An armed man tried walking into a Jewish school in Memphis and opened fire outside when he couldn’t get in, police say
(CNN) — Authorities shot a man after they say he fired shots at a Jewish school in Memphis, Tennessee, Monday afternoon.
Memphis police were called to the Margolin Hebrew Academy-Feinstone Yeshiva of the South around 12:20 p.m. ET after an armed man tried to enter the school, according to Memphis Police Assistant Chief Don Crowe.
Police say the suspect tried to enter the building but couldn’t get inside. “When he could not gain entry, he fired shots outside the school,” Crowe said. No one was injured at the school.
School officials gave police a photo and a description of the suspect’s maroon-colored Dodge Ram pickup truck.
A short time later, Memphis police officers found a vehicle matching the description and stopped the driver. The suspect got out of the truck with a gun in his hand and was shot by an officer, Crowe said.
The suspect was taken to a local hospital and is in critical condition.
Crowe said authorities are investigating a motive and it was “way too early” to know whether the suspect had any connection to the school or whether the incident could be a hate crime.
US Rep. Steve Cohen, who represents the Memphis area, said his office has learned the shooter is Jewish and a former student of the school.
“We have recently learned that the shooter at the Margolin Hebrew Academy was himself Jewish and a former student at the school. I am pleased the academy had effective security and that the police acted quickly to protect students,” a news release from Cohen’s office reads.
CNN has reached out to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Cohen’s office for more details. The Congressman didn’t specify the source of the information.
A spokesperson for the Secure Community Network, an organization that has worked with the school through the Memphis Jewish Federation, also told CNN the suspect is Jewish.
According to the spokesperson, who spoke to CNN by phone, the incident at the academy “was personal in nature.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation with assistance from the FBI. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Bartlett Police Department helped in finding the suspect.
In a news release, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said, “I am proud of the vigilant and quick response of MPD officers who mitigated a potential mass shooting situation today.”
“Many thanks to our neighboring jurisdictions for also providing critical information to stop the suspect’s actions,” the chief added.
The Margolin Hebrew Academy-Feinstone Yeshiva of the South serves students from pre-K through 12th grade, according to the school’s website. The school teaches both day students and boarding school students who live in dormitories.