Nashville school shooter legally owned 7 guns, had 'emotional disorder,' police say: Here's everything we know

Authorities also released body camera video from officers who shot and killed Audrey Elizabeth Hale.

Nashville police have released body camera video from officers who responded to the deadly mass shooting at a Christian grade school on Monday and killed the shooter, a former student who, authorities say, owned seven firearms that were purchased legally, including two assault-style rifles and a handgun used in the attack.

Three children and three adults were killed in the rampage at the Covenant School. The slain children were identified by police as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all age 9. The adults were Cynthia Peak, a 61-year-old substitute teacher; Mike Hill, a 61-year-old custodian; and the 60-year-old head of the school, Katherine Koonce.

The shooter was identified as 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale of Nashville.

Shooter owned 7 guns that were legally purchased, police say

Images released by police show firearms used by the shooter in the deadly mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., Monday. (Photos: Metro Nashville Police Department/Twitter)
Firearms used by the shooter in the deadly incident at the Covenant School in Nashville on Monday. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department/Twitter)

At a press conference early Tuesday afternoon, Nashville Police Chief John Drake said Hale owned seven firearms that were legally purchased from five different stores.

Hale's parents told police that the 28-year-old was also being treated by a doctor for an emotional disorder, Drake said. “Law enforcement knew nothing about the treatment she was receiving, but her parents felt that she should not own weapons,” he said.

The parents, Drake said, thought Hale had sold a gun and was no longer in possession of any firearms.

"Had it been reported that she was suicidal or that she was going to kill someone and had been made known to us, then we would have tried to get those weapons," he told reporters. "But as it stands, we had absolutely no idea."

Investigators have not yet confirmed a motive for the killings. Drake said it appears Hale targeted the school but did not target individual students or staff members. A "manifesto" that included writings, drawings and maps of the school was recovered and turned over to the FBI, Drake said.

Bodycam footage shows moment when officers killed shooter

A still taken from body camera footage shows police engaging the suspect in Monday's mass shooting at the Covenant School. (Nashville Metropolitan Police Department/Yahoo News)
A still taken from body camera footage shows police engaging the suspect in Monday's shooting. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department/Yahoo News)

The footage from Officer Rex Engelbert’s body camera shows him arriving at the school at 10:24 a.m., about 11 minutes after calls were made that an active shooter was on the campus.

After pulling into the parking lot and grabbing his gun, Engelbert is informed by a staffer that the students are inside and locked down but that two are missing. “I need three, let’s go!” Engelbert yells to fellow officers before entering the school.

Alarms are heard blaring inside, as Engelbert, his fellow police officer Michael Collazo and three unidentified officers move from room to room with their long guns drawn.

Within minutes, they arrive on the second floor, where gunfire can be heard. They then encounter and fire at Hale, who was fatally wounded.

Video shows suspect shoot through doors, roam halls

Footage from surveillance cameras released by Nashville police on Monday night shows Hale arrive at the school in a Honda Fit shortly before 10 a.m.

The chilling video taken from inside the school at 10:13 a.m. captures the glass in a set of doors shattering, before Hale — wearing a vest, camouflage pants and a red baseball cap turned backward — climbs through one of the doorframes.

She is then seen roaming empty hallways with emergency lights flashing, pointing a long gun at various points.

The footage released Monday does not show any of the victims, nor does it show Hale being fatally shot by police.

Authorities also released photos of Hale’s car parked in the parking lot and a police cruiser with bullet holes. According to police, Hale fired on officers from a second-story window as they arrived at the school.

Shooter messaged former classmate before massacre

Children are evacuated after a mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday. (AP Photo/Jonathan Mattise)
Children are evacuated after the shooting. (AP Photo/Jonathan Mattise)

Averianna Patton, a former middle school basketball teammate of Hale’s, told Nashville’s WTVF-TV that Hale messaged her on Instagram minutes before the attack and told her she planned to kill herself.

“I’m planning to die today,” Hale’s first message sent to Patton read. “THIS IS NOT A JOKE!!!!”

“You’ll probably hear about me on the news after I die. This is my last goodbye. I love you. See you again in another life,” she wrote.

Patton responded by telling Hale that “you have so much more life to live.”

“I know but I don’t want to live,” Hale replied. “I’m so sorry. I’m not trying to upset you or get attention. I just need to die.”

“I wanted to tell you first because you are the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen and known all my life,” she continued.

“My family doesn’t know what I’m about to do,” Hale added. “One day this will make more sense. I’ve left more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen.”

The Honda Fit vehicle with its two left doors open, beside a grassy area with trees, with the school in the background.
The Honda Fit that Hale parked at the Covenant School. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department/Handout via Reuters)

According to Patton, the messages were sent around 9:57 a.m., or about 16 minutes before the first 911 call was made.

Patton told WTVF-TV that she called the suicide prevention help line at 10:08 a.m. before calling the Davidson County sheriff’s office five minutes later. The sheriff’s office told her to call Nashville’s nonemergency line, which placed her on hold for nearly seven minutes.

When she finally got through, Patton said she was told that an officer would be sent to her home. An officer did come to her home — at about 3:30 p.m., hours after the shootings.

“My heart is with all of the families affected,” Patton said. “And I’m devastated by what has happened.”

Biden renews call for assault weapons ban

President Biden speaks in in Durham, N.C., on Tuesday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
President Biden speaks in in Durham, N.C., on Tuesday. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Departing the White House for an unrelated event in North Carolina on Tuesday morning, President Biden again called on Congress to pass a ban on assault-style weapons like the ones used in Nashville.

"Congress has to act," he said. "The majority of the American people think having assault weapons is bizarre."

According to a Gallup poll conducted following the deadly mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, last year, 55% of Americans supported an assault weapons ban, including 89% of Democrats and 26% of Republicans.

Biden said he had spoken to Drake, the Nashville police chief, who said the president would be calling the officers who responded to the tragedy.

Speaking in Durham, N.C., on Tuesday afternoon, Biden said he had watched the initial footage of the attack.

"It's truly heartbreaking. And it's senseless," he said. "Those children should be with us still.

"As a nation, we owe these families more than our prayers," the president added. "We owe them action."