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Man accused of firing a gun outside a Jewish school in Memphis faces multiple charges

By Nouran Salahieh and Macie Goldfarb, CNN

(CNN) — A man accused of firing shots outside a Memphis, Tennessee, Jewish school he was allegedly trying to enter now faces multiple charges, including attempted murder in the second degree, authorities said Wednesday.

The suspect – identified as 33-year-old Joel Alejandro Bowman – unsuccessfully attempted to get into the Margolin Hebrew Academy-Feinstone Yeshiva of the South on Monday armed with a handgun before opening fire outside and driving away, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.

“When he could not gain entry, he fired shots outside the school,” Memphis Police Assistant Chief Don Crowe said Monday. No one was injured at the school.

When Memphis police officers stopped the suspect in his truck a short time later, he got out with a gun in his hand and was shot by an officer, Crowe said.

Police did not provide details on Bowman’s condition Wednesday. Authorities said he was in critical condition when he was first taken to a nearby hospital.

Bowman has been charged with one count each of criminal attempted second-degree murder; carrying weapons on school property; reckless endangerment; possessing a firearm during the commission or attempt to commit a dangerous felony; and assault against a first responder, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a news release.

As the investigation continues, it’s unclear what motivated the incident.

A spokesperson for the Secure Community Network, an organization that has worked with the school through the Memphis Jewish Federation, previously told CNN that the incident at the academy “was personal in nature.”

The suspect was described as Jewish and a former student of the school, according to US Rep. Steve Cohen, who represents the Memphis area.

In a letter to families, obtained by CNN affiliate WHBQ on Monday, the Margolin Hebrew Academy said the suspect tried to enter their school, had a “brief confrontation” with a contract worker and fired two shots from the gun he was carrying, “while retreating from this worker.”

The school issued a statement Tuesday morning, expressing shock over the incident.

“We are shocked and saddened by the events that took place at MHA-FYOS yesterday, and incredibly grateful to God that thanks to our school’s extensive security measure and the swift response by the Memphis Police Department, every is safe,” the statement reads.

“Thank you to the entire Memphis community and our friends around the world for your love and support. We stand united in our commitment to keeping all students and school staff members safe,” the statement added.

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CNN’s Shawn Nottingham, Alta Spells, Zoe Sottile, Amy Simonson, Devon Sayers, Rebekah Riess and Sarah Dewberry contributed to this report.

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