Nashville transgender school shooter possible target

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The shooting at a Nashville school should be investigated as a hate crime as the transgender shooter deliberately targeted Christians, Senator Josh Hawley told Fox News Tuesday.

The Trans Resistance Network, a trans activist group, said the transgender shooter felt “no other effective way to be seen” than by killing six people at a private Presbyterian school. Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake said Monday night that some believe the shooter was “holding a grudge because he had to go to that school.”

“What the police told us in Nashville is that this was aimed at this Christian school, the Christian students, the Christian employees and they believe it was definitely premeditated and there was a deliberate attempt to charge the school. fall,” Hawley told Fox News in a sit down call. “We need to be clear that targeting religious people is a hate crime.”

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Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a 28-year-old transgender person living in Nashville, shot dead three students and three teachers at The Covenant School, according to local police. The institution is a private Christian school for students ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade.

The transgender shooter was deliberately aimed at Christian students, Senator Josh Hawley told Fox News. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“We’ve seen a lot of language directed against the Christian community regarding trans issues in particular, which they called hateful,” Hawley told Fox News. “That kind of rhetoric is dangerous, and we are now seeing its effects.”

“That’s part of the investigation and discussion we need to have,” said the Missouri Republican.

NASHVILLE SCHOOL SHOOT ‘TARGETED’ CHRISTIANS, SEN. HAWLEY SAYS:

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Christians have sometimes been accused of being transphobic for believing there are only two genders, for advocating against gender reassignment surgery, and for restricting children’s learning about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. For example, on Monday it was reported that a Michigan teacher said, “It’s much more admirable to kill a racist, homophobic or transphobic speaker than it is to shout them down.”

Drake told reporters that Hale had targeted the school, but not specific individuals, though a motive remains unknown. He also said that Hale, a former Covenant student, may have been preparing for the shooting with signed cards from the school. She also wrote a manifesto, he said, although police have no plans to release it.

NASHVILLE SCHOOL SHOOTING: AUDREY HALE POLICE BODYCAMS RELEASED

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A police officer comforts a mourner outside The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. On Monday, six people — three adults and three children — were killed at the school in a mass shooting. (KR/Mega for Fox News Digital)

The manifesto is important to prosecutors’ investigation and potential hate crime case, Hawley told Fox News.

“We need to be clear on what happened in Nashville. Police say the shooting was ‘targeted,'” Hawley tweeted Tuesday. “That makes it a federal hate crime — against Christian children and teachers.”

SHOOTING IN TENNESSEE: NASHVILLE POLICE RELEASE SECURITY CAMERA FOOTAGE OF COVENANT SCHOOL ATTACK THAT KILLED 6

NASHVILLE SCHOOL SHOOTING: OFFICERS WHO IDENTIFY CONNECTED SHUNNER

Hawley, a former Missouri Attorney General, also sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas urging them to open a federal hate crime investigation.

“Hate that leads to violence must be condemned,” Hawley wrote. “And hate crimes must be prosecuted.”

Police identified the victims as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney – all aged 9 – as well as Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61. Koonce was the principal of the school.

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“Thank you to the law enforcement officers who went in there, went right into the fire and subdued that shooter, took out that shooter and saved all those kids,” Hawley told Fox News. “It’s just extraordinary to have saved hundreds of others plus the teachers.”

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Click here to watch the full interview with Hawley.

Ramiro Vargas contributed to the production of this video.

Jon Michael Raasch is an associate producer/writer at Fox News Digital Originals.

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