Minutes Before Entering School, Shooter Issued a Warning

'Something bad is about to happen,' Audrey Hale told friend
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2023 6:58 AM CDT
Minutes Before Entering School, Shooter Issued a Warning
A group of girls leave after a prayer vigil at Woodmont Christian Church for victims of a mass shooting at Covenant School on Monday, March 27, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.   (Mark Zaleski/The Tennessean via AP)

At 9:57am Monday, Audrey Hale sent several messages to a former middle school basketball teammate, announcing plans to die by suicide. "I don't want to live," the suspected Nashville school shooter wrote, reports WTVF. "Something bad is about to happen," Hale continued. "You'll probably hear about me on the news after I die." The recipient called police at 10:14am—one minute after the first call about the shooting at Covenant Presbyterian School came in, per CNN. Hale—whom police describe as "a biological woman" who used male pronouns—had parked a vehicle in the school's lot before shooting out the glass in the locked front doors, as seen in CCTV footage.

Police say the shooter, who killed three 9-year-olds and three adults, carried an AR-style rifle, an AR-style pistol, and a handgun, which had been personalized. Photos show the firearms decorated with stickers. One bears the name Aiden, which Hale had used on social media, reports the Daily Beast. Wearing a black protective vest, a white T-shirt, camouflage pants, and a red baseball cap, Hale wandered the deserted ground-floor corridors of the school before reaching the second floor, say police. From there, Hale fired at responding officers, striking the windshield of a police car. Officers Rex Englebert and Michael Collazo shot Hale dead in that same location at 10:27am, police say, per CNN.

A search of Hale's vehicle and home revealed what police called a "manifesto," a detailed map of the school, a sawed-off shotgun, and a second shotgun, per the BBC. A former student of Covenant, Hale may have been motivated by "some resentment ... for having to go to that school," Nashville Police Chief John Drake said, per the Guardian. He said Hale—who graduated from Nashville's Nossi College of Art & Design last year—had also scouted a second possible shooting site but determined there was "too much security," per CNN. "It could have been far, far worse," Drake said. The attack was the nation's 129th mass shooting of 2023, according to Gun Violence Archive, and the 19th at a school or university, per CNN. (More Nashville school shooting stories.)

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