Audrey Hale: What we know about the Nashville school shooter
A heavily armed 28-year-old killed six people at a Nashville elementary school in a devastating mass shooting attack on Monday morning.
Students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all aged nine, Head of School Katherine Koonce, 60, Cynthia Peak, 61, and Mike Hill, 61, were all killed before police shot dead the suspect - who is believed to be a former student - inside the school.
Here’s what we know about Audrey Elizabeth Hale, whom police have identified as the shooter.
Who was the shooter in the Nashville attack?
Nashville police said on Monday the shooter at Covenant Presbyterian School was 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale.
Police have identified the suspected shooter by their name at birth; Hale reportedly was a transgender man who used he/him pronouns, though law enforcement officials initially described the suspect as a woman in the aftermath of the shooting. Police did not provide another name.
Hale was able to forcibly enter the school door on the first floor of Covenant, where shots were fired, then made make way to an upper level, police said.
They released images of the weapons used in the attack, a photo of Hale’s abandoned car and a smashed glass door which they believe the suspect fired through to make entry.
A team of five officers responding to the shooting encountered Hale inside the school, with two officers fatally shooting the 28-year-old.
A neighbour described Hale coming from a “great family.”
“This is a great family and it’s a tragedy,” they told NBC News.
What was the motive in the Nashville shooting?
Nashville police chief John Drake said on Monday officers have looked into a vehicle and an address linked with the 28-year-old and have spoken with Hale’s father.
In the course of their investigation, officers also discovered manifesto-like writings, and apparent research into the facilities and entry points at Covenant.
Investigators have not revealed the contents of those writings.
Sean Brashears, who grew up next door to Hale, told the Daily Beast Hale was a “normal, nice person. Maybe a little quiet,” he said.
“If I had to imagine, Audrey’s parents are probably just as shocked as everybody in the neighborhood is…It just doesn’t seem real,” he said. “There’s nothing that would have led me to believe that she was capable of such a thing or that she or anybody in that family would have access to, much less ever used, a gun. They just don’t seem like the family that, like, is around guns. They’re not talking about going to a gun range or they’re not going hunting.”
Police said the Covenant School - a private Christian elementary - was the only school targeted by Hale but the suspect had also planned to attack another unidentified location.
What kind of weapons did Hale use in the Nashville shooting?
“We know that she was armed with at least two assault-type rifles and a handgun,” a police spokesperson said during a press briefing on Monday.
Officials said on Monday that two of the three weapons used in the shooting were bought legally.
What has Hale’s family said about the shooting?
Norma Fort Hale, Audrey’s mother, previously posted on social media after school shootings and called for more gun control.
Ms Hale, whose social media profile lists her as an employee of a Nashville-based chapel, shared links on Facebook to a Sandy Hook Promise petition to “keep guns out of schools,” calling the pledge “so important,” according to posts viewed by Heavy.
The posts appear to have since been taken down.
The Independent was not able to reach Ms Hale for comment. A number linked to her name via public records appears to have been disconnected.
Ms Hale appears to have confirmed that Audrey was involved in the shooting.
“It’s very difficult now, we ask for privacy,” she told ABC News. “I really can’t talk right now, I think I lost my daughter today.”
What comes next?
The Metro Nashville Police Department is leading the investigation into the shooting, with assistance from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.