Cops: Nashville Shooter Was Being Treated for 'Emotional Disorder'

Audrey Hale legally owned 7 guns, chief says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2023 4:17 PM CDT
Cops: Nashville Shooter Legally Bought 7 Guns
This image provided by Metropolitan Nashville Police Department shows bodycam footage of police responding to an active shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday, March 27, 2023.   (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department via AP)

The perpetrator of the mass shooting at a Christian school in Nashville Monday legally bought seven firearms, though Audrey Hale's parents were not aware the weapons were still in their home, police said at a briefing Tuesday. Metro Nashville Police Department chief John Drake said Hale was "under doctor care for an emotional disorder" and their parents believed they should not have owned weapons, the Tennessean reports. Drake said Hale bought the weapons at five local gun shops and stashed them around the house. Three of them were used in Monday's shooting, the chief said. Three children, all of them nine years old, and three staff members were killed in the shooting at the Covenant School.

Drake said the shooter's parents saw them leave the house with a red bag Monday morning, NBC reports. "They asked her what was in the red bag and I think she just dismissed it because it was a motherly thing," the chief said of the shooter's mother. "And didn't look in the bag because at the time she didn't know that her daughter had any weapons and didn't think any differently." Police say Hale told a friend that morning that "something bad" was going to happen. Drake said at Tuesday's briefing that police would have tried to "get those weapons" if they had known Hale was homicidal or suicidal, "but as it stands, we had absolutely no idea, actually who this person was, if she even existed."

Drake said the 28-year-old Hale was a former Covenant School student and had "some resentment for having to go to that school." Drake referred to Hale with female pronouns, the AP reports. A police spokesperson said earlier Tuesday that the shooter "was assigned female at birth. Hale did use male pronouns on a social media profile."

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The chief praised officers seen in disturbing police bodycam footage released Tuesday, the Guardian reports. The footage shows officers moving through the school and searching rooms before finding and confronting Hale, who was shot by Officers Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo. The officers "heard gunfire, immediately ran to that, and took care of this horrible situation," Drake said. (More Nashville school shooting stories.)

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