NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Authorities have released three calls made to 911 during the shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville on Monday, March 27. The calls are hard to listen to, especially knowing how the events unfolded throughout the day.
One call came from a man on his cellphone, along with another person, telling the dispatcher what he saw during the shooting.
Call 1: “[The shooter] came in between where the sanctuary is and the overhead entrance, there’s a side door on the exit, you’ll see [they] shot the windows out to enter the school.”
Surveillance footage released Monday night captured the shooter — later identified as 28-year-old Audrey Hale — shooting their way through the school doors.
Call 1: “All I saw was [the suspect] holding an assault rifle, shooting through the door. [They’re] currently in the second-grade hallway upstairs.”
Later, the dispatcher asked the callers about their location.
911: “Where are you guys?”
Call 1: “We are outside. We are walking toward Burton Hills. We have a group of about six preschoolers. We are out of the building.”
911: “How many students would you say are in there, probably, approximately?”
Call 1: “200.”
The second call released came from a staff member hiding in an art room closet on the second floor with students.
911: “Are you in a safe spot right now?”
Call 2: “I think so.”
Loud booms can eventually be heard in the background of the call, believed to be gunshots in the nearby hallway.
Call 2: “I hear another shot.”
911: “You did?”
Call 2: “I’m hearing more shots.”
At one point you can hear her remind the children to be quiet as she tells the operator gunshots are getting closer.
The third call released also came from someone on the second floor.
911: “Where exactly are you in the building?”
Call 3: “I’m on the second floor in a room. I think the shooter is on the second floor.”
According to police, officers entered the school building and ran toward the sound of gunfire. Two officers met Hale on the second floor and fatally shot them.
The Metro Nashville Police Department identified the six victims as Evelyn Dieckhaus (9), Hallie Scruggs (9), William Kinney (9), Cynthia Peak (61), Dr. Katherine Koonce (60) and Mike Hill (61).
Each of the six victims is said to have died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to Davidson County Medical Examiner Feng Li who performed the autopsies on March 28.
Chief John Drake of the MNPD said by the time he arrived on scene, the three children had already been transported to the hospital. However, he found the other victims spread out in different places throughout the building.
Koonce was found in a hallway and Drake said it’s possible she may have run toward Hale, but couldn’t say for sure. Hill was believed to have been killed when Hale shot their way through the side door, having been hit by the bullets and shattered glass, according to police.
Police said Hale was armed with two assault-style rifles and one handgun.
At a press briefing Tuesday afternoon, Drake said there is no information to indicate Hale was specifically targeting any one of the six victims, but rather that the location itself appeared to be the target.
Police said investigators tracked down Hale’s address and searched their home on Brightwood Avenue in the Belmont-Hillsboro neighborhood where they reportedly found detailed maps drawn of the school, including surveillance and entry points, as well as a manifesto.
Drake said Hale legally bought seven firearms from five different gun stores in the area. Three of those guns were used in Monday’s shooting and investigators believe Hale hid several weapons in the home they shared with their parents.
Police said Hale was also under doctor’s care for an “emotional disorder” and their parents assumed they only owned one gun and that Hale had sold it.
The chief added there are no laws in place that would have prevented Hale from having weapons, even with certain mental health issues.
Police also searched Hale’s vehicle which was left in the school parking lot and found “additional material written by Hale.”
Hale attended The Covenant School at one time and had no criminal history, according to police.
Metro police said the shooting began at 10:13 a.m. as Hale drove their Honda Fit to the school and shot their way through a side door of the school, before making their way to the second floor, firing multiple shots.
The surveillance footage shows Hale, holding an assault-style rifle, traversing through the school and looking into multiple rooms around 10:20 a.m.
On Tuesday, Metro Police released body-worn camera video from the two officers that met Hale on the second floor and fatally shot them. Those officers have since been identified as Officer Rex Englebert, a four-year MNPD veteran, and Officer Michael Collazo, a nine-year MNPD veteran.
According to police, both Englebert and Collazo are trying to decompress and make sense of the whole situation. Drake said he also spoke with President Joe Biden, while The White House said the president also reached out to Englebert and Collazo, thanking them for their bravery and quick response to the shooting.
Photos released by police show a bullet hole in a squad car windshield, the school’s side doors completely shot out, and windows shot out from the second story of the school. Police said Hale fired shots from the second floor at arriving officers.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee took to YouTube Tuesday evening to address the mass shooting.
In his address, Lee mourned the loss of the six victims, saying, “some parents woke up without children, children woke up without parents and without teachers, and spouses woke up without their loved ones.”
The governor also mentioned how two of the victims were “family friends for decades.”