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Police identify transgender woman as suspect in Nashville mass shooting

Nashville police identify victims, suspect in Nashville school mass shooting (WZTV)
Nashville police identify victims, suspect in Nashville school mass shooting (WZTV)
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The Metro Nashville Police Department identified three children and three adults who were shot and killed at a Christian elementary school in Tennessee on Monday morning.

Police also identified the shooter as Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a Nashville resident. Chief John Drake said Hale identifies as transgender.

"We're investigating all the leads," Drake said, adding that police are looking into whether Hale's gender identity played a role in the shooting.

Drake added that it was a targeted attack.

The victims include the following people:

  • Evelyn Dieckhaus,9
  • Hallie Scruggs, 9
  • William Kinney 9
  • Cynthia Peak, 61
  • Katherine Koonce, 60,
  • Mike Hill, 61

Koonce is described on the school website as the Head of School. Police said Hill was a custodian and Peak was a substitute teacher.

I was hoping this day would never come in this city," Drake said during a news conference.

Authorities confirmed Hale, a former student of the school, was killed by officers.

Police said shots rang out at The Covenant School, a private Christian school in the Green Hills area, around 10:15 a.m.

Police said Hale appeared to be armed with two assault rifles, multiple rounds of ammunition, and a handgun.

Drake said Hale entered the school by shooting through a side door. She went to the second floor of the school and opened fire as she made her way up the stairs.

Hale was later shot and killed by police.

Drake said police found a manifesto and writings from Hale that pertain to a planned shooting.

There's right now a theory but it is not confirmed," Drake said of the findings, adding that while he cannot confirm motive, it was a targeted attack.

Drake said Hale did not have a prior criminal history. He also said police are not aware if she had any mental health issues.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper praised the city's police and fire for their quick response to the shooting. Still, he said, it is a sad day.

“I am overwhelmed at the thought of the loss of these families -- of the future lost by these children and their families,” Cooper said.

“Those guns stole precious lives from us today in Nashville,” he added. "And in this dark hour, let us support each other. Let us go and hug our children a little bit closer tonight."

Drake shared similar sentiments.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families," he said. "When we send our kids to school -- or to any place of safety -- we expect them to live, learn, have fun, and come back from that day's experience. We don't anticipate things like this."

Drake added that police obtained surveillance footage from the scene. He said police plan to release the footage soon.


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EDITOR'S NOTE: WZTV contributed to this report.

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