Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale was believed to be planning more attacks on local mall and family members

‘We strongly believe there was going to be some other targets, including maybe family members, and one of the malls here in Nashville,’ said the police chief

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 28 March 2023 18:40 BST
Bodycam footage shows Nashville police searching Christian school for gunman

Nashville school shooting suspect Audrey Hale was believed to be planning to carry out other attacks on a local mall and targeting family members, it has been revealed.

Nashville Police Chief John Drake told CBS Mornings on Tuesday that investigators “strongly believe” the 28-year-old former student had other targets besides The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, where the shooter gunned down six victims on Monday morning.

“We strongly believe there was going to be some other targets, including maybe family members, and one of the malls here in Nashville,” said the police chief.

“And that just did not happen.”

Some maps “pertaining to maybe some thinking about some other incidents” had been discovered during a search of the shooter’s home, along with two other weapons, the police chief said.

On Monday night, Chief Drake had revealed that a manifesto left behind by the shooter indicated “there was going to be shootings at multiple locations and that the school was one of them”.

The Covenant School was then singled out for an attack while a second – undisclosed – location was apparently ruled out because it had a higher level of security, he said.

Just after 10am on Monday morning, Hale allegedly drove to the elementary school armed with two assault rifles and a handgun.

There, Hale broke into the school building by shooting through the glass side doors and climbing inside.

Once inside, the shooter stalked the corridors, killing three small children and three staff members.

Students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney – all aged nine – and three staff members Katherine Koonce, 60, Cynthia Peak, 61, and Mike Hill, 61, all died in the attack.

Bodycam shows officers searching for shooter
Bodycam shows officers searching for shooter (Nashville Police)

Responding officers fatally shot the assailant at 10.27am – 14 minutes after the first 911 call reporting an active shooter came in at 10.13am.

Bodycam footage, released on Tuesday morning, captured the officers searching for the shooter.

The officers move from classroom to classroom, clearing each room while searching for the assailant, as sirens emergency alarms ring out overheard.

While clearing the rooms, gunshots are heard being fired elsewhere in the elementary school building.

The officers then encounter Hale in front of a window in the atrium on the second floor of the school.

The 28-year-old former student is shot dead by two veteran officers – preventing Hale from moving onto any of the other potential targets or locations.

Chief Drake said on Tuesday that investigators are still working to establish a motive for the horror attack but confirmed that – as a former student at the Christian school – Hale “had some history there”.

“What detectives have said so far is there’s possibly some resentment for having to go to that school,” he said.

“We have a manifesto, we have a booklet, that shows the exactly what she had planned to do.

“We have maps that show the entry point into the school, the weapons that were going to be used, the clothing that she was gonna wear, and she had drawn it up, almost like a cartoon character. It was exactly what she had on during this incident.”

Audrey Hale is accused of killing six in Monday’s mass shooting
Audrey Hale is accused of killing six in Monday’s mass shooting (linkedin)

Hale had drawn a detailed map of the school ground, including potential entry points to the building, and carried out surveillance of the building prior to massacre, he said. A “manifesto” was also found during a search of Hale’s home.

The police chief added that the attack was “targeted and planned”, describing how the head of the school Koonce “was assassinated in the hallway”.

After what they saw on Monday at the elementary school, the police chief said that some of his officers feel they “can’t do this anymore”.

“I’ve been in this profession for 35 years and I’m trained for these situations,” he said.

But when he went to the scene, he described how he “saw kids coming out, holding hand in hand, I saw officers coming out bleeding”.

“I had officers saying they weren’t sure if they could do this anymore after carrying kids out of the building,” he said.

“It was a tough, tough scene.”

The police chief said investigators have interviewed Hale’s mother and father as he said the situation was “very traumatic” for them too.

“It’s hard for them emotionally right now. Combing through trying to find out what’s going on, it’s really emotional as they lost a child during all this as well,” he said.

“It’s very traumatic for them too.”

Audrey Hale’s friend says she received these messages minutes before the shooting
Audrey Hale’s friend says she received these messages minutes before the shooting (NewsChannel5 )

Minutes before the shooting, Hale had sent some chilling final messages to a friend warning that “something bad is about to happen”.

Averianna Patton said that Hale sent the messages via Instagram at 9.57am on Monday morning, revealing plans to die by suicide and saying that she would soon be reading about the upcoming events “on the news after I die”.

“One day this will make more sense,” Hale wrote.

“I’ve left behind more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen.”

Ms Patton said she later learned what her friend had done.

Police have identified the suspected shooter by their name at birth; Hale reportedly was a transgender man who used he/him pronouns, though law enforcement officials initially described the suspect as a woman in the aftermath of the shooting. Police did not provide another name but on the suspect’s social media accounts they refer to themselves as Aiden.

Hale – an illustrator and graphic designer who attended Nossi College of Art – does not appear to have had any criminal record prior to Monday’s massacre.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to to find a helpline near you.

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