Parents on edge after exchange of gunfire outside Nashville elementary school

Parents wrapped around Cole Elementary to pick up their children shortly after the school was placed on lockdown after police said there was gunfire outside.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 10:19 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2022 at 6:23 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – Parents are on edge Thursday after shots were fired next to an Antioch elementary school around 9 a.m.

Parents wrapped around Cole Elementary School to pick up their fearful children shortly after the school was placed on lockdown after Metro Police said gunfire were exchanged between two cars nearby.

“They tell us, they were shooting outside,” one student said. “They told us to go somewhere safe and sit down.”

“You know, there are so many windows here,” parent Yasmeen Hernandez said. “That is what scares me. It could have easily gone through a window.”

Police said it all started at a mailbox in the surrounding neighborhood when someone in a Dodge Challenger opened it and took a check out. Then, police said, a Dodge Charger followed the Challenger and shot it at close to the school.

“I am kind of scared because who does that in front of an elementary school,” Hernandez said. “There is kids over there.”

Parents rushed to the school when they heard about what happened.

“As soon as I heard there was a shooting at Cole School, my first thought is someone is in the school shooting, inside the school shooting,” parent Mary Moreno said. “I gotta go. I gotta go.”

Sean Braisted, spokesman for Metro Nashville Public Schools, said Cole Elementary was locked down after an exchange of gunfire between one vehicle and another. All students and staff are safe and there is no apparent damage to the school building, Braisted said.

“It does not appear that the school was being targeted and the shooting was unrelated to Cole Elementary,” Braisted said in a statement. “The (Metro Nashville Police Department) immediately responded to the scene and the school is cooperating in the ongoing police investigation to find the persons responsible.”

While police said the shooting was unrelated to the school and the lockdown was lifted, parents still worry.

“Having people go in schools to shoot and kill our kids and then something happening at Cole, it is very emotional,” Moreno said.

Police said they are interviewing the person in the car who allegedly took the check. They are still looking for the driver in the other vehicle who is accused of firing shots.

“Shots fired in the vicinity of Cole Elementary School Thursday at 9:10 a.m. apparently stemmed from occupants of a Dodge Challenger allegedly taking a check from a mailbox outside a residence on Suzanne Drive,” police said in a media release. “The occupant(s) of a Dodge Charger pursued the Challenger and fired shots toward the car near the school. The Challenger, which had been struck by gunfire, was recovered after it ran out of gas on Tusculum Road. The only occupant of the Challenger, a passenger, is being interviewed. No personal injuries have been reported.”