Nashvillians share heartbreak as investigators search for motive in deadly school shooting

Nashvillians share heartbreak as investigators search for motive in deadly school shooting
Nashvillians share heartbreak as investigators search for motive in deadly school shooting(Action News 5)
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 11:11 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - Nashvillians are mourning and sharing their grief Monday after a deadly school shooting sent shockwaves through the city.

Several vigils have sprouted citywide, and a memorial is growing outside The Covenant Presbyterian Church and School in Nashville’s Green Hills neighborhood, where six people, including three children, were shot and killed Monday morning.

The three students who died at the small Christian private school were just nine years old.

They’ve been identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney.

The three adult victims were all staff members: the headmaster, 60-year-old Katherine Koonce; a custodian, 61-year-old Mike Hill; and a substitute teacher, 61-year-old Cynthia Peak.

Metro Nashville Police say the shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale, was also killed after a confrontation with police. Police say Hale identified as transgender and was a former student of The Covenant School.

Daniel Rodriguez and Sam Tidwell were just two of many who went out of their way to pay their respects.

“It kind of touched home,” said Rodriguez. “I actually lost my mom at age of 10, and I just know some of the parents and some of the teachers here, just kinda remind me of home sometimes, because when the kids come to school, they wanna come where they feel safe.”

“It’s easy to be angry in times like these,” said Tidwell. “However, it’s important to number one love yourself, love those around you, be there for people that might need you. Really just build this community back to being a loving community and we can avoid tragedies like this, hopefully.”

Police say a team of five officers went into school and killed Hale just before 10:30 Monday morning.

“She was armed with at least two assault-type rifles and a handgun,” said MNPD Spokesperson Don Aaron.

Investigators searched Hale’s home, where police say some of the evidence collected included writings and maps of the school.

Police also say Hale drove a Honda Fit to the school Monday morning. It was found in the school parking lot with more writings inside the car.

“Entry was gained through shooting through one of the doors is how they actually got into the school,” said MNPD Chief John Drake.

Police say Hale had no criminal history prior to this.

Officers are still investigating a motive behind the shooting.

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