- The former student of the institute, Audrey Hale, aged 28, is suspected to be involved in the school shooting in Nashville.
- On Monday, March 27, 2023, Audrey Hale opened fire at the Covenant School in Nashville, resulting in the deaths of six people.
- As stated by Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake during a news conference, Hale gained access to the building by firing through a side door.
- The shooter used three firearms and discharged multiple rounds on the first and second floors of the Covenant School.
- In response to the gunfire, a team of five police officers arrived at the scene, proceeded to the second floor, and fatally shot the suspected Nashville school shooter.
Audrey Hale, the suspected Nashville school shooter, is a former student of the institute.
Hale completed their studies at Nossi College of Art & Design in Nashville last year and worked as a freelance graphic designer and part-time grocery shopper.
On Monday, March 27, 2023, Audrey Hale opened fire at the Covenant School in Nashville, claiming the lives of six individuals, comprising three 9-year-old students and three adult employees of the school.
The victims of the shooting were identified as three 9-year-old students, Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, as well as three adults, Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61.
Koonce held the position of school head, while Peak was a substitute teacher at the time of the attack. Hill served as a custodian at the school.
Hale gained access to the building by firing through a side door, according to statements made by Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake during a news conference.
According to a police spokesperson, the shooting incident lasted for approximately 14 minutes, starting with the initial call at 10:13 a.m. and culminating in the shooter’s demise at 10:27 a.m.
The privately-run school, affiliated with a church, did not have a city-assigned school resource officer for protection.
The shooter utilized three firearms and fired multiple rounds on the first and second floors of the Covenant School.
Police identified the attack as targeted, confirming that Hale left behind school maps and written materials, and had also scouted a second location for a potential attack.
The police discovered detailed maps of the school, along with surveillance footage and entry points.
Hale had also meticulously planned the attack and created a map depicting its execution.
Investigators learned that Hale had also considered targeting a different location in Nashville, but abandoned the plan due to heightened security measures at the venue.
Upon hearing the gunfire, a group of five police officers arrived at the scene, headed to the second floor, and fatally shot the suspected Nashville school shooter.
Hale legally possessed at least two of the weapons, which included an AR-style rifle, an AR-style pistol, and a handgun.
The police are currently probing the motive behind the shooting and have engaged in discussions with the suspect’s father.
During an evening press conference, the police initially referred to the perpetrator as the “female shooter,” but later clarified that Hale was transgender and used male pronouns on a social media profile.
Established in 2001 as a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church, the Covenant School is a private Christian institution that offers education from preschool through 6th grade.
On an average day, the school caters to 209 students and employs 40 to 50 staff members.
The shooting prompted an extensive response from law enforcement and firefighting personnel, and worried families congregated outside the school premises in anticipation of updates about their loved ones.
Avery Myrick, whose mother works as a teacher at the school, informed CNN affiliate WSMV that her mother texted about being in hiding in a closet and hearing gunfire throughout the school.
“Receiving the initial phone call confirming her safety obviously brought enormous relief, but it’s heartbreaking to think about those who may not receive such a call,” she expressed.
Jozen Reodica, an employee at Shearwater Health situated across the street from the school, captured a video of police guiding students out of the school on Monday.
In the video, the children are seen walking in a line, holding hands, as they move down the street. Observing the swift arrival of police cars at the scene, she recognized that something was amiss.
“The (police) swiftly closed down the roads. Everything happened so quickly. I saw a policeman rush to the scene, and within a few minutes, kids were already being escorted away,” Reodica explained.
During a press conference, President Joe Biden condemned the shooting as “sick” and “heartbreaking,” urging Congress to take concrete action regarding gun safety legislation.
He called upon lawmakers to enact background check legislation, close loopholes in gun purchases, and prohibit assault weapons.
Biden also ordered that the U.S. flag be flown at half-mast on all federal buildings throughout March.
The president also announced that he was directing the Department of Justice to formulate model red-flag legislation for states to implement.
The incident marks the deadliest school shooting since the tragic attack in Uvalde, Texas, last May, which claimed the lives of 21 individuals.