An ex-student who gunned down three children and three staff at a private Christian primary school in Nashville had written a manifesto and intended to target multiple locations, police said.
The incident at The Covenant School on Monday lasted almost 14 minutes, according to the Associated Press. After 10am local time, the police started getting calls about the incident. Hale had a handgun, two assault-style rifles, and a lot of ammunition. The security camera tape, which the Nashville police have made public, captures the transgender 28-year-old assassin shooting down the entrance of the Christian school she attended as a youngster and roaming the hallways while carrying an assault rifle.
Hale is seen on camera roaming the hallways while wearing a red baseball cap, a white t-shirt wrapped in a tactical vest, and combat pants. According to police, her victims were killed at random.
The victims were identified as nine-year-old students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney.
The school’s head teacher, Katherine Koonce, 60; substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61; and a custodian, Mike Hill, 61, were also killed.
Police were called to reports of an active shooter at 10.13am.
By 10.27am, Hale had been shot dead by two officers in a five-member team on the second storey of the school.
Before being shot dead, the suspect was “prepared for a confrontation” with police and “prepared to do further harm,” according to John Drake, the city’s police chief.
BREAKING: Footage released of Nashville transgender mass shooter pic.twitter.com/9d1fQcIWRL
— Jack Poso 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) March 28, 2023
Audrey Hale, 28, meticulously prepared the assault on The Covenant School and left behind a map showing the route, but she was killed by gunfire before carrying out the full heist. According to the police, Hale previously attended the Presbyterian institution, whose annual tuition might reach USD16,500. When Hale attended the school is unknown.
The police chief said the shooter “identified as transgender”. Police are investigating the possibility that Hale’s identity could have been a factor in the attack.
The police chief added late on Monday, “We have a manifesto, and we have certain writings that we’re reading over that connect to this date, the actual incident.”
He said: “There is some theory to that. We’re investigating all the leads.”
Mr Drake identified the suspect as a woman and referred to the assailant by female pronouns in press conferences but officials declined to confirm whether the suspect identified as a man or woman. Hale had “some resentment for having to go to that school”.
The massacre in the affluennt suburb in Nashville, Tennessee is the latest in an ever-growing list of school shootings in America. The non-profit Gun Violence Archive reports that there have already been 129 mass shootings in the nation this year.
In the wake of the tragedy, President Joseph Biden referred to the massacre as “sick” and renewed his plea to Congress to enact an assault weapons ban.
“To end gun violence, more needs to be done. It is tearing our communities apart and this country’s own soul apart “. It’s sad, the worst nightmare for a family, he added.
Outside the school, people congregated at a temporary memorial for the victims.
Hale was identified as an illustrator who went to the Nossi College of Art and Design in Tennessee on a LinkedIn profile allegedly belonging to the suspect.
Steve LaSuer, a Nossi teacher who had Hale in his class in 2016, expressed his shock at the shooting. He told the New York Times, “She just always was a kind of quiet girl but was very serious about her work”