Three children and three staff members were gunned down at a private Christian school in Nashville on Monday before the shooter, a heavily armed 28-year-old woman, was killed by police, authorities said.
The shooting unfolded at The Covenant School on Burton Hills Boulevard where officers “engaged” the woman, whose name was not released.
The shooter was killed on the school’s second floor, a police spokesperson said. She had two “assault-type rifles and a handgun,” according to the official.
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Students of the school, which serves preschool students through sixth graders, were being bused to Woodmont Baptist Church, two miles away, to be reunited with their parents.
Police said they first got calls about the shooter at 10:13 a.m. CT and Nashville firefighters first reported their personnel were responding to an “active aggressor” at 10:39 a.m. CT.
“The police department response was swift,” police spokesperson Don Aaron told reporters.
“They heard shots coming from the second level. They immediately went to the gunfire. When the officers got to the second level, they saw a shooter, a female, who was firing. The officers engaged her. She was fatally shot by responding police officers.”
Five police officers came upon the shooter and two opened fire on her, Aaron said. The shooter had entered the school through a “side entrance” on the first floor, he added.
“By 10:27 the shooter was deceased,” Aaron said.
One officer was hurt by shattered glass, officials said.
The names and ages of the victims have not been released.
Shortly after police announced the shooter was dead, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also said “there is no current threat to public safety.”
The Covenant School employs 33 teachers with an 8-to-1 student-to-instructor ratio, according to its website.
On a normal day of class, there would be 209 students and 42 staff members on campus, Aaron said.
The school was founded in 2001 as a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church, and shares the same address as the church.
The fire department helped usher the children out of the school, carefully trying to help them from seeing the carnage.
“We were on scene to help them mitigate anyone from seeing exactly what else as going on,” fire department spokesperson Kendra Loney said. “But we’re sure they heard the chaos surrounding this.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden has been briefed on the school shooting.
In a statement, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said: “I am closely monitoring the tragic situation at Covenant. As we continue to respond, please join us in praying for the school, congregation & Nashville community.”
The gunfire in Nashville on Monday follows multiple shootings on campuses across the country.
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Just days ago, a 17-year-old suspect wounded two administrators at a Denver high school before he was found dead.
In February, three students were gunned down at Michigan State University.
And in January, two students were fatally shot at a charter school in Des Moines, Iowa.