Nashville reporter says mother-in-law worked at school where six people were killed

School staff member ‘was outside of the school and she heard gunshots, she had just gotten back from her break,’ reporter says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 28 March 2023 01:52 BST
TV anchor reveals receptionist mother-in-law was on break when school shooting started

A Nashville reporter has described how her mother-in-law was working at The Covenant School when a shooter opened fire, killing three adults and three children.

Hannah McDonald of NewsChannel 5 Nashville said during a broadcast that her mother-in-law “was outside of the school and she heard gunshots, she had just gotten back from her break”.

She said that her mother-in-law worked at the front desk at the school.

Alex Apple, the husband of Ms McDonald, tweeted that his mother had been at the school when the shooting took place.

“This one hits close to home,” he said. “My mom has worked at The Covenant School for nearly two decades. Even my prayers feel inadequate right now.”

“She is the one that sits at the front desk,” Ms McDonald added. “The front door is actually on the side of the building and that’s where she sits”.

“She was at the school this morning,” the reporter said, adding that she “was able to come out of this safe. She actually stepped away to take a break.”

The shooting took place around 10am, but Ms McDonald said her mother-in-law had been there since earlier in the day.

“She starts her day earlier, this is an elementary school, people are there at 7am to greet these children. She got back and she heard gunshots,” she said on the air.

She noted that she had covered the school’s active shooter training just over a year previously.

“It is a strange situation to be in right now,” she said. “I cannot believe that this school, a year ago, did that training. I was there, and here they are now, about thirteen months later, putting this into practice.”

Shortly before 2pm on Monday, Ms McDonald tweeted: “7 people dead. 3 kids. 3 adults. 1 shooter: a 28-yo female shooter. My mother in law sits at the front desk. She is safe. Heaven was watching Diana this morning.”

The suspect in the Nashville school shooting is a 28-year-old from the city, police have said. He’s reported to have been a former student at the school.

Audrey Hale is said to have used two assault-type rifles and a handgun. The suspect died after being engaged by police.

Three adults and three children were killed in the shooting.

Only one officer was injured, from cut glass. Two officers from a team of five engaged the suspect and shot her, police said.

Police were called to the scene at 10.13am local time and the suspect was shot and killed 14 minutes later, at 10.27am.

Mr Aaron told the press that police were going through the first floor when they heard gunshots from upstairs.

“They immediately went to the gunfire,” Mr Aaron told the press, adding that the suspect entered the school via a side entrance and went to the second floor, “firing multiple shots”.

The confrontation between officers and the suspect then took place on the second floor in a “lobby-type area”.

The shooting took place at The Covenant School; the Presbyterian institution has around 200 students from preschool to sixth grade.

President Joe Biden said on Monday that “I want to commend the police who” responded “swiftly within minutes … We’re monitoring the situation really closely … and we have to do more to stop gun violence. It’s ripping our communities apart … and we have to do more to protect our schools so they aren’t turned into prisons”.

“So I call on Congress again to pass my assault weapons ban. It’s about time that we began to make some more progress,” he added.

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