In the United States, controversial Republican Senator, Josh Hawley, has claimed the shooting of six people at Covenant school in Nashville was a targeted attack against Christians.
On Monday, transgender former pupil Audrey Hale, who used he/him as pronouns, broke into the Christian elementary school in Tennessee, killing three children - aged nine - and three adults before being shot dead by police.
Addressing President Joe Biden at the US Senate the day after the attack, Hawley said: "We must also tell the truth about what happened yesterday in Nashville. This murderous rampage, this taking of innocent life was a horrific crime but more specifically a hate crime. A crime that according to Nashville police specifically targeted the members of this Christian community. "
Hawley has called for the massacre to be investigated as a federal hate crime, urging the government to use its full resources to "condemn" violence and "prosecute" hate crimes.
“Federal law prohibits the targeting of violence against any American on the basis of religious affiliation or religious practise or religious belief.
“The members of this community were singled out because of their religious affiliation and now three young children are dead and three educators are dead.
“That is a federal crime and should be treated as such.”
Police have not yet determined a motive for the shooting but said that the attack had been methodically planned and suggested the suspect may have harboured resentment towards the school.
A 'manifesto' the police say was produced by the shooter has not been published.
According to Nashville police chief John Drake, Hale was “under doctor’s care for an emotional disorder.”