Local experts weigh-in on Nashville elementary school shooting tragedy

(ABC 6 News) – The suspect in a Nashville school shooting on Monday had drawn a detailed map of the school, including potential entry points, and conducted surveillance before killing three students and three adults in the latest in a series of mass shootings in a country growing increasingly unnerved by bloodshed in schools.

The woman was armed with two assault type rifles and a handgun when she was killed by police in the shooting at Covenant School.

Three students died at the hospital.

The victims include Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all age 9 years old, as well as Cynthia Peak, age 61, Katherine Koonce, age 60, and Mike Hill, age 61, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department.

Dodge County Sheriff, Scott Rose, says that there aren’t words to describe a situation like this. He says that it is the scariest call that police will ever have to respond to and that he prays officers here in southeastern Minnesota will never have to.

In Minnesota, Iowa and across the country, schools are being targeted with threats of a school shooter.

ABC 6 News has reported on a number of those fake so-called “swatting calls” but Monday in Nashville, that nightmare was real.

“Incidents like that in the past year have been put under such a microscope that the pressure to handle it the right way, and the pressure not to want to be part of the next national news story, in addition to the fact that they just need to focus on their training and go in and do what they need to do,” explained Sheriff Rose.

The Covenant School did not have any resource officers or law enforcement inside the building because it was private.

Several schools in our area are currently debating whether school resource officers are necessary, including Rochester Public Schools.

The question as to the motive behind this deadly attack, however, still remains unanswered.

ABC 6 News spoke to a local mental health professional to learn more about what factors come into play and what can drive a person to commit such horrific acts.

Clinical Mental health Therapist with the Resilience Center in Rochester, Tim Volz, says that in deadly situations like this, there has to be some underlying health issue, or multiple mental illnesses, that cause someone to commit such violence, death and destruction.

According to Statista, of the last 135 mass shootings, only three of them were committed by women.

Volz says this violence and rage does not just happen overnight, that it is built up over time. He says a possible reason could be unchecked childhood trauma.

“There has to be interventions that happen over the course of some of these warning signs and red flags. If there’s not interventions and it goes unchecked, unfortunately this can be the end result,” explained Volz.

He lists a number of red flags including sudden changes in behavior, changes in hobbies, friend groups and anything that seems out of the ordinary for the person.

Local school districts are also echoing the message of the importance of checking in with children and students in light of this tragedy.

The letter says in part, “…We also urge everyone to speak up if they see or hear anything that could potentially threaten school safety. Throughout this week, our focus will be on our students’ mental, emotional, and physical well-being.”