Officers responding to a shooting at Covenant School, Covenant Presbyterian Church, in Nashville, Tennessee. AFP/Metro Nashville Police Department
NASHVILLE - The shooter who killed six people, including three children, at a Nashville school on Monday had planned to attack several different locations, the US city's police chief said.
The suspect left behind a manifesto that "indicates that there was going to be shootings at multiple locations, and the school was one of them," Nashville Chief of Police John Drake told NBC News in an interview, adding that officials also recovered a map of the school which detailed its surveillance and entry points.
Chief of Police John Drake named the suspect as Audrey Hale (28), who the officer later said identified as transgender.
Hale had maps of the school detailing surveillance and entry-exit points, and was "prepared for a confrontation with law enforcement," the police chief told reporters following the latest outburst of gun violence to stun the United States.
In an interview with NBC News, he said the suspect was likely plotting a broader attack, as the manifesto "indicates that there was going to be shootings at multiple locations, and the school was one of them."
Armed with at least two assault rifles and a handgun, Hale entered The Covenant School, a Christian academy, from a side entrance, allegedly shooting through a door -- firing multiple shots while advancing through the building, according to police.
Police identified the six victims, saying one of the three children was eight years old and two were age nine, while the adults killed were age 60 to 61.
One of the victims, Katherine Koonce, is listed as head of the school on the academy's website.
Police said officers were on the scene within about 15 minutes of receiving the first emergency call around 10am, engaging the shooter, who returned fire before being shot dead.
President Joe Biden described the latest shooting as "sick" and said gun violence was tearing the nation's "soul," as he urged Congress to pass a ban on the assault weapons often used in mass shootings.
"It's ripping our communities apart, ripping the soul of this nation," he said.
A Nashville fire department spokesperson, Kendra Loney, said all unharmed students were escorted out of the building with faculty and staff.