Former student, 28, is suspected shooter in Nashville elementary school attack that killed six
The suspect in the Nashville school shooting, Audrey Hale, is a 28-year-old from the city, police have said. He’s reported to have been a former student at the school.
Police have identified the suspected shooter by their name at birth; Hale reportedly was a transgender man who used he/him pronouns, though law enforcement officials initially described the suspect as a woman in the aftermath of the shooting. Police did not provide another name but on the suspect’s social media accounts they refer to themselves as Aiden.
Hale is said to have used two assault-type rifles and a handgun. The suspect died after being shot by police.
Three adults and three children were killed in the shooting.
Only one officer was injured, from cut glass. Two officers from a team of five engaged the suspect and shot him, police said.
“This is a church that operates a private school. There were no Metro Police personnel assigned to that school of any kind,” he added.
“There is video from the school that we are viewing now to try and understand what happened,” he said.
“When the officers got to the second level, they saw a shooter, a female who was firing… We know this shooter was a female. She appears to be in her teens. She was armed with two assault type rifles and a handgun” pic.twitter.com/QepkPJUtfh
— Acyn (@Acyn) March 27, 2023
Police were called to the scene at 10.13am local time and the suspect was shot and killed 14 minutes later, at 10.27am.
Mr Aaron told the press that police were going through the first floor when they heard gunshots from upstairs.
“They immediately went to the gunfire,” Mr Aaron told the press, adding that the suspect entered the school via a side entrance and went to the second floor, “firing multiple shots”.
The confrontation between officers and the suspect then took place on the second floor in a “lobby-type area”.
The shooting took place at The Covenant School; the Presbyterian institution has around 200 students from preschool to sixth grade.
Reporter Hannah McDonald said on WTVF TV that her mother-in-law works at the school’s front desk. When she returned from a break, she heard gunshots. Mr McDonald added that her husband had been able to speak with her, according to the AP.
The school was founded in 2001 as a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church, the school’s website states.
It’s located in Green Hills, southwest of downtown Nashville.
The school employs 33 teachers, according to the site, which includes the motto “Shepherding Hearts, Empowering Minds, Celebrating Childhood”.
During an event in Washington DC on Monday, first lady Jill Biden said, “we just learned about another shooting in Tennessee. A school shooting. And I am truly without words. Our children deserve better. And we stand, all of us, we stand with Nashville in prayer”.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper tweeted, “in a tragic morning, Nashville joined the dreaded, long list of communities to experience a school shooting”.
“My heart goes out to the families of the victims. Our entire city stands with you,” he added. “As facts continue to emerge, I thank our first responders and medical professionals.”
Jozen Reodica works in an office building in the area which went into lockdown as sirens blared.
“I thought I would just see this on TV,” she told the AP. “And right now, it’s real.”