Former student fatally shoots six at Christian school in Nashville before being killed by police. Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a 28-year-old former student of the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, fatally shot three children and three adult staffers on March 28 before being killed by police. According to Nashville Police Chief John Drake, Hale left behind a manifesto and maps of the school. Although Hale identified as transgender, there is no clarity on whether this played a role in the shooting.
Drake said investigators believe the shooting was motivated by “some resentment” that Hale harbored for having to attend the school as a younger person. Hale had no known prior criminal history.
The victims have been identified as three nine-year-old children, a school custodian, a substitute teacher, and the head of the school. The Covenant School, a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church in the Green Hills neighborhood of Nashville with about 200 students, serves preschool through sixth graders and held an active shooter training program in 2022.
President Joe Biden urged the US Congress to pass tougher gun reform legislation in response to the shooting, which has also sparked criticism of the National Rifle Association. The K-12 School Shooting Database reports that there have been 89 school shootings – defined as any incident in which a gun is discharged on school property – in the US in 2023.
The shooting took place around midday, with local authorities responding immediately. Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said that officers had engaged the suspect within minutes of the first reports of gunfire. The suspect was shot and killed by police outside the school.
Following the incident, parents of students at the Covenant School gathered outside the school to wait for news of their children. The scene was chaotic, with parents frantically trying to reach their children and find out whether they were safe.
The shooting has shocked the community and raised questions about school safety and gun control. Mayor John Cooper expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, saying in a statement, “This is a tragic day for Nashville and a heartbreaking reminder of the need for all of us to work together to keep our schools and our communities safe.”
Covenant Presbyterian Church released a statement saying, “Our hearts are broken over the tragic events at our school today. We ask that you keep the families of the victims in your prayers during this difficult time.”
The Covenant School also released a statement expressing its deep sadness over the incident. “Our hearts are broken over the loss of three of our precious students, as well as three members of our staff. We are devastated by this tragedy and ask for your prayers for the families of the victims and for our community.”
The shooting has renewed calls for stronger gun control measures in the US, with President Joe Biden urging Congress to take action. In a statement, he said, “We can, and we must, do more to act and to save lives.”
The National Rifle Association, which has long opposed gun control measures, has faced criticism in the wake of the shooting. Gun control advocates argue that the organization’s opposition to gun control laws contributes to the country’s high rates of gun violence.
The Covenant School shooting is the latest in a string of school shootings that have rocked the US in recent years. According to the K-12 School Shooting Database, there have been 89 school shootings in 2023, with more than 100 deaths and injuries reported.
As the community mourns the loss of the victims, questions remain about how to prevent such tragedies in the future. Many are calling for stricter gun control laws and increased measures to ensure school safety.