Authorities identified Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old female who identified as transgender and used “he/him” pronouns, as the suspected Nashville elementary school mass shooter Monday.
Police say Hale killed three adults and three nine-year-old children at the Covenant School, a private Christian elementary school she reportedly once attended. Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake says Hale might have resented attending the school as a potential motive for the mass shooting, per CNN. (RELATED: Nashville School Shooter Identified As Transgender Artist)
@nossicollegeart listed Hale as a student on the spring 2016 dean’s list, but the website seemingly has been updated to remove her name. We reached out to ask why Hale has suddenly been wiped from the website. They refused to comment@DailyCaller https://t.co/tWaHlMLoBb
— Brianna Lyman (@briannalyman2) March 27, 2023
Drake told reporters Hale planned the attack by allegedly surveilling the school and drawing detailed maps with entrance points to the building, CNN reported. The school was the only location targeted by the shooter, and police believe the shooter entered the building by shooting one of the doors, Drake said, the outlet reported.
Authorities say the shooter appeared to target random victims and reportedly left behind a manifesto currently being reviewed by police after it was found in her family home, CNN reported. Law enforcement has interviewed Hale’s father. Drake added that Hale was “prepared to do more harm than was actually done,” the New York Post reported.
Hale may have planned to attack a local mall, but decided against it because she thought there was “too much security,” police believe. Hale might have targeted family members as well, Drake told CBS News. She was undergoing treatment for an “emotional disorder” and messaged a friend about her plans to commit suicide shortly before carrying out the shooting.
Hale was armed with a handgun and two AR-style weapons, one rifle and one pistol, Drake continued. She obtained the weapons legally despite concerns from medical professionals about her mental health. If law enforcement was made aware of suicidal or homicidal concerns, they would have confiscated the weapons, Drake said.
Police arrived on the scene around 10:15 a.m. local time and heard gunshots on the second floor. Five police officers confronted and killed Hale on the second floor at 10:27 a.m. local time, CNN reported. Body camera footage from police officer Rex Engelbert released by the Nashville Police Department shows the moment when the officers engaged in gunfire and fatally shot the suspect.
Earlier footage showed Hale driving up to the school in a Honda Fit and shooting through glass doors. Footage showed the suspect walking around the hallways in what appeared to be a tactical vest and with a firearm in hand, as she opened and closed a set of doors. Hale could be seen opening another set of doors while pointing the rile. When the police entered the building, Hale fired at them from a second floor window before the officers confronted her, the footage showed.
Hale was an artist and graphic designer who attended the Nossi College of Art and Design in Tennessee, archived records show. Hale went by the name “Aiden” and shared art on social media platforms such as Instagram and Redbubble. As a part-time job, Hale was a grocery shopper for the delivery service Shipt, according to a LinkedIn profile appearing to belong to Hale.
Hale reportedly had autism but was high functioning, and only recently took up her transgender identity, a source close to the family told the Daily Beast. She still lived with her parents, whom a neighbor described to ABC News as “very nice” and “very religious.” Hale’s mother, Norma, told the outlet “[i]t is very, very difficult right now” and requested privacy. “I think I lost my daughter today,” she added.
The Covenant School teaches preschool through sixth grade and has about 200 students enrolled, its website states. It was founded as a ministry of the Covenant Presbyterian Church in 2001 and its tuition fees range from $7,250 for three-day preschool to $16,500 for K-6 students. Police could not determine whether Hale targeted the school for religious reasons.
This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.