Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is calling for federal authorities to investigate the deadly Covenant School shooting as a federal hate crime.

“Yesterday the nation witnessed the vicious murder of small schoolchildren in Nashville, Tennessee,” the senator wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “It is commonplace to call such horrors ‘senseless violence.’ But properly speaking, that is false. Police report that the attack here was ‘targeted’—targeted, that is, against Christians.”

“The full resources of the federal government must be brought to bear to determine how this crime occurred, and who may have influenced the deranged shooter to carry out these horrific crimes,” Hawley continued. “Hate that leads to violence must be condemned. And hate crimes must be prosecuted.” 

The senator’s letter follows the Monday massacre at the Nashville-based Covenant School, where a biological woman who reportedly identified as a transgender man killed three adults and three children: nine-year-old Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9-year-old Hallie Scruggs, 9-year-old William Kinney, 61-year-old Cynthia Peak, 60-year-old Katherine Koonce, and 61-year-old Mike Hill, according to Fox News.

Armed with two rifles and a handgun, the killer, Audrey Hale, shot through the school’s locked door at about 10 a.m. on Monday, Fox reported. Hale then went upstairs to the second floor where she reportedly opened fire.

Police officers first received the 911 call at 10:13 a.m., The Tennessean reports. Metro Nashville Police officers Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo were among the dozens of officers who rushed to the building. By 10:24 am, Engelbert and Collazo had taken out the shooter.

Correction: a reference to police officers on this article has been corrected to reference the right name.

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