On Tuesday, a high-level staffer for Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs tweeted an animated GIF of actress Gena Rowlands wielding a gun in each hand. “Us when we see transphobes,” she added, as a caption.
Just the previous day, a shooter who was apparently transgender massacred six innocent people, including three 9-year-olds, at The Covenant School in Nashville — an attack that seemed to have targeted the school because it was Christian.
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The staffer — Press Secretary Josselyn Berry — resigned Wednesday, following calls for the governor to fire her.
One Arizona representative tweeted, “Fire @jossberry.”
Hobbs, a Democrat, has distanced herself from the press secretary’s tweet.
“The post by the Press Secretary is not reflective of the values of the administration,” the governor’s office wrote in a news release. “This administration holds mutual respect at the forefront of how we engage with one another.”
The governor added that she herself “does not condone violence in any form” and “has received and accepted the resignation.”
Some observers questioned whether the spokesperson should have resigned.
News anchor Kari Lake ran against Hobbs in the closest gubernatorial race of 2022, but even Lake defended the spokesperson.
Lake, a Republican, reportedly told radio host Glenn Beck, “I don’t like to cancel people for memes.” Lake made the remark on Wednesday morning, before the resignation.
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Twitter removed the tweet for violating the site’s guidelines, according to Fox News.
Take a look —
Press Secretary for Gov. Hobbs encourages killing “transphobes”
This was tweeted after the mass shooting yesterday by a trans terrorist pic.twitter.com/EUdnEB6Ou9
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) March 29, 2023
Police have given unclear information on the Nashville shooter. For hours, police identified the shooter as a 28-year-old woman and eventually as Audrey Hale. Then at a late afternoon press conference, the police chief said that Hale was transgender. After the news conference, police spokesperson Don Aaron declined to elaborate further.
In an email Tuesday, police spokesperson Kristin Mumford said Hale “was assigned female at birth. Hale did use male pronouns on a social media profile.”
Since the shooting, Hale’s LinkedIn profile appears to have been removed from public view.
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Police said Hale was a former student of the school, but it was unclear if Hale had any current affiliation with the school or was related to anyone in the school at the time of the shooting. Police said the shooter had made a detailed map of the school and conducted surveillance of the building before carrying out the massacre.
Police said Hale had two “assault-style” weapons and a pistol when Hale shot through the front door to enter the building. Police said Tuesday that Hale had legally purchased seven firearms from five different stores in the Nashville area.
Two of the officers opened fire in response and fatally struck Hale inside the school at about 10:27 a.m., police said. Police identified Rex Engelbert, a four-year member of the force, and Michael Collazo, a nine-year member, as the officers who fatally shot Hale.
Investigators were sent to the shooter’s home shortly after Hale was killed, police said. Hale had a map of the school with a planned route for the shooting, and officers found writings, police said.
Investigators found a sawed-off shotgun, a second shotgun and other unspecified evidence during a search of Hale’s home. Police Chief John Drake said Hale’s parents were unaware that Hale had obtained most of the weapons. They told police Hale was under a doctor’s care for an undisclosed emotional disorder, Drake said. Hale’s parents also said they believed Hale had only purchased one gun and had sold it.
No motive has been confirmed by police, but officials said Hale targeted the school, not any particular individual killed in the shooting.
Chief Drake said officers found writings that detailed the plan to attack the school and potentially other locations. He said in an interview with NBC News that investigators believe the shooter had “some resentment for having to go to that school.”
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The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press