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6 are dead following a shooting at a school in Nashville

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

We are following the latest on a school shooting in Nashville, Tenn. Authorities say three children and three adults were killed this morning and that the alleged 28-year-old shooter was killed by police. NPR's Joe Hernandez has been following the story and joins us now. And Joe, what else are police saying about what happened this morning?

JOE HERNANDEZ, BYLINE: Well, the first call came in at 10:13 a.m. local time for an active shooter at Covenant School. And this is a private religious school actually on the campus of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville. And it serves preschool age kids through sixth grade and usually has about 200 students and 40 staff members. Police say three students and three staff members were killed in the shooting. They've since named the victims. The students were all age 9. The staff members included a janitor, a substitute teacher. And Nashville Police Chief John Drake says all the parents of the children who were killed now have been notified.

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JOHN DRAKE: When we send our kids to school or to any place of safety, we expect them to live, learn, have fun and come back from that day - day's experience. We don't anticipate things like this.

HERNANDEZ: So when police arrived, two officers shot and killed the attacker. That was at 10:27 a.m., less than 15 minutes after the first 911 call came in. A spokesman for the Metro Nashville PD says he wasn't aware of any other gunshot victims, but one police officer had a wound from cut glass, and authorities were working to reunite parents with their children.

SUMMERS: And what else can you tell us at this point about the alleged shooter?

HERNANDEZ: Well, police say it was a 28-year-old from Nashville named Audrey Hale. And police believe Hale was a former student of Covenant School but haven't said anything yet about a motive, why Hale might have done this. The police chief said they're looking through some writings now to learn more about what happened. And police say Hale shot through a side door of Covenant School and entered the school. Here's Metro police spokesperson Don Aaron.

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DON AARON: She entered the school through a side entrance and traversed her way from the first floor to the second floor, firing multiple shots.

HERNANDEZ: Hale was also quite heavily armed, police said - two AR-style weapons as well as a handgun. And two of those guns were obtained legally - at least two of them. And police also said Hale had no criminal history.

SUMMERS: Unfortunately, this is a familiar scenario in this country - reckoning with another school shooting. What is the local and national response been like to this tragedy?

HERNANDEZ: Yeah. There's been an outpouring of support, not only for the fact of the number of people killed but also that it was children killed in a school. Nashville Mayor John Cooper said the city was joining the, quote, "dreaded long list of communities" that suffered school shootings. And President Biden also made a comment on the shooting. He was at a different event today and said it was heartbreaking, said it's a family's worst nightmare and called on Congress to do more to stop shootings.

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PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: 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.

HERNANDEZ: He also again called on Congress to pass the assault weapons ban.

SUMMERS: We'll keep following this story. That's NPR's Joe Hernandez. Thank you.

HERNANDEZ: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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