The shooter, identified as former student Audrey Hale, “acted totally alone,” according to police, but Hale’s journals recovered after the attack reportedly show she planned for months to carry out the attack.
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.
Nashville police said in a statement on Monday that “it is known that Hale considered the actions of other mass murderers,” while planning the crime.
“In the collective writings by Hale found in her vehicle in the school parking lot, and others later found in the bedroom of her home, she documented, in journals, her planning over a period of months to commit mass murder at the Covenant School,” police said.
Hale reportedly considered other locations — public schools — for an attack, according to police reviews of her journals.
Law enforcement officials also revealed that Hale primarily used 5.56 rifle rounds — firing 126 shots — as well as 26 9mm pistol rounds.
Six people were killed in the 27 March attack, including three nine-year-old students.
The children killed were Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney and Hallie Scruggs. The school’s custodian Mike Hill, 61, a substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61, and Katherine Koonce, 60, the school’s headmaster, were also killed.
Evelyn reportedly was killed trying to help other students escape the school.
Police reviewed Hale’s writings and determined that the attack was “calculated and planned” based on what they found.
They also found that Hale was being treated for an emotional disorder but still managed to legally purchase seven guns. Hale then hid these at home.
Hale reportedly broken into the school through a side door and began firing on students and staff.
When police arrived at the school on the day of the shooting, Hale was positioned on an elevated floor and began firing at the arriving police from a large window.
Nashville police quickly entered the building and shot Hale , ultimately killing the shooter 14 minutes after they first entered the school. The response was captured in harrowing police body camera footage made available by the Nashville Police Department after the incident.
Police have still not determined a motive in the shooting. A local source told the New York Post that the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit was reviewing a manifesto left behind by Hale to search for a possible motive.
The Nashville attack is the deadliest school shooting since 21 people, including 19 children, were killed in Uvalde, Texas last May.