Two local Nashville TV anchors broke down in tears while reporting on a mass shooting at a private Christian elementary school in the city that saw six people killed, including three children.
The attack on Covenant School was carried out by Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old who police say identified as transgender. She was shot dead by officers at the scene.
Video released by Nashville police shows the attacker, who was carrying three firearms including a semiautomatic rifle, getting into the school by shooting through glass panels on two entrance doors, then climbing through.
Holly Thompson and Amanda Hara both wept while reporting on the massacre for local network WSMV-TV.
During a live broadcast, Thompson said: “Again if you are joining us the worst news we have just found out three children have tied, they were killed in this situation, again it was an active shooter situation where the gunman was engaged by metro police.”
“My heart is just hurting right now.”
— WSMV’s Holly Thompson fights back tears while reporting the news that three children were killed in a mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville pic.twitter.com/ZxovM6nLHP
— The Recount (@therecount) March 27, 2023
“That shooter is confirmed dead, but now we have just learned three children are confirmed dead and as my heart is just hurting right now. Thoughts and prayers for these families.”
At this point Thompson began welling up and Hara, who reached across to hold her arm, took over the broadcast.
Later Hara in turn began crying as she said the station was “hearing from parents,” seeking information about the attack, adding: “There are just so many questions and people wanting to know.”
The six victims were identified by authorities as students William Kinney, Hallie Scruggs and Evelyn Dieckhaus, all aged nine, along with staff members Cynthia Peak, 61, Mike Hill, 61, and Katherine Koonce, 60, who was the school’s headteacher. No one else was injured in the attack.
Police said Hale, a former student at Covenant School, had planned the attack in detail and had drawn up a manifesto and map of the school.
Chief of Police John Drake said: “We have a manifesto. We have some writings that we’re going over that pertain to this day, the actual incident. We have a map drawn out about how this was all going to take place.”
Flowers, balloons and other tributes have been left outside the school by mourners.
President Joe Biden responded to the massacre by calling on Congress to ban automatic weapons, claiming gun violence is “ripping our communities apart.”
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a Republican, urged people to “join us in praying for the school, congregation & Nashville community” on Twitter.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper, a Democrat, tweeted: “In a tragic morning, Nashville joined the dreaded, long list of communities to experience a school shooting.”
In a tragic morning, Nashville joined the dreaded, long list of communities to experience a school shooting.
My heart goes out to the families of the victims. Our entire city stands with you.
As facts continue to emerge, I thank our first responders and medical professionals.
— Mayor John Cooper (@JohnCooper4Nash) March 27, 2023
“My heart goes out to the families of the victims. Our entire city stands with you.
“As facts continue to emerge, I thank our first responders and medical professionals.”
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