Nashville Shooter Amassed an Arsenal Despite Being Under Doctor’s Care

Nashville Police Department via Reuters
Nashville Police Department via Reuters

Nashville school shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale was being treated for an unspecified emotional disorder before Monday’s massacre at a private Christian school—a medical condition Hale’s parents thought should’ve disqualified Hale from owning weapons at all, police revealed Tuesday.

Despite the disorder, cops said Hale, 28, was able to legally build up an arsenal of seven guns that were kept hidden at home—three of which were used to mow down six people at The Covenant School.

Hale’s parents felt that Hale “should not own weapons,” Nashville Police Chief John Drake said Tuesday. “As it turned out,” he continued, Hale had “been hiding several weapons within the house.”

(According to social media profiles and a family member who spoke to The Daily Beast, Hale, who was transgender, had recently started using he/him pronouns.)

Nashville School Shooter Messaged Friend Minutes Before Massacre

Norma and Ronald Hale allegedly told cops they knew their daughter owned a weapon at one point, but they told Hale to sell it because they didn’t trust the 28-year-old with it. Drake said the parents believed Hale when he said he’d gotten rid of the weapon and that they had no clue he was secretly purchasing more—including the two rifles and handgun used in Monday's massacre.

According to police, Hale’s parents were suspicious of a red bag he carried out the door on Monday—but didn’t ask to see what was inside. They believe the weapons used in Monday’s massacre may have been inside.

“[Hale’s mother] asked what was in the red bag,” Drake said. “And I think she just dismissed it because it was a motherly thing. And she didn’t look in the bag because at the time she didn’t know her daughter had any weapons and didn’t think any differently.”

Drake said his department would’ve tried to take away Hale’s guns away if officers had caught wind of Hale’s intentions, but, “as it stands, we had absolutely no idea who this person was.”

The shocking details emerged as authorities try to piece together what drove Hale to return to his former primary school and slaughter three kids and three staff members, which included the school's head of school, Katherine Koonce.

Drake said the slain students—9-year-olds Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney—were “randomly targeted” and that a motive remains unclear but Hale may have been fueled by “resentment” about having to attend the school.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Shooting suspect Audrey Elizabeth Hale seen entering The Covenant School.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">METROPOLITAN NASHVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT</div>

Shooting suspect Audrey Elizabeth Hale seen entering The Covenant School.


Drake also divulged details about a manifesto Hale left behind, which allegedly included a map of the campus and a plan on how he'd enter the building. The writings also indicated the private Christian school may not have been the only planned target. Family members and a shopping mall were among other possible targets, he said.

Drake said the shooting victims weren’t all in one classroom, but were spread out throughout the school—with the body of Koonce found in an upstairs hallway by herself. The chief said it was possible she was running toward the gunfire when she was hit.

“There was a confrontation, I’m sure,” Drake said. “You can tell [by] the way she was laying in the hallway.”

Nashville School Shooter Messaged Friend Minutes Before Massacre

The press conference, held outside the school in the Green Hills neighborhood of Nashville, came just hours after police released dramatic body-cam footage of two officers shooting Hale dead just minutes after they arrived at the campus.

“They heard gunfire and immediately ran to that and took care of this horrible situation,” Drake said.

Warning: graphic footage

Drake said responding officers were under fire from Hale—camped on an upper level of the school—as they pulled into the school's parking lot. He said this led him to believe Hale “had some training” to be able to get shots off while standing far enough away from the window to not make himself an “easy target” for police from the outside.

Relatives and friends described Hale to The Daily Beast on Monday as a “quiet” former art student who was autistic “but high-functioning.” Drake said Tuesday he would not confirm Hale’s autism.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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