‘Quiet’ Ex-Student in Nashville Massacre Had a ‘Manifesto’ (2023)

The suspect accused of storming a private Christian school in Nashville on Monday morning, killing three kids and three adults, has been identified as a “quiet” 28-year-old former art student who may have been fueled by “resentment” towards their former school.

The Nashville Metro Police Department identified the suspect as Audrey Elizabeth Hale, who was shot dead by cops just 14 minutes after The Covenant School called police to report an active shooter. The victims were identified as students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all aged 9, as well as head of school Katherine Koonce, 60, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61, and school custodian Mike Hill, 61.

A source close to the Hale family told The Daily Beast on Monday night that Hale was autistic “but high-functioning.”

“And relatively recently announced she was transgender, identifying as he/him,” the source said, asking to remain unnamed so as to avoid additional family strife.

‘Quiet’ Ex-Student in Nashville Massacre Had a ‘Manifesto’ (1)

(Video) BREAKING: Nashville shooter identified as transgender, was former student: police

Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

While police initially described the suspect as a 28-year-old white woman, a LinkedIn profile, which the source confirmed to The Daily Beast as belonging to Hale, listed he/him pronouns. Nashville Police Chief John Drake said at a press conference Monday afternoon that Hale was transgender.

A search of Hale’s home turned up “maps drawn of the school, in detail, so, surveillance, entry points, et cetera,” Drake said, as well as a “manifesto” and “some writings that pertain to this date, the actual incident... of how this was all going to take place.” Inside a Honda Fit that Hale drove and parked at the church-based school’s campus Friday morning, cops found “additional material written by Hale,” police said in a tweet.

    Speaking to NBC News, Drake suggested that “resentment for having to go to that school” may have been a factor in the attack. While he did not elaborate on the possible motive, he said Hale “targeted random students... Whoever she came in contact with, she fired rounds.”

    Covenant, which has about 200 students in preschool to sixth grade, was the only school that was targeted, he said. A second location was mentioned but later abandoned “because of a threat assessment by the suspect, too much security.”

    Minutes before the shooting, Hale sent a series of dark Instagram messages to a friend, who shared them with WTVF. “You’ll probably hear about me on the news after I die,” read one message sent to Averianna Patton, a former middle school basketball teammate of Hale’s. “This is my last goodbye. I love you. See you again in another life.”

    Hale arrived at the school armed with an AR-style rifle, an AR-style pistol, and a handgun—and used the guns to shoot through a locked side entrance, Drake said. Two of the guns were “obtained legally, locally here,” he said. Photos and body-cam video from the scene showed Hale wearing camo print pants, a tactical-style vest, and wielding personalized guns, including one that had “Aiden” written on it, a name Hale used on some social media profiles.

      Reached by phone, Hale’s mother, Norma Fort Hale, who works at a nondenominational church in Nashville, told an ABC News reporter, “It’s very difficult now, we ask for privacy. I really can’t talk right now, I think I lost my daughter today.”

      (Video) Nashville school shooting suspect had manifesto, maps of building

      A LinkedIn profile says Audrey Hale started a freelance illustration and graphic design business last year after attending Nossi College of Art & Design in Madison, Tennessee.

      In a statement, the college confirmed Hale was a 2022 graduate but clarified Hale did not work for the college, as social media profiles suggested. “While at our school, she was a talented artist and a good student. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, to the victims and their families and to our city,” the school’s president and CEO Cyrus Vatandoost said.

      Richard Cook, who taught Hale at Nossi in the summer of 2015, told The Daily Beast that the graphic design student “would always do more work than asked” and never had any problems with other students.

      ‘Quiet’ Ex-Student in Nashville Massacre Had a ‘Manifesto’ (2)

      Nashville Metro Police

      Hale “was a good student,” Cook said. “[Hale] was an overachiever, from what I remember. If I asked her for 20 thumbnail drawings, [Hale] did 40.”

      Cook said that Hale was “on the spectrum” and that he had spoken with Norma Hale at least once during the summer session. At the end of the summer, Hale’s mother took to Facebook to post about her child’s time at Nossi—and even mentioned Cook.

      “So, Audrey wrote ‘thank you’ notes to all her professors at the end of her summer semester,” Norma Fort Hale wrote in an August 2015 post. “These were some of her words to Mr. Cook, who lost his son in a car accident almost a year ago. ‘Don’t ever let anything or anyone steal your joy. You have a reason and a purpose to be here.’ Amazing, Dre. I love you.”

      (Video) Nashville school shooting video released by police | LiveNOW from FOX

      Cook admitted on Tuesday that he did not remember the note, but wouldn’t have put it past Hale to write him one. He added that he did not immediately recognize Hale as his former student when news broke out Monday of the mass shooting, but said he ultimately remembered after speaking to several people.

      “It’s shocking,” Cook added. “But every school shooting is shocking.”

      ‘Quiet’ Ex-Student in Nashville Massacre Had a ‘Manifesto’ (3)


      Hours after the shooting, police searched a home just three miles away from the school. A neighbor, Sandy Durham, who is also a family friend of the Hales, said the ATF told her they were there “to see what was going on next door [at the Hale house].”

      “I do know Audrey, I’ve known her since she was a baby. I had just gotten out of the shower when all of this started happening. I didn’t really know anything more than that. Something was going on next door. It’s just tragic for everybody. The sweet children that were hurt, killed, the adults. All of it,” she told The Daily Beast.

      Asked if there were any warning signs about Hale, Durham responded, “Never. She was very sweet. I don’t know what happened. It’s very scary.”

      Another resident of the neighborhood, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Sean, said the Hales were “our neighbors for basically ever on that street. As long as I can really remember growing up as a kid.”

      (Video) 6 killed, including 3 children, in Nashville school shooting

      Hale was a “normal, nice person. Maybe a little quiet,” he said.

      “If I had to imagine, Audrey’s parents are probably just as shocked as everybody in the neighborhood is… It just doesn’t seem real,” he said. “There’s nothing that would have led me to believe that she was capable of such a thing or that she or anybody in that family would have access to, much less ever used, a gun. They just don’t seem like the family that, like, is around guns. They’re not talking about going to a gun range or they’re not going hunting.”

      He said that, growing up, his family had a basketball hoop in their driveway and Hale would come over and shoot hoops.

        Another neighbor told The Daily Beast they heard a “huge boom” as police entered the family’s home.

        “My son and I were having lunch around 1 o’clock, and we heard a huge boom that shook our house, and had no idea what it was,” said Abigail Ashford-Grooms, who said she lives several doors down. “And when we peeked out the door, there were undercover police cars and ambulances and fire trucks blocking the street. And then we noticed all of our neighbors start to creep out at the same time.”

        Hale entered Covenant, a school of about 200 preschool to sixth-grade students, through a side entrance just after 10 a.m. Monday, police said. Hale fired multiple shots while moving from the first floor to the second, before a team of five Nashville cops arrived on scene and almost immediately confronted the shooter on the second floor. Police released dramatic bodycam footage of the confrontation on Tuesday morning.


        1. Nashville school shooting: Victims identified, suspect left 'manifesto'
        (10 Tampa Bay)
        2. Deadly Nashville School Shooting Leaves 6 Innocent Victims Dead — Everything We Know So Far
        (Law&Crime Network)
        3. Nashville school shooting: Police provide update on shooter, victims | LiveNOW from FOX
        (LiveNOW from FOX)
        4. 6 Nashville school shooting victims identified | Special Report
        (CBS News)
        5. WATCH: Nashville school shooting police press conference [FULL]
        6. 3 students killed in Nashville school shooting
        (CBS Boston)


        Top Articles
        Latest Posts
        Article information

        Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

        Last Updated: 07/12/2023

        Views: 5512

        Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

        Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

        Author information

        Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

        Birthday: 1999-05-27

        Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

        Phone: +2585395768220

        Job: Lead Liaison

        Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

        Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.