NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Three children were killed after a shooter opened fire at a small private Christian elementary school in Nashville early Monday, a hospital official said.
Officers “engaged” an active shooter at the Covenant School, and the shooter is dead, Nashville police said on Twitter.
Three children were transported to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt with gunshot wounds, and all three were pronounced dead after arrival, said Craig Boerner, spokesperson for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on the scene. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said special agents and additional personnel were responding but added there is “no current threat to public safety.”
The Covenant School is a private school founded in 2001 that serves students in pre-kindergarten through grade six and has an enrollment of about 200 students a year, according to its website.
The school is on the campus of Covenant Presbyterian Church in the city’s Green Hills neighborhood, about nine miles southeast of downtown Nashville. It’s next door to a Nashville Fire Department station and less than a mile south of Nashville’s largest shopping district.
“Our thoughts are with the families of this school community,” Tennessee Rep. John Ray Clemmons said on Twitter. “Praying that all the children are safe.”
U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn said she was “heartbroken to hear about the shooting.” She wrote on Twitter: “My office is in contact with federal, state, & local officials, & we stand ready to assist. Thank you to the first responders working on site. Please join us in prayer for those affected.”
At the scene, scores of parents and onlookers gathered in a parking lot, awaiting updates, as helicopters circled the area, surrounded by a residential and busy businesses district.
Parents were lining up in the sanctuary of Woodmont Baptist Church to give first and last names of their children to police.
Vice Mayor Jim Shulman was in the sanctuary passing out bottled water to parents and family members awaiting reunification.
Officials said children would be arriving on school buses with their teachers.
The incident marks the 89th shooting on school grounds in 2023, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database. Last week, a 17-year-old student shot and wounded two faculty members at a Denver high school.
Contributing: Nashville Tennessean staff