Metro police have confirmed that the suspect in a shooting at Covenant School in Green Hills, Tennessee, on Monday morning was a woman — making the incident extremely rare, according to FBI data. KTLA’s sister station WKRN reports.
In a press conference following the shooting, police said a woman armed with two rifles and a handgun entered the private Christian school just after 10 a.m. through a side entrance. She then reportedly went to the second floor and fired multiple shots, according to Nashville police spokesperson Don Aaron.
Three children and three adults were shot and killed, police confirmed in a press conference. The three adult victims were staff members.
The shooter, who police said was identified as a 28-year-old woman, was also shot and killed by officers at the scene. Authorities have not yet given a motive for the shooting and have released only a few details about the suspect, who they describe as a white woman from Nashville who previously attended the school.
The latest data from the FBI shows that active shooter incidents are rarely carried out by females. In 2021, the FBI designated 61 shootings as active shooter incidents — a 50% increase from the previous year.
The FBI defines an active shooter as one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.
In those incidents, 103 people were killed and 140 wounded, excluding the shooters.
Of the 61 shooters in 2021, the FBI reported that only one was female. It’s a trend that data as far back as 2000 has continued to show.
In a study of active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2013, which examined 160 active shooter incidents that occurred in the U.S. during that time, the FBI reported that just 3.8% of the attacks — six in total — involved a female shooter.
Also of note, two of the 12 shootings at institutions of higher education were perpetrated by females. Other common sites of shootings committed by females were their current or former workplaces.
There were an additional three incidents involving female shooters between 2014 and 2016.
Different sources differ on the definition of a mass shooting, but based on data from the Gun Violence Archive, few incidents where four or more people were shot in Nashville have involved female shooters.
Of the three incidents reported in Nashville last year, all suspects that had been identified were male.
Monday’s killings come as communities around the nation are reeling from a spate of school violence, including the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, last year; a first grader who shot his teacher in Virginia, and a shooting last week in Denver that wounded two administrators.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.