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GOP senator urges FBI, DHS to launch probe of Nashville shooting as a 'hate crime'

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri is calling for the federal government to investigate the deadly shooting perpetrated at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday as a hate crime.

"I urge you to immediately open an investigation into this shooting as a federal hate crime," Hawley wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas. "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. Hate that leads to violence must be condemned. And hate crimes must be prosecuted."

A 28-year-old individual perpetrated the deadly shooting on Monday, killing three children and three adults at The Covenant School in Nashville — the shooter was fatally shot by law enforcement.

"Targeting victims on the basis of religious affiliation is a hate crime. It should be investigated as such," Hawley tweeted. "All federal resources necessary should be brought to bear. And those individuals or groups who have spread a message of hate against the Christian community - which resulted here in horrific violence - should be held to account," he added.

Hawley also introduced a resolution that would, in part, declare that the U.S. Senate denounces the shooting "and recognizes it as a hate crime targeting Christians."

Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida has floated the idea of an "automatic death penalty" for those who carry out school shootings.

"We need to consider an automatic death penalty for school shooters. Life in prison is not enough for the deranged monsters who go into our schools to kill innocent kids & educators. Pray for all facing the unimaginable in Nashville. This is horrible & must stop," Scott tweeted.

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