What We Know About Nashville Shooter Audrey Hale
About 10:13 AM CDT, Monday (April 16) a shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville left three children and three adults dead. The shooter, who police identified as 28-year-old Audrey Hale, was killed by officers after she entered the school and opened fire.
In an Instagram message to a radio host, just before 10 a.m. Monday, the shooter said “I’m planning to die today” and that it would be on the news.
“One day this will make more sense,” the shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale, wrote. “I’ve left more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen.”
The school was located in Green Hills, south of downtown Nashville. The Covenant School, a church-run school, enrolls students from preschool through sixth grade.
Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake says that Hale had drawn a detailed map of the school, including potential entry points, and conducted surveillance of the building before she carried out the massacre. She also left behind a manifesto and writings, which indicated she was planning an attack on multiple locations.
Her plan included a “compelling” reason to kill people, Drake said during a news conference. He did not detail what motivated the suspect, but he said she had drawn maps and written about her plans to attack “a large group of people.”
According to police, she was armed with two “assault-type rifles” and a handgun. She was able to get into the school by firing through a door, but she didn’t enter the classrooms.
She then walked through hallways with an assault-style rifle and shot several people, sheriff’s spokesman Don Aaron told NBC News. The shooter then fired a second time at arriving police cars. The first five officers arrived at the school within minutes of receiving the first call, and they went upstairs.
They were joined by other officers and were able to shoot and kill the suspect, who had been attempting to get away. She was wearing a blue hoodie and carrying a bag, Aaron said.
The shooter was killed on the second floor of the school by two police officers at 10:27 a.m., police said.
“It could have been worse without this great response,” the mayor of the police response. “This was very planned and numerous sites were investigated.”
After the shooting, panicked parents rushed to the school, tearfully hugging their children and planning vigils for the victims. The mother of one child who was among the victims said she felt relieved her son is alive but still traumatized by the event.
Those who attended vigils on Monday evening said they were heartbroken by the attack, which comes as the country remains reeling from a spate of gun violence at schools. The shooting was the 19th school or university shooting so far this year, according to a CNN tally.
It is the latest in a string of mass shootings in American schools that have left more than 50 people dead this year. Earlier this month, a 17-year-old shot and wounded two faculty members at a Denver high school before he was killed by police.
The Covenant School is part of the Presbyterian-affiliated Covenant Church in an upmarket area of Nashville. Its website lists the head of the school, Katherine Koonce, as having graduated from Vanderbilt University and Trevecca Nazarene University. She also has a master’s degree from Georgia State University.
She had no previous criminal history, according to law enforcement officials. She was transgender and used male pronouns on her social media accounts, according to a news release by the police department.