take stronger measures to curb gun violence in the United States. According to the National Gun Violence Archive website, there have been 130 mass shootings in the country in 2023 alone. The Nashville shooting highlights the ongoing issue of gun violence and its devastating impact on individuals, families, and communities across the United States.