Authorities in Memphis, Tennessee, say an armed man tried gaining entry into a Jewish school and when he couldn't get inside, he opened fire.
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.

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.”

According to the letter, the suspect then returned to his vehicle and left the property “firing an additional two shots while leaving.”

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. Authorities declined to identify him on Tuesday.

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.”

Crowe earlier said authorities are investigating a motive, including whether the incident could be a hate crime.

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 the letter sent to parents by the school, officials said the police praised the academy’s security measures and the actions taken after the incident.

“We are very grateful to all of the law-enforcement professionals who were quickly on the scene and played a big part in keeping our school safe, but above all, we are thankful to Hashem for his continued protection,” the letter reads, using a Hebrew term for God. “We are pleased to reassure you that no one was hurt in any way, and our robust security measures did their job in protecting the school, as well as quickly and effectively leading police to the subject.”

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.

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