A former student who opened fire and shot six people, three children and three adults, to death at a school in Nashville, Tennessee, was identified by police as 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale.
Police said Hale went to The Covenant School years before targeting the Christian academy in the Monday morning shooting. But officials did not mention which grades the shooter studied in.
“At one point she was a student at that school, but unsure what year,” Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake said.
As information about the suspect comes to light, there are conflicting details about Hale’s gender identity. Nashville police reportedly identified the shooter as a transgender woman while Hale’s social media profiles indicate that the assailant goes by the name Aiden and uses he/him pronouns, according to the New York Post.
Bill Campbell, who was the headmaster of The Covenant School from 2004 to 2008, said he remembers the assailant attending the school located in the affluent Green Hills neighborhood. Hale studied in the school’s third grade in 2005 and the fourth grade in 2006, Campbell said, according to NBC News.
“I’ve looked back in my annuals, and I do remember her as a former student,” Campbell recalled. “She was just one of our young ladies.”
The former headmaster said Hale may have transferred to another institution as the student did not appear in Campbell’s subsequent yearbooks.
It is unclear whether Hale identified as a man or woman when they drove to the school Monday in a Honda Fit and shot through a locked door on the side of the building.
Armed with two “assault-type rifles” and a handgun, Hale gunned down six victims — Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all aged 9, and 61-year-old custodian Mike Hill, 61-year-old substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, and 60-year-old school head Katherine Koonce.
Don Aaron, a Nashville police spokesman, said the 911 call reporting the shooting came in at 10:13 a.m. After a 14-minute shooting spree, Hale was shot to death by responding officers at around 10:27 a.m.
“She targeted random students in the school … Whoever she came in contact with, she fired rounds,” Drake said.
Investigators found detailed maps of the school and a manifesto of the attack upon searching her family home. “We have a manifesto, we have some writings that we’re going over that pertain to this day,” Drake said.
Prior to the shooting, Hale had conducted surveillance and even drew up plans to attack another school in the area, reports said.
The suspect was “prepared to do more harm than was actually done” but abandoned the plan of attacking the other school because of how secure it was, Drake added.
Hale had no records of mental health issues and no previous run-ins with the police.
Police suspect that Hale might have had some “resentment” from being sent as a child to study in The Covenant School, the curriculum of which focuses on biblical theology along with the standard education courses.
“There’s some belief that there was some resentment for having to go to that school,” Drake told NBC News. “Don’t have all the details to that just yet and that’s why this incident occurred.”
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