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Five Killed in Nashville School Shooting


A memorial set up after the shooting. (Photo: Desiree Rios/The New York Times)

On Monday, March 27, 28-year-old Audrey Hale killed six people at the Christian Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee.

The attack started at 10:13 a.m. when Hale shot through the locked glass doors to gain access to the school.

Within only 14 minutes the shooter fired 152 rounds, both using a rifle and a handgun. There were six victims of the attack, three of them being only nine years old: Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney. Along with those children, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61, custodian Mike Hill, 61, and the head of the school Katherine Koonce, 60, were all fatally shot.

Fourteen minutes after the police were called, the shooter was taken down. Body cam footage from Officer Rex Engelbert was released that shows the responding team neutralizing the shooter. Police are still investigating the motive behind the attack.

The shooter entered with three firearms, one of those firearms being an AR-15, which has high-capacity magazines, meaning the user can fire many bullets without having to reload as frequently. Semi-automatic rifles have been the heart of many gun law debates, deciding whether or not they should be banned nationwide.

Hale lived at home with their parents who had no knowledge of the guns being stored in their house. Before the attack, Hale purchased seven firearms from five local stores between the years 2020 and 2022, although their parents said they were only aware of one gun which they thought was sold. During this time, the shooter was under a doctor’s care for an undisclosed emotional disorder. According to Police Chief John Drake, “Her parents felt like that she should not own weapons.”

Tennesse is a state that has no “red flag” laws, which according to the University of California means, “A tool law enforcement and others can use when somebody is clearly at high risk of doing something with a firearm, but they can't be arrested because no crime has been committed and they don't appear to need a mental health hold or qualify for one.” In Tennessee, anyone can legally carry a firearm without ever having to get a background check. These are the laws that are being continuously protested in light of the fact that firearms are now the leading cause of death among children and teenagers.

Although their parents were unaware of the guns in the house, Hale still managed to take gun training classes at local gun ranges. According to WSMV, a woman had captured a picture of Audrey Hale a year ago training at a gun range. She explains the reason for taking the picture was because she, “got such a bad feeling from the woman in the hat that she stepped out of the room and snapped the photograph.”

Along with taking gun training courses, Hale studied other mass murderers. There were multiple journals found in Hale’s car and home that had notes of firearm courses and school shootings. The assailant took a lot of time crafting their murder. According to the books and folders found, the Covenant School was only one of many places Hale had intended to target.

The shooting is one of 185 in the nation this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

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