The shooter who killed six people at the Nashville Christian school on Monday has been identified as Audrey Hale, law enforcement officials confirmed. Nashville police said that the 28-year-old who shot and killed six peopleâincluding three childrenâat the Covenant School was transgender and had a detailed manifesto to attack the Christian academy.
Hale was born a female, but a LinkedIn page that is believed to be hers uses the pronouns he/him, implying that Hale was living as a man. Police shot and killed Hale less than 15 minutes after opening fire inside The Covenant School in the state capital of Tennessee, killing six people.
Transgender and Former Student
Officials said Hale entered the school Monday morning by shooting through a door on the side of the building. Cops responding to the incident heard gunfire on the second story and rushed to the lobby area where they found Hale, a Nashville resident, armed with two assault rifles and a handgun.
Hale was a former student of the school, according to the police. According to Hale's LinkedIn profile, she was listed as a graphic designer and illustrator with pronouns listed as he/him.
Once inside, Hale opened fire at students and staff members, murdering nine-year-olds Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, along with 61-year-old custodian Mike Hill, 60-year-old substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, and 60-year-old principal Katherine Koonce.
By 10:27 a.m., fourteen minutes after the alarm was sounded following the shootings, Hale was shot dead as they ran into police on the second story.
Nashville police said Hale used a car to get to school, which cops claim made it easier to identify her. "Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale, 28, drove this Honda Fit to the Covenant Church/school campus this morning and parked," the police tweeted.
Police said Hale carried at least two assault rifles in addition to a handgun. She had a comprehensive attack manifesto and blueprints in her family's Nashville house, which police raided.
"We have a manifesto, we have some writings that we're going over that pertain to this day," Nashville Metropolitan police chief John Drake said about the discovery.
According to him, Hale had plans to target another nearby school but abandoned them because the building was too guarded since she was "prepared to do more harm than was actually done."
Hale's motivation is still unclear, but investigators believe she once attended the school. According to authorities, she had drawn comprehensive maps of the school and had been surveilling it.
Drake claimed that Hale made reference to a different place in her manifesto but decided against carrying out an attack because of the level of security.
When asked if Hale's identification might have had a role in the motivation, Drake replied that authorities "feel that she identifies as trans, but we're still in the initial investigation into all of that and if it actually played a role into this incident."
According to the school's website, it teaches students in pre-K through sixth grade and has only about 200 students enrolled. The school focuses its curriculum on biblical theology, where students take classes regarding the bible together with conventional education courses.
"There's some belief that there was some resentment for having to go to that school," Drake told NBC News' Lester Holt Monday evening. "Don't have all the details to that just yet and that's why this incident occurred."
Drake added that once Hale had entered the school by shooting through a closed door, she had been indiscriminate in who she chose to attack.
"She targeted random students in the school. ... Whoever she came in contact with, she fired rounds," Drake said.
Former headmaster Bill Campbell stated "I do remember her as a former student" and that he had records of Hale as a third-grader at the school in 2005 and a fourth-grader in 2006, but added after that she does not show in his yearbooks and he felt she must have transferred.
Authorities said Hale had no police record or record of mental health concerns and that they are in contact with the suspect's father and hope to release videos regarding the shooting in the coming days.
Two assault rifles and a handgun that Hale used were seen in photographs shared by the police.
The Covenant School, a division of Covenant Presbyterian Church, was founded in 2001. Its yearly tuition costs range from $7,250 for a three-day preschool program to $16,500 for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.