Nashville school shooting: Transgender killer who murdered three kids was ex-student who made ‘manifesto’ and maps of building
A 28-year-old, who identified as transgender, has shot dead three children aged nine and three adults at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee.
Audrey Elizabeth Hale, who was once a student there, was killed by police after a confrontation with officers following the attack at the Covenant School.
Police said the “lone zealot”, who lived in Nashville, was armed with two assault-type weapons, and a handgun.
Hale had a manifesto and detailed maps of the school, and entered the building by shooting through a door before the killings.
It was also revealed the attacker identified as transgender.
Police chief 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.”
The six victims have been named as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all aged nine, 61-year-olds Cynthia Peak and Mike Hill, and 60-year-old Katherine Koonce who was the school’s headteacher.
Officers started receiving reports of an attack at 10.13am (4.13pm UK time) and as police began clearing the ground floor of the school they heard gunfire coming from the second floor.
Two officers from a five-member team opened fire in response and fatally shot the suspect at 10.27am (4.27pm).
The three children, who were all students, were pronounced dead after they arrived at hospital.
The female attacker died after being “engaged by” officers, police said in a Twitter post.
A possible motive for Hale’s gun violence is not known.
Biden condemns ‘sick’ attack
US President Joe Biden called Monday’s attack “sick” and “heartbreaking”.
He said the US needs to do more to protect schools and he called on the Senate to pass the assault weapons ban – which would criminalise the knowing sale, manufacture, transfer, possession or importation of many types of semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines.
No one else was shot in the assault at the school, which teaches students up to sixth grade (around 12 years old).
So far this year, there have been 89 US school shootings – defined as when a gun is fired on school property.
In 2022, there were 303 such incidents, the highest of any year in the K-12 school shooting database, which goes back to 1970.
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Other pupils walked to safety, holding hands as they left their school surrounded by police cars, to a nearby church where they were reunited with their parents.
Officers with rifles, heavy vests and helmets could be seen walking through the school car park and around the perimeter of the building.
Helicopter footage also showed the officers looking around a wooded area between the campus and a nearby road.
Police said no officers were deployed to the school at the time of the shooting because it is a church-run school.
Nashville mayor John Cooper thanked emergency services for their response to the attack.
He tweeted: “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.”
Democrat state representative Bob Freeman, whose district includes the Covenant School, called the shooting an “unimaginable tragedy”.
“I live around the corner from Covenant and pass by it often. I have friends who attend both church and school there,” Mr Freeman said.
“I have also visited the church in the past. It tears my heart apart to see this.”
The Covenant School has about 200 students from pre-school to sixth grade and was founded as a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church in 2001, according to the school’s website.
Three dead and five injured in shooting at US motorcycle rally
Three people have been killed and at least five injured in a shooting at a popular motorcycle rally in a New Mexico resort town.
The shooting at around 5pm local time on Saturday involved members of motorcycle gangs attending the 41st annual Red River Memorial Motorcycle rally.
It happened between two shops on Red River’s main street.
One of the victims died in hospital. Information on the extent of the injuries was unavailable.
The victims were transported to hospitals in Denver, Albuquerque and the nearby town of Taos.
Local mayor Linda Calhoun said the shooters have been apprehended.
State police did not provide any information about arrests but confirmed that the scene is secure and there is “no ongoing threat to public safety”.
Ms Calhoun said: “Our number one priority is the safety and wellbeing of our local community.
“We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we work through this very difficult time together.”
Officials urged businesses in Red River to remain closed on Sunday.
The governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, said she was in contact with Ms Calhoun and law enforcement regarding the shooting.
“My thoughts are with the Red River community following this violent incident,” she tweeted.
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The mayor of nearby Taos, Pascual Maestas, issued an emergency proclamation placing the town under a curfew from 10pm on Saturday until 4am on Sunday with an immediate ban on alcohol sales.
Red River has a population of around 500 and is in the southern Rocky Mountains. It is around 75 miles northeast of New Mexico’s capital Santa Fe.
The rally draws around 30,000 people to the town every year.
Mother pleads guilty to murder after six-year-old son starves to death in Arizona
A mother has pleaded guilty to murder and child abuse over the death of her six-year-old son in Arizona.
Elizabeth Archibeque, 26, reached a plea deal with prosecutors this month and could face life in prison under the first-degree murder charge.
Her son, Deshaun Martinez, had been locked inside a small bedroom closet without food until he died in March 2020, reported the Arizona Daily Sun.
A post-mortem found the child starved to death.
When he died, he weighed just 18lbs (8.1kg) – which is well below average for his age.
The boy had a “skeletal appearance” because he had almost no fat on his body.
Archibeque was charged along with the boy’s father, Anthony Martinez, and his grandmother, Ann Martinez. The cases were being tried separately.
The boy’s parents initially put their son’s malnourished state down to a medical condition and to taking diet or caffeine pills.
Eventually, they told police they kept Deshaun and his older brother in a closet in their Flagstaff apartment for 16 hours a day and gave them little to eat. The brother survived.
Police said the youngsters were confined there as punishment for stealing food while the parents slept.
The adults told officers that Deshaun had been in the closet for “about a month”.
Both Anthony Martinez and Ann Martinez reportedly have previously pleaded not guilty.
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According to the terms of the plea agreement, Archibeque will not be eligible for probation.
She will be sentenced in the coming weeks.
If she gets life, she will not be eligible for any kind of parole.
Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy reach ‘agreement in principle’ on raising US debt ceiling
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy have reached an “agreement in principle” on raising the US debt ceiling, according to sources in Washington.
The tentative deal would bring to an end the months-long stalemate between the Republican controlled Congress and Democrat run White House.
Currently, the debt ceiling stands at $31.4trn (£25.4trn) with the new limit yet to be announced.
Mr Biden and Mr McCarthy held a 90-minute phone call on Saturday evening to discuss the deal, as the 5 June deadline looms.
Following the conversation, the speaker tweeted: “I just got off the phone with the president a bit ago.
“After he wasted time and refused to negotiate for months, we’ve come to an agreement in principle that is worthy of the American people.”
During a very brief press conference on Capitol Hill Mr McCarthy said they “still have more work to do tonight to finish the writing of it”, adding that he expects to finish writing the bill on Sunday, then hold a vote on Wednesday.
The deal would avert an economically destabilising default, so long as they succeed in passing it through the narrowly divided Congress before the Treasury Department runs short of money to cover all its obligations.
Republicans have pushed for steep cuts to spending and other conditions, including new work requirements on some benefit programmes for low-income Americans and for funds to be stripped from the Internal Revenue Service, the US tax agency.
They said they want to slow the growth of the US debt, which is now roughly equal to the annual output of the country’s economy.
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Exact details of the deal were not immediately available, but negotiators have agreed to cap non-defence discretionary spending at 2023 levels for two years, in exchange for a debt ceiling increase over a similar period, according to Reuters news agency.
The impasse frightened the financial markets, weighing on stocks and forcing the US to pay record-high interest rates in some bond sales.
A default would take a far heavier toll, economists say, likely pushing America into recession, rocking the world economy and cause unemployment to spike.
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