WASHINGTON (WZTV) — "It's heartbreaking; a family's worst nightmare."
That is how President Joe Biden described the deadly mass shooting at a Christian elementary school in Nashville Monday that claimed the lives of three young children and three senior teachers.
Biden, who spoke briefly about the tragedy during his remarks at a women's business summit hosted at the White House by the Small Business Administration, called the shooting "sick" and decried all shootings in the same breath.
We have to do more to stop gun violence," Biden said. "It's ripping our communities apart; Ripping the soul of this nation – ripping at the very soul of the nation.
The president once again called on Congress to pass his assault weapons ban and also called on Americans to be mindful of the mental health challenges that the shooting's survivors will likely face – including likely post-traumatic stress similar to what veterans deal with returning from combat zones.
His remarks were alluded to by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who stated the president's awareness and of the situation in Nashville at the outset of Monday's press briefing. At that time, she also said Biden had already begun working with the Department of Justice and local officials.
"So, we're seeing the heartbreaking news of another shooting of innocent school children, this time in Nashville, Tennessee," Jean-Pierre said.
"We want to express the President's appreciation for the first responders and prayers for all those families affected by this shooting. While we don't know yet all the details in this latest tragic shooting, we know that too often our schools and communities are being devastated by gun violence. School should be safe spaces for our kids to grow and learn and for our educators to teach," Jean-Pierre said.
Jean-Pierre cited multiple actions President Biden has taken to curb gun violence as well as bipartisan legislation which was signed into law following the Uvalde mass shooting.
He also believes it's not enough. We must do more and he wants Congress to act because enough is enough," Jean-Pierre said. "How many more children have to be murdered before Republicans in Congress will step up and act to pass the Assault Weapons ban? To close loopholes in our background check system? Or to require the safe storage of guns? We need to do something," she added.
The students and staffers at The Covenant School in Nashville were killed Monday morning when a 28-year-old woman entered the school armed with two assault rifles and a handgun, opening fire.
Police said the woman entered through a side entrance and made her way to the second floor of the school, opening fire as she made her way upstairs. The woman was engaged by officers and she was killed.
Investigators have shared – according to reporting by NBC News – that the woman, who identifies as transgender, was a former student of the school and had detailed maps and plans for her assault. Police have shared they discovered a manifesto authored by the woman but have not released any of its details.
In total, there are seven deceased.