Nashville police chief: Covenant School shooting suspect had manifesto, harbored 'resentment'
03/28/2023 12:46 pm PDT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TCD) -- Nashville Police released surveillance video and body cam footage from the deadly Covenant School shooting, as well as additional information regarding the suspect and their apparent "resentment" for the school.
Police said the shooter, Audrey Hale, was "heavily armed" and drove to the Covenant School on Monday, March 27, in a Honda Fit with two assault rifles and a handgun. Video shared by Nashville Police shows Hale driving through the school’s parking lot and shooting through the front doors with glass shattering everywhere.
Hale is next seen walking through the hallways with the assault rifle pointed, opening doors and walking in and out of rooms. News later came out that Hale, a former student, was transgender and identified as male. A police spokesperson told The Associated Press Hale "was assigned female at birth. Hale did use male pronouns on a social media profile."
Nashville Police received the first 911 call at 10:13 a.m. Officers arrived, and Hale reportedly shot at the police cars from a second story window.
Police shared body cam footage from officers Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo, the two officers who shot and killed Hale inside the school. Several officers are seen going classroom to classroom with their guns drawn as the fire alarm blares. The officers could hear additional shots and found Hale on the second story of the building in a common area with lots of chairs. They opened fire, killing Hale at 10:27 a.m.
Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church/School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building. She was armed with 2 assault-type guns and a 9 millimeter pistol. pic.twitter.com/mIk2pDmCwQ— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) March 28, 2023 @MNPDNashville
In a Monday afternoon press conference, Nashville Police Chief John Drake said Hale lived in Nashville, and police searched Hale’s home that day. Drake said investigators discovered maps drawn "in detail" of the school. Hale formerly attended the school.
The victims have been identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs, all 9 years old. The three adult victims are Mike Hill, 61, Cynthia Peak, 61, and Katherine Koonce, 60. Koonce was the head of the Covenant School, Peak was a substitute teacher, and Hill worked as a janitor, according to WKRN-TV. Hallie Scruggs' father is the pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church.
While speaking with "CBS Mornings" on Tuesday, Drake said there was a theory that Hale harbored some "resentment" toward the school. Hale supposedly wrote a manifesto and drew up maps of the school, what weapons Hale wanted to use, and Hale’s outfit, which was "drawn up like a cartoon character."
Drake added they believe there were going to be other targets, including a local mall and family members.
The attack was "planned and targeted," he said.
In a Tuesday, March 28, press conference, Drake shared more details about Hale, saying Hale bought seven firearms from five different stores in Nashville. Hale's parents believed Hale only had one weapon and that Hale sold it.
According to Drake, Hale was "under a doctor's care for an emotional disorder," and Hale's parents did not believe Hale should own any guns.
Police are still searching for a motive and said the students were targeted at random.
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On Tuesday, The Covenant School released a statement saying, "Our community is heartbroken. We are grieving tremendous loss and are in shock coming out of the terror that shattered our school and church. We are focused on loving our students, our families, our faculty and staff and beginning the process of healing.
"Law enforcement is conducting its investigation, and while we understand there is a lot of interest and there will be a lot of discussion about and speculation surrounding what happened, we will continue to prioritize the well-being of our community.
"We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received, and we are tremendously grateful to the first responders who acted quickly to protect our students, faculty and staff.
"We ask for privacy as our community grapples with this terrible tragedy — for our students, parents, faculty and staff."
- Investigation Continuing into Today's Active Shooter Murders at Covenant School - Metro Nashville Police Department
- Surveillance video - Metro Nashville Police Department
- Body-worn camera footage - Metro Nashville Police Department
- Green Hills shooting press conference - WKRN
- What we know about the Covenant school shooting in Nashville - The Associated Press
- Covenant School Shooting: What we know about the victims - WKRN
- Police chief on Nashville school shooting and latest on investigation - "CBS Mornings"
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