Nashville school shooting: 6 killed including 3 students, shooter dead
Posted For: Cats Domineaux
By Anders Hagstrom
A shooting at a Tennessee private Christian grade school left three students and three adults dead, including the head of the school, Monday and the shooter was killed by police, authorities said.
The victims were killed in the attack at the Covenant School, authorities said. Nashville police say officers engaged with and killed the shooter, identified as a 28-year-old female carrying two “assault-type rifles” and a handgun.
The shooter was identified as Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a Nashville resident, who identified as a transgender woman. Investigators were investigating a home connected to her. Nashville police Chief John Drake said Hale possibly prepared for the shooting, including having written a manifesto.
“We have also determined that there were maps drawn of the school in detail of surveillance entry points. At one point she was a student at that school,” he said. “There was a vehicle nearby that gave us a clue as to who she was.”
We are responding to an active aggressor at 33 Burton Hills Blvd Covenant School.
We can confirm we have multiple patients.
Parents coming to the school should go to 20 Burton Hills at this time. this is an active scene.
— Nashville Fire Dept (@NashvilleFD) March 27, 2023
Police say the shooter entered the building through a side door and fired shots before moving to the second floor, where Hale was confronted by responding officers. They don’t believe she was wearing any body armor, authorities said.
Hale was armed with two AR-style weapons, including a rifle and pistol, and a handgun. Two of the weapons may have been purchased legally in the Nashville area, Drake said. Investigators were probing a possible theory for a motive but did not disclose any details.
Officials at the medical center say three young students were transported to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt with gunshot wounds. All three were pronounced dead after arrival. The three more adults were also pronounced dead following the attack. All three were staff at the school.
The victims were identified by police as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all age 9, Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and 61-year-old Mike Hill. Koonce was the head of school at Covenant, according to the school’s website.
The Covenant School is a private Christian institution for students up to 6th grade, according to its website.
“My heart breaks with news of the school shooting at The Covenant School this morning,” Rev. Mark Spalding of the Diocese of Nashville said in a statement. Let us pray for the victims, their families, and the Covenant Presbyterian community.”
“We are responding to an active aggressor at 33 Burton Hills Blvd Covenant School. We can confirm we have multiple patients,” the Nashville Fire Department said Monday. “Parents coming to the school should go to 20 Burton Hills at this time, this is an active scene,” the statement continued.
The Metro Nashville PD confirmed the shooter’s death in a statement, adding that the school was already working on reunifying parents and children a safe distance away from the Burton Hills Blvd the school is on.
“An active shooter event has taken place at Covenant School, Covenant Presbyterian Church, on Burton Hills Dr. The shooter was engaged by MNPD and is dead. Student reunification with parents is at Woodmont Baptist Church, 2100 Woodmont Blvd.,” the department wrote in a statement.
The only reported injury following the attack was an officer who suffered a glass wound to his hand.
An active shooter event has taken place at Covenant School, Covenant Presbyterian Church, on Burton Hills Dr. The shooter was engaged by MNPD and is dead. Student reunification with parents is at Woodmont Baptist Church, 2100 Woodmont Blvd. pic.twitter.com/vO8p9cj3vx
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) March 27, 2023
The Nashville branch of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has also deployed agents to assist the MNPD in responding to the attack.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper released a statement regarding the attack on Monday.
“In a tragic morning, Nashville joined the dreaded, long list of communities to experience a school shooting,” he wrote. “My heart goes out to the families of the victims. Our entire city stands with you. As facts continue to emerge, I thank our first responders and medical professionals.”
David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said his agency is assisting local authorities.
“I know there are people who will criticize us for prayers but that’s the way we do it in the south.”
Other Tennessee lawmakers were quick to offer their condolences and support following Monday’s attack. The state’s senators, Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty, both released statements mourning the tragedy and praising law enforcement.
“Devastated and heartbroken about the tragic news at Covenant School,” Hagerty tweeted Monday. “I’m grateful to law enforcement and first responders for their heroic actions. I am monitoring the situation closely, and my office is in contact with local officials & available to anyone needing assistance.”
“Chuck & I are heartbroken to hear about the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville. My office is in contact with federal, state, & local officials, & we stand ready to assist,” Blackburn wrote in a statement. “Thank you to the first responders working on site. Please join us in prayer for those affected.”
First Lady Jill Biden also responded to the attack later Monday, saying we “stand with Nashville in prayer.”
“I am truly without words and our children deserve better,” she added.
On Monday, the FBI released data on active shootings for 2021. The agency said there were 61 such incidents that year with all but one committed by a male. The number of shootings was a 50% increase from 2020, the FBI said.