Lemon Pushes Back Against Analyst Who Tries To Dismiss Nashville Shooter’s Gender: ‘Important Part Of The Conversation’

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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CNN’s Don Lemon pushed back against a network analyst who tried to dismiss the Nashville shooter’s gender identity, saying identity is an “important part of the conversation.”

The Nashville Police Department received a call at 10:13 a.m. Monday morning about shots fired at the private Christian school and arrived on scene. Upon arrival, a suspect, later identified as transgender 28-year-old Audrey Hale, opened fire on police from a second-story window. A group of five officers entered the school and found Hale on the second floor, where they engaged in gunfire before fatally striking Hale, according to the police department.

Hale killed three nine-year-old students and three adults.

CNN’s National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem joined Lemon to discuss the shooting Tuesday morning.

“Juliette, let’s talk about the thing that everyone is talking about, everyone is thinking, but they don’t want to talk about, and that is the identity of the shooter, okay? It’s a member of the LGBTQ community,” Lemon said. “I think this is important to bring up … The police are identifying the shooter as a trans woman – would actually be a trans man, so there’s sort of misidentification there, but this is all new. I’m just wondering: The identity of being a transgender person and also being identified as a woman, does this pose any sort of difference or difficulty for police because it’s not typically a woman, regardless of how they’re identifying.”

Kayyem said it is very unusual for the shooter to be female but added, “We have to be sensitive about it to the extent that Audrey Hale identified as a woman.”

“I sort of think now, like, we don’t own guns in this country, guns own us at this stage, and this is where we have to now focus on an important part of an agenda, which includes mental health, protecting our kids [and] fortifying schools, but also the connectivity, which is a certain kind of gun,” Kayyem said.

“You know, look, pronouns – pronouns do not kill children, right? People with guns kill children. And it’s going to be a distraction in our coverage and keep us from what we now know, which is each of these cases has a similarity more than any difference,” she continued. (RELATED: Police Release Frightening Video Of Nashville Shooter)

“Police are identifying the shooter as a trans person, just so you know,” Lemon said. “And you’re right, it shouldn’t matter, the pronoun, but it is something that is different and people are discussing, and I think we should discuss it, also be sensitive about it, but it is an important part of the conversation.”

CNN quietly scrubbed any mention of gender from a Monday article about Hale. CNN originally headlined the article as “28-year-old woman kills 3 students and 3 adults at private Christian school in Nashville, police say.”

The network later updated the article to read “Nashville private school shooting suspect had maps of building and scouted possible second attack location, police say.”