Nashville mourns: The impacts of a school shooting on the community

General information

On Monday, March 27, a shooting occurred in Nashville, TN at Covenant School, a private Christian school for preschool to sixth grade students. Three staff members and three nine-year-old students were killed as a result of this attack.

What happened

The shooter, armed with three guns, entered the school by shooting through a door’s glass. People from both inside and outside of the school made 911 calls to the police starting at 10:13 am. 26 of these calls, according to USA Today, were released to the public. The Nashville police responded promptly, entered the school, and killed the shooter at approximately 10:27 am on the second floor of the school.

Background information

The shooter, a 28-year-old  former student of Covenant messaged a former classmate at 9:57 am, a few minutes before the attack. According to the Washington Post, the message was the shooter’s “last goodbye” and said, “something bad is about to happen.” Upon receiving these messages, the former classmate contacted a suicide-prevention hotline, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Nashville police’s non-emergency number. During the time these calls were being made, the shooting began.

According to the Washington Post, the attacker left behind what Nashville police chief John Drake referred to as a “manifesto.” This document displayed a map and writing about the school, along with plans for shootings at other Nashville locations, possibly including a mall. The manifesto and other clues left behind led police to believe that the shooting was not religiously motivated and was not targeted toward specific people at the school; however, it was intended to target Covenant School and had been planned. According to Nashville’s News Channel Five, other writings left behind indicated the shooter’s obsession with past shootings and shooters.

Responses of staff and police

According to USA Today, the staff at Covenant had recently been trained on how to respond to an active shooter, and this training certainly saved lives in the situation. Additionally, NBC references Nashville’s Mayor, John Cooper, who said that the quick response from Nashville police saved lives. 

Responses from the local and national community

This incident of gun violence, according to USA Today, sparked walkouts at schools across the nation on Wednesday, April 5. Additionally, a protest was held within Nashville’s State Capital, and went against  legislative rules. Two African American male representatives and one white female representative participated in the demonstration. On Thursday, April 6, the two African American representatives were expelled from their positions as representatives due to their participation. Despite speculations, according to CBS “Republican leadership denied that race was a factor” in the votes deciding whether to expel each representative. Further, the Tennessee House Republicans stated on their Twitter on April 6 that this expulsion was “…the only path forward after [the individuals…] led disrespectful and deliberate efforts to disrupt the business of the House on March 30.”  Opposingly, on Friday, April 7, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Nashville and commended the three former representatives for their act of protest.

Protests, debates, and legislation continue to be discussed as the nation mourns the loss of lives in Nashville’s recent shooting. 

Woman mourns outside the memorial of the The Covenant School shooting victims on March 28 (Photo credit: John Partipilo)

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