Feelings of "resentment" may have played a role in the mass shooting. The 28-year-old assailant, Audrey Hale of Nashville, shot and killed students and adults at the elementary school she once attended, reports NBC.
The shooter had no criminal record before she opened fire at a Covenant school, killing three children and three adults, authorities said.
“There is a perception that there was some resentment about having to go to this school,” Nashville Police Chief John Drake told Lester Holt.
Hale carefully planned the attack with detailed maps and observations, police said.
Drake didn't say that Hale was stalking specific people. There were also indications that Hale was planning attacks on other locations, Drake said.
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Among those killed was the principal of the Covenant school, 60-year-old Katherine Koonse.
“She shot at random students at school. Whoever she saw, she shot,” Drake said of the shooter.
According to officials, Hale shot through a locked door to enter the school.
She is said to have left notes that are being studied by local and federal investigators.
“We have some records that we are reviewing that date back to this date, the actual incident,” Drake told reporters hours after the shooting. “We have a map that shows how it all had to happen.”
He said that Hale is transgender.
"Officials believe that she identifies as transgender, but we are still conducting an initial investigation into all of this and whether it actually played a role in this incident," Drake said.
Former principal Bill Campbell said he remembers Hale as a third grader in 2005 and fourth grade in 2006, referring to yearbooks he keeps.
"It's just an absolute tragedy what happened to the former student and what she did to the teachers and students," Campbell said.
Hale was not listed in the fifth or sixth grade yearbooks, so Campbell said he thought Hale had switched after the fourth grade.
“I looked through my yearbooks and remember her as a former student,” said the former headmaster. “She was just one of our young ladies. She was just a typical student."
Campbell could not recall any problems that Hale might have had at the time.
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“I think about this student and our relationship at the time she was there, there was nothing extraordinary and unusual,” said the former administrator of the school. “She was loved and appreciated, like all of our students.”
According to Drake, Hale arrived at school on March 27 with two AR rifles and a handgun. He added that two of the three weapons were legally purchased in the Nashville area.
Hale was confronted by five officers and two of them opened fire, killing the shooter, authorities said. A car near the scene helped police determine who the shooter was and helped investigators search Hale's home. Police tactical units used a grenade-like device to get inside Hale's home.
“This is a wonderful family and it is a tragedy,” neighbor Hale said.
Drake praised his officers for taking out the shooter immediately. “It could have been much, much worse,” he said.
Hale's notes also indicated that the school was not the killer's sole target, as authorities said. "The shooting had to happen in several places, and the school was one of them," Drake said.
According to Nashville Mayor John Cooper, officers prevented more deaths due to their quick work. "Let's praise our first officers, they responded within 14 minutes," Cooper told reporters.
Victims of tragedy
In Nashville, three students and three employees were shot dead. The Nashville Police Department identified the victims as Evelyn Dickhouse, 9; Mike Hill, 61; William Kinney, 9; Katherine Koonse, 60; Cynthia Peake, 61; and Hallie Scruggs, 9, reports ABC.
According to the police, Mike Hill was the school's caretaker and Katherine Koonse was the principal.
Cynthia Pick was a substitute teacher at Covenant School.
Hallie Scruggs was the daughter of Chad Scruggs, senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, which shares a seat with the school.
Chad Scruggs called his daughter "a huge gift."
“We are heartbroken,” he said. “Through tears, we believe that she is in the arms of Jesus, who will resurrect her again.”
Evelyn Dickhaus was in third grade at Covenant School.
“Our hearts are completely broken,” the Dickhaus family said in a statement. We cannot believe this has happened. Evelyn was a shining light in this world. We appreciate all the love and support, but please don't disturb us as we grieve."
As ForumDaily wrote earlier:
- March 27 as a result mass shooting at a private elementary school Three students and three adults died in Tennessee.
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