NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Three children, three adults, and the female suspect were killed in a shooting at a school in the Nashville neighborhood of Green Hills on Monday morning. Nexstar’s WKRN reports the shooter shot her way into the campus.
The Nashville Fire Department said the shooting happened at The Covenant School, a private Christian school with an enrollment of about 200 students from preschool to sixth grade. It was initially reported as an “active shooter” incident at 10:13 a.m., Nashville police spokesperson Don Aaron said.
When police entered the school’s first story, they heard gunshots coming from the second floor, Aaron said. They immediately “went to the gunfire,” he said, where they found a woman armed with two assault rifles and a handgun who was firing.
Three children and three adults were shot and killed, police confirmed in a press conference. The three adult victims were staff members.
Metro Nashville Police confirmed all three children were either 8 or 9 years old, identifying them as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney. Authorities also identified the staff members as Mike Hill and Cynthia Peak, both 61 years old, and Dr. Katherine Koonce, 60.
Nashville police reported that officers shot and killed the suspect. Aaron initially said the shooter appeared to be “in her teens,” but police later confirmed she was 28-year-old Audrey Hale from Nashville. Investigators say Hale was a former student of the school who identified as transgender.
One police officer sustained a hand injury from broken glass. There were no additional injuries.
During a Monday evening press conference, Drake said authorities are still working to determine a motive but that detailed maps with information on surveillance and entrances were found after the shooting.
“We know and believe that entry was gained through shooting through one of the doors,” Drake said.
A manifesto and writings believed to be related to the shooting are also being reviewed. Authorities have spoken with Hale’s father.
The Covenant School was founded as a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church in 2001, according to the school’s website. The school is located in the affluent Green Hill neighborhood just south of downtown Nashville, situated close to the city’s top universities and home to the famed Bluebird Café – a beloved spot for musicians and songwriters.
The grade school has 33 teachers, the website said. The school’s website features the motto “Shepherding Hearts, Empowering Minds, Celebrating Childhood.”
The killings come as communities around the nation are reeling from a spate of school violence, including the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, last year; a first grader who shot his teacher in Virginia; and a shooting last week in Denver that wounded two administrators.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.