Nashville Christian School Shooter Planned Massacre Months In Advance, Considered Previous Mass Murderers: Police

The Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) provided an update Monday afternoon on its ongoing investigation into the mass shooting at a Christian elementary school one week ago, revealing that the shooter planned the massacre months in advance. 

Last Monday, a 28-year-old trans-identifying woman shot her way into the Covenant School in Nashville before she murdered three staff members and three 9-year-old children. Authorities said in a press release that “from all information currently available,” the shooter “acted totally alone,” and revealed that she had planned the massacre at the Covenant School months “over a period of months.”

MNPD said it is continuing to review “collective writings” found in the mass murderer’s vehicle and bedroom. The shooter, a former student at the Covenant School, documented plans in journals, which revealed her considerations and timeline for the attack at the school. Authorities added that the shooter was influenced by the actions of previous mass shooters, but said that they still have not established a motive. The writings, which include her “manifesto,” are under investigation by both the MNPD and the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.

“The motive for [the shooter’s] actions has not been established and remains under investigation by the Homicide Unit in consultation with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. It is known that [the shooter] considered the actions of other mass murderers,” MNPD said. 

Last week, police revealed that the shooter, a female who recently identified as a male, was receiving care for an “emotional disorder.” A source close to the family told The Daily Beast that the shooter was also autistic but was “high-functioning.” 

The shooter legally purchased seven firearms from gun stores around the Nashville area, police said last week. She carried two rifles and one handgun when she breached the Covenant School. 

Investigators found that from the time the shooter entered the school until she was killed by police, she fired a total of 152 rounds, 126 5.56 rifle rounds and 26 nine millimeter rounds. Within minutes, the shooter was located by a team of MNPD officers on the second floor of the school before she was killed by officers Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo 14 minutes after the first 911 call was made. Engelbert dropped the shooter, firing four 5.56 rifle rounds at her before Collazo unloaded another four rounds from his nine millimeter pistol.  

Katherine Koonce, the head of the Covenant School, was shot and killed in the hallway outside her office. MNPD Chief John Drake said it’s “very possible” Koonce was fatally shot when she confronted the shooter in the hallway. Mike Hill, a 61-year custodian and father of seven, was killed when the shooter fired through the glass doors to enter the building, Drake said.

The other victims included Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all 9 years old, and substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, who was 61.

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