Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old woman who reportedly identified as transgender, carried out a mass shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee on the morning of Monday, March 27th. According to several media reports and video footage obtained from the school and caught on police body cams, Hale arrived at the school in her gray Honda Fit around 10:13 am local time. Armed with two semi-automatic rifles and a handgun, she proceeded to shoot through the school’s locked front doors.
Hale then walked through the school’s corridors, firing shots while on the first floor before proceeding to the second floor where she continued firing. By the time she was on the second floor, police officers had started arriving at Covenant School. Hale fired shots at the police officer arriving at the school, damaging the windshield of one police vehicle. The police officers managed to find Hale on the second floor, where she was shot dead at approximately 10:27 am.
The Innocent Victims
The Covenant School shooting resulted in the deaths of six people, three school children, and three school staffers. The three children were named by police as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney; and were all nine years old. The three school staffers were Cynthia Peak, Katherine Koonce, and Mike Hill. According to Covenant’s website, Katherine Koonce was the school’s head while Mike Hill and Catherine Peak were a custodian and substitute teacher respectively. In the aftermath of the shooting, school children were removed from the school and placed onto buses to be taken to their parents.
Audrey Hale is reportedly a former student of Covenant School, which is a private school operated by a church. It is alleged that Hale identified as transgender and used the pronouns him/he on the social media platform LinkedIn. Nashville Police Chief John Drake alleged that Hale targeted the school but shot her victims randomly. Searches of Hale’s home and vehicle led to the discovery of two shotguns and documents. It was discovered that Hale had been in possession of maps and a manifesto that showed she intended on attacking a second location.
“We have a manifesto, we have some writings that we’re going over that pertain to this date, the actual incident,” Drake said during a press conference Monday. “We have a map drawn out of how this was all going to take place.”
Shooter Leaves A Message
At the time of writing, there was no known motive for the shooting. However, Chief Drake said that investigators believe Hale resented the fact she had gone to that school. Before the shooting, Hale had sent messages on Instagram to her friend Averianna Patton. In the messages, she told Paton that she was going to die. In the messages, Hale wrote that this was her final goodbye to Patton.
“So basically that post I made on here about you, that was basically a suicide note,” she wrote. “I’m planning to die today. THIS IS NOT A JOKE!!!!”
“You’ll probably hear about me on the news after I die,” she wrote. Patton made an attempt to discourage Hale by telling her she had a lot to live for. However, Hale wrote, “I just need to die”. Patton knew Hale had a history of being suicidal, so she called a Suicide Prevention Line first and then called the Nashville Davidson County Sheriff’s office. But at the same time Patton was hastily making those calls, her friend had started the mass shooting that led to her death and the deaths of six innocent people. The people who knew Hale were shocked by the shooting, claiming that she appeared to be a normal person from a great family.
People Left in Shock
“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,” Sean Brashears, a neighbor, told The Daily Beast.
Hale’s family asked for privacy as they came to terms with their child’s actions.
The shooting at Covenant School was the 129th mass shooting in the United States in 2023, according to Gun Violence Archive. President Joe Biden called on Congress to act and pass gun laws that would better protect children and citizens. “We have to do more to stop gun violence. It’s ripping our communities apart, ripping the soul of this nation, ripping at the very soul of the nation,” he said.