Yesterday (March 27), 28-year-old Audrey Hale opened fire at The Covenant School in Nashville, killing three children and three adults. When Hale arrived at the school to carry out the meticulously planned attack, she was toting three deadly weapons. According to police, they were just a few of the guns Hale legally purchased in the lead-up to the massacre.
“We’ve determined that [the killer] bought seven firearms from five different gun stores here legally. Three of those weapons were used yesterday during the horrific tragedy,” Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake said in a news conference held today (March 28), as reported by The Guardian.
“Law enforcement knew nothing about the treatment she was receiving, but her parents felt she should not own weapons,” he added. “They were under the impression that she sold one weapon and did not own any more. As it turned out, she had been hiding several weapons within the house.” Prior to the shooting, Hale was receiving treatment for an emotional disorder.
Police say they discovered “several different writings” that Hale composed before carrying out the attack. Per Nashville’s NewsChannel 5, one former middle school basketball teammate shared troubling messages Hale sent her just a few minutes before the police were first notified that a shooting was happening. “One day this will make more sense,” Hale wrote at 9:57 a.m. “I’ve left behind more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen.” School surveillance video showed a time stamp of just before 10:11 a.m. when she began spraying gunfire through the school’s doors. Police say they got a call about a shooter at 10:13 a.m., and according to Drake, officers engaged the suspect at approximately 10:24 a.m.
After the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in May 2022, local law enforcement officials were criticized for waiting over an hour before engaging with and killing the shooter there. When Drake reflected on his officers’ response at The Covenant School, he acknowledged that they always strive to respond as quickly as possible. “We feel [that] our response right now, from what I’ve seen, I don’t have a particular problem with it. But we always want to get better,” he said. “We always want to get there in two or three minutes.”
President Biden has called on Congress to pass stricter gun restrictions, including an assault weapons ban, in the wake of this latest mass shooting. Hale used two assault-style guns and a pistol before being killed by two police officers.
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