Police chief reveals Nashville mass murderer had another target — and the significant reason why she didn’t follow through

News & Politics

Nashville Police Chief John Drake made an interesting disclosure on Monday about the plans of the perpetrator of the Covenant School massacre.

At a press conference, Drake said that investigators had discovered the perpetrator had planned to attack another location, but decided against that location because it had significant security.

“There was another location that was mentioned, but because of a threat assessment by the suspect of too much security, they decided not to,” Drake said. “That area was here in Nashville, so we’re continuing with that investigation as well.”

Drake confirmed the perpetrator had written a manifesto that explained why she conducted the attack, which included detailed plans. That is presumably the source of law enforcement’s theory that the perpetrator skipped her first targeted location because of “too much security.”

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The admission is significant because, at least on an anecdotal level, it confirms that increased security measures, such as armed personnel, make potential targets “hard” and not “soft.” Advocates of armed security argue that “hard targets,” as opposed to “soft targets,” deter individuals bent on violence who wish to carry out an attack.

One of those locations may have been a local mall, Drake said on Tuesday.

“We strongly believe there was going to be some other targets, including maybe family members, and one of the malls here in Nashville,” Drake told CBS News. “And that just did not happen.”

Whether the mall was the location the perpetrator initially wanted to attack is not yet known. Malls are harder targets because many citizens are legally armed for self-protection. Just last month, a massacre was averted in El Paso when a teenager opened fire inside the mall. And last year, an armed citizen shot dead a person who opened fire inside an Indiana mall food court.

Schools, on the other hand, are generally “soft targets,” where firearms are not permitted.

Police do not believe that any of the victims of Monday’s atrocity were targeted specifically. Rather, the location was targeted. Drake told CBS News that the perpetrator may have resented having been sent to the school when she was younger.

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