Nashville Shooter Identified, Had Maps and a ‘Manifesto’, Police Say

Police said three children, aged 9, as well as three adults, were killed in the attack on a private Christian school.
School buses with children arrive at Woodmont Baptist Church to be reunited with their families after a mass shooting at The Covenant School on March 27, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.
School buses with children arrive at Woodmont Baptist Church to be reunited with their families after a mass shooting at The Covenant School on March 27, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Seth Herald/Getty Images)

A 28-year-old shooter conducted surveillance of Nashville’s Covenant School in Nashville—where they were once a student—drew detailed maps of its layout, identified entry points, and penned a manifesto. Then, on Monday morning, they shot their way into the school, went up to the second floor and opened fire, killing three nine-year-olds, and three school employees. 

In a press conference Monday evening, Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake offered chilling details about the alleged shooter, who was killed by responding police 15 minutes after opening fire. 


Drake says Audrey Hale was heavily armed, with an AR-style rifle, AR-style pistol, and a handgun, noting that at least two of those weapons had been obtained legally in the Nashville area. 

The shooter attended the Covenant School, a private Christian school, but Drake wasn’t sure for how long or during which years. 

Police have identified the victims of the massacre: Evelyn Diekhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney—all nine-years-old—were killed. The adult victims were school employees Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60,  and Mike Hill, 61. There were no other gunshot victims. 

At 10:13 a.m, police were alerted to an active shooter inside the Covenant School at the Covenant Presbyterian Church. When they arrived at the scene, they heard shots coming from the second level of the school, police spokesperson Don Aaron told reporters earlier on Monday. 

Police say they “immediately went to the gunfire” and encountered the shooter on the second story of the school who was firing. Two officers from the five-member responding team engaged the shooter, who was declared dead at 10:27 a.m.

Drake said that investigators are exploring a potential motive, but it’s too early to discuss it publicly yet. They declined to offer additional details about the manifesto, or other writings that appeared linked to Monday’s attack. 

Drake said the shooter identified as transgender. Numerous hard-right personalities and far-right trolls have already weaponized this detail as part of their ongoing attack on the transgender community.


Drake said earlier that he was “moved to tears” by the killings, and by watching the other school children being ushered out of the building to safety. 

“I hoped that we would never have this situation, but if we ever did, I hoped we would not wait, we would immediately go in, and we would immediately engage the person perpetrating this horrible crime,” said Drake. He added that the shooting could have been “far, far worse.” 

He said that officials will review surveillance footage as part of their investigation into the shooting. 

President Joe Biden addressed the shooting on Monday, calling it “heartbreaking.”

“We have to do more to stop gun violence, it’s ripping our communities apart, it’s ripping the soul of this nation,” said Biden, and called on Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons.