IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.
Last updated

Six killed, including three children, in Tennessee school shooting

A 28-year-old Nashville resident had maps of The Covenant School, a private Christian school, and was heavily armed.

Coverage on this live blog has ended.

What to know about the shooting at The Covenant School:

72d ago / 10:48 AM UTC
72d ago / 10:17 AM UTC

Several vigils held in Nashville after shooting

Several vigils took place across Nashville on Monday night, with community members coming together to grieve after the deadly shooting at The Covenant School.

The Belonging Co Church held a public prayer for its community, with Lead Pastor Henry Seeley saying some of the families who attend the church also send their children to the school, NBC affiliate WSMV, which is based in Nashville, reported.

“It’s challenging honestly. There’s been a lot of tears today,” Seeley said, according to the outlet. “The Bible says to mourn with those who mourn and to weep with those who weep and that is why we wanted to come together tonight.”

Community members also gathered at the Cathedral of the Incarnation Monday night.

“People came to mass today full of heart and pain and grief and all throughout mass I saw tears of various parishioners who gathered. And they just need to come together and be with another, " Bishop J. Mark Spalding said, according to WSMV.

72d ago / 9:20 AM UTC

Shooter was 2022 graduate of art and design school

The Nossi College of Art & Design has said the shooter was a 2022 graduate of the school, which is based in Nashville.

Audrey Hale "was a talented artist and a good student" while at the college, the school said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, to the victims and their families and to our city," it said.

The school added that due to federal guidelines followed by the institution, it could not disclose further personal information.

72d ago / 4:59 AM UTC

At suspected shooter's home, more guns

A search of the Nashville school shooting suspect's residence Monday turned up more firepower, police said in an evening statement.

Officers armed with a search warrant scoured the residence on Brightwood Avenue in Belmont-Hillsboro, a neighborhood of seven-figure, early 20th-century homes, blocking off residential streets and using explosive devices to gain entry.

Nashville police said investigators found two more firearms, described as shotguns, at the residence. At least one of those was described by police as a "sawed-off shotgun," some of which can be illegal, depending on the exact measurements and whether the owner has filed federal paperwork.

Other unspecified evidence was seized, police said in the statement. "Writings recovered from Hale revealed that [the] attack was calculated and planned," the department said.

Earlier, police said the suspect, Audrey Hale, 28, had a map of The Covenant School, where the former student allegedly killed six, including three 9-year-old students, while walking through the building and opening fire with at least one of three guns.

The map, Nashville Police Chief John Drake said, appeared to include information on entry and exit points.

Two responding officers found the suspect on the school's second floor, shooting at other law enforcement personnel arriving to the scene, police said. The two officers opened fire, killing the alleged attacker, police said.

Police tweeted a photo of the weapons the suspect allegedly had during the attack, including two semiautomatic black rifles and a 9 mm handgun.

72d ago / 4:47 AM UTC

Police release security video of shooting

Video released Monday by Nashville police appears to show the shooter enter and walk through the hallways of The Covenant School with a raised rifle.

In edited security video captured inside and outside the school, the suspect, identified by police as Audrey Hale, 28, can be seen driving a Honda Fit through the campus’ parking lot shortly before 10 a.m., the Nashville police said in a statement accompanying the video’s release.

At 10:10 a.m., a set of doors is seen shattering, and Hale climbs through broken glass. Hale is wearing a vest, camouflage pants and red a baseball cap turned backwards. A rifle is slung over one shoulder. Hale enters different rooms and walks past a children’s ministry door with a second rifle raised.

The video is a little over 2 minutes and has no audio. Police Chief John Drake said the department will also release body camera video from officers who encountered Hale.

72d ago / 2:52 AM UTC

'Terror shattered our school and church,' The Covenant School says

The Covenant School, the private Christian institution where a shooter killed three children and three adults Monday morning, said it was in shock.

In a statement Monday night to NBC affiliate WSMV of Nashville, the school said:

"Our community is heartbroken. We are grieving tremendous loss and are in shock coming out of the terror that shattered our school and church. We are focused on loving our students, our families, our faculty and staff and beginning the process of healing.

"Law enforcement is conducting its investigation, and while we understand there is a lot of interest and there will be a lot of discussion about and speculation surrounding what happened, we will continue to prioritize the well-being of our community.

"We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received, and we are tremendously grateful to the first responders who acted quickly to protect our students, faculty and staff.

"We ask for privacy as our community grapples with this terrible tragedy — for our students, parents, faculty and staff."

72d ago / 1:48 AM UTC

Mayor says officer video, security camera video to be released

Nashville Mayor John Cooper said video from officers' body cameras, as well as from The Covenant School's security cameras, could be released to the public as soon as Monday night.

"I suspect either tonight or tomorrow they’ll be releasing bodycam footage and maybe some footage from the school as they’re trying to establish the timeline," Cooper said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

He called Monday the city's "worst day."

"We’re a resilient city, but it's a shock to have to add our name to places where there have been mass killings of children," Cooper said.

72d ago / 1:38 AM UTC

Suspect shot at police from 2nd-story window, authorities say

The person suspected of killing three students and three staff members at a Tennessee Christian school Monday opened fire on police when they arrived at the building.

Pictures posted by Nashville police showed what appeared to be a police cruiser with a windshield that had been shattered by a bullet.

The suspect, Audrey Hale, 28, fired at authorities from a second-story window at The Covenant School, the police department said.

A team of five officers entered campus at 10:13 a.m. and cleared the area, police officials said earlier Monday. By 10:27 a.m. the team had taken “the threat down,” Police Chief John Drake said.

72d ago / 12:53 AM UTC

Biden speaks with Nashville mayor, orders flags to be flown at half-staff


President Joe Biden tonight spoke by phone with Nashville Mayor John Cooper, a source familiar with the call said.

Biden also ordered that U.S. flags be flown at half-staff at the White House, public buildings, military posts and naval stations, as well as at a variety of U.S. facilities abroad, until sunset Friday.

In the proclamation, Biden said it was "a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence" in Nashville.

The White House later said that Biden also spoke with Gov. Bill Lee about the shooting.

72d ago / 12:53 AM UTC

Conflicting information about shooter’s gender identity


As details about the suspect in Monday’s school shooting emerged, there was conflicting information about the assailant’s gender identity.

Nashville police said the accused Covenant School shooter was a transgender person.

Chief John Drake said officials “feel that she identifies as trans, but we’re still in the initial investigation into all of that and if it actually played a role into this incident.” 

Audrey Hale’s LinkedIn page, which indicates activity roughly a month ago and includes a job history updated 10 months ago, uses “he/him” pronouns.

Bill Campbell, a headmaster of The Covenant School from 2004 to 2008, said he remembers Hale as third-grader at the school in 2005 and a fourth-grader in 2006.

“I’ve looked back in my annuals, and I do remember her as a former student,” Campbell said. “She was just one of our young ladies.”

Hale is not included in Campbell’s yearbooks after that, Campbell said, and he believes the student may have transferred to another institution.

72d ago / 12:35 AM UTC

Victim identified as 61-year-old custodian

Authorities in Tennessee identified one of the victims killed in Monday’s school shooting as Mike Hill, a 61-year-old custodian.

Michael Hill.
Mike Hill.via Facebook

A woman who identified herself as Hill’s niece on Facebook said her uncle, father and brother all work at The Covenant School in Nashville.

“I’m just in shock and disbelief …. my heart is broken I do not understand why someone would shoot up a school with precious babies inside,” the person wrote. 

“My uncle lost his life in this shooting today! My moms brother Lord help me and my family please pray for all my cousins,” the post says.

The person did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

Hill’s Facebook pages say he’s from Cleveland.

73d ago / 12:15 AM UTC

Tenn. lawmaker on Nashville shooting: 'Criminals are going to be criminals'


Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., told reporters that no laws — existing or proposed — could have stopped Monday’s school shooting in Nashville.

“It’s a horrible, horrible situation, and we’re not going to fix it,” Burchett said. “Criminals are going to be criminals. And my dad, he fought in the Second World War in the Pacific against the Japanese, and he said, ‘Buddy, if somebody wants to take you out and doesn’t mind losing their life, there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it.’”

Burchett went on to say, “I don’t see any real role that [Congress] can do other than mess things up. … I don’t think you’re gonna stop the gun violence. I think you’ve got to change people’s hearts.”

Asked why people should be allowed to have AR-15-style weapons, Burchett replied: “I think it’s the freedom aspect. It’s the same way why [President Joe Biden] has a Corvette that can do over 55 miles an hour. Why does he need to travel 100? … It’s just a freedom aspect.”

GOP Rep. Andy Ogles, whose Nashville district includes the school, said he’s watching the situation closely.

“At a time like this, I just encourage everyone to pray for the families and those affected,” Ogles said.

73d ago / 12:12 AM UTC
73d ago / 11:29 PM UTC

A sense of 'resentment' might have fueled deadly attack

Nashville police said a sense of "resentment" might have played a role in a 28-year-old's deadly attack on a former school.

"There's some belief that there was some resentment for having to go to that school," Police Chief John Drake told Lester Holt of NBC News. "Don't have all the details to that just yet and that's why this incident occurred."

While Hale might have targeted The Covenant School, Drake stopped short of saying the shooter was going after any specific people.

"She targeted random students in the school. ... Whoever she came in contact with, she fired rounds," Drake said.

73d ago / 11:15 PM UTC

14 minutes after 911 call, shooter was dead, officials say

Officials in Tennessee praised the quick response time of police officers to a report of a school shooter Monday morning, saying it took 14 minutes from the time someone dialed 911 until the suspect was dead.

After the 911 call at 10:13 a.m., officers entered the first floor of The Covenant School, part of Covenant Presbyterian Church 9 miles southwest of Nashville, and began clearing it, Don Aaron, a Nashville police spokesman, told reporters.

A five-member team heard shots from the second floor and “immediately went to the gunfire,” he said. They found a person armed with two “assault-type rifles” and a handgun, Aaron said.

By 10:27, the shooter was dead, Aaron said.

“Let us praise our first responders,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said at a news conference. “14 minutes, I believe, under fire, running to gunfire.”

Police Chief John Drake said authorities plan to release video showing the officers' response.

73d ago / 9:52 PM UTC

Suspect had maps of school and shot through door to get in

The suspect in Monday's deadly school shooting was a former student who had maps of The Covenant School, Nashville Police Chief John Drake said.

Audrey Hale, 28, who police said was a transgender person, had conducted surveillance and prepared for the attack with detailed maps, officials said. Police said the shooter had a manifesto, the contents of which were not released.

Hale had attended the school as a child; police did not detail which grades.

Hale shot through a door to gain access to the school, Drake said.

The shooter, Drake said, was “prepared for a confrontation with law enforcement” and “prepared to do more harm."

The shooter was armed with two semi-automatic AR-15-style rifles, as well as a handgun. At least two of the three guns had been purchased lawfully, Drake said.

73d ago / 9:46 PM UTC

Covenant School serves students from preschool through sixth grade

The Tennessee Christian school where a mass shooting Monday left six people dead, including three children, serves students from preschool through sixth grade.

On a typical day, roughly 209 students attend The Covenant School, a Nashville police spokesman said.

The school, which is 9 miles southwest of downtown Nashville, was founded in 2001 as a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church, according to the school’s website.

The school has 33 teachers, giving it an 8-to-1 teacher-student ratio. The top administrator, Katherine Koonce, was among those killed.

73d ago / 9:07 PM UTC

Head of The Covenant School among the 6 victims

Dr. Katherine Koonce.
Dr. Katherine Koonce.via Facebook

The leader of the school where a woman opened fire and fatally shot six people was among those killed Monday, according to a list of victims released by police.

Katherine Koonce, 60, is listed on The Covenant School's website as "head of school."

Three 9-year-old students were killed: Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, according to police. The other adult victims were Cynthia Peak and Mike Hill, both 61.

73d ago / 8:41 PM UTC

Suspected shooter identified

The suspected Nashville Christian school shooter is Audrey Hale, 28, a resident of Nashville, three law enforcement officials briefed on the matter said.

Authorities said the shooter killed three children and three adults at the private school Monday morning and was killed by responding police officers.

Hale's background was not immediately known and investigators are investigating a possible motive.

73d ago / 8:29 PM UTC

Graphic: Female school shooters since Sandy Hook


Of the 57 shootings that fit NBC News’ school shooting criteria since January 2013, six have involved a female shooter.

According to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, Monday's shooter carried two assault-style rifles and a handgun. Of the previous five school shootings with a female shooter, handguns were the primary weapon in four. The gun was not known in the other.

73d ago / 7:28 PM UTC

Vehicle found by school gave police clues to shooter's identity

A vehicle found near The Covenant School gave police clues as to who the shooter was, according to Metro Nashville Chief of Police John Drake.

"But as stated, that investigation is still ongoing," Drake said, not elaborating further.

Police have not identified the shooter or the victims in Monday's shooting yet.

Police are also investigating how the shooter, a 28-year-old white woman, gained access to the school.

"There was a door that was entered. All doors were locked, to our understanding, and how exactly she got in, at this point, is still under investigation," Drake said.

The school did have a school shooter protocol, according to Drake.

73d ago / 7:10 PM UTC

Shooter appears to have been a former student, police say

The 28-year-old shooter who killed three students and three adults at The Covenant School in Nashville appears to have been a former student there, police said.

"At one point she was a student at that school, but unsure what year," Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake said.

The chief said the families of all six victims had been notified but didn't share any identifying information.

"Right now I will refrain from saying the ages, other than to say I was literally moved to tears to see this and the kids as they were being ushered out of the building,” Drake said.

73d ago / 7:00 PM UTC

Attorney general briefed on Nashville shooting

Attorney General Merrick Garland has been briefed on the shooting, a spokesperson said. The FBI and ATF are on the scene to assist local law enforcement.

73d ago / 6:56 PM UTC

Biden calls shooting 'a family's worst nightmare,' says gun violence is 'ripping the soul of this nation'

In response to the Nashville shooting, President Joe Biden said Monday that it's "heartbreaking, a family's worst nightmare."

At a White House event hosting a summit for women-owned small businesses, Biden commended the local police, who he said responded "incredibly swiftly, within minutes, to end the danger."

"We have to do more to stop gun violence. It's ripping our communities apart, ripping the soul of this nation, ripping at the very soul of the nation," Biden said. "And we have to do more to protect our schools so they aren't turned into prisons."

Biden said that the shooter had two assault weapons and a pistol and said, "I call on Congress again to pass my assault weapons ban. It's about time that we begin to make some more progress."

73d ago / 6:27 PM UTC

Biden to address Nashville school shooting, reiterate call on Congress to take action, White House says

President Joe Biden is expected to address the Nashville Christian school shooting on Monday and to reiterate his call on Congress to take legislative action, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at the daily briefing.

Jean-Pierre called the shooting "devastating," "heartbreaking," and "unacceptable." She highlighted executive actions Biden has taken so far to address the gun violence epidemic and legislation he signed into law, but she said more must be done.

"How many more children have to be murdered before Republicans in Congress will step up and act to pass the assault weapons ban, to close loopholes in our background check system or to require the safe storage of guns?" she said.

Jean-Pierre continued, "Our children should be able to go to school feeling safe, feeling protected. People should be able to go to the grocery stores feeling safe."

73d ago / 6:25 PM UTC

Nashville school shooter was engaged in gunfire on the second floor

The Nashville school shooter, identified by officials as a 28-year-old woman, was engaged in gunfire by police on the second floor.

"Two MNPD officers who entered the building and went to the sounds of gunfire engaged the shooter on the second floor and fatally shot her," the Metro Nashville Police Department tweeted.

The shooter was deceased by 10:27 a.m., according to police spokesperson Don Aaron.

73d ago / 6:24 PM UTC

Female active shooters are rare in the U.S.


Female active shooters are rare in the U.S., according to data collected on the topic.

Approximately 17 active shootings have been carried out by women in the country since 1979, according to an NBC News tally. Seven of them, including Monday's shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, were school shootings.

Before Monday, the most recent active shooting conducted by a female was in May 2021, when a sixth grader in Idaho pulled a gun out of her backpack and shot two students and a custodian before a teacher took the gun away. 

73d ago / 6:11 PM UTC

Nashville school shooter was a 28-year-old woman, officials say

The shooter responsible for killing three students and three adults at The Covenant School is a 28-year-old Nashville woman, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. The shooter is also dead.

Officials previously said the shooter appeared to be a teenager.

73d ago / 5:54 PM UTC

Jill Biden: 'Our children deserve better'

At an event in Washington on Monday, first lady Jill Biden spoke about the shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville.

“While you’ve been in this room, I don’t know whether you’ve been on your phones, but we just learned about another shooting in Tennessee — a school shooting — and I am truly without words," she told the audience.

"And our children deserve better. And we stand, all of us, we stand with Nashville in prayer," she added.

73d ago / 5:17 PM UTC

Nashville shooting is third school shooting this year

73d ago / 5:16 PM UTC

White House briefed on the shooting

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says the president has been briefed on the deadly school shooting in Nashville.

73d ago / 5:13 PM UTC

Hospital spokesperson gives update on death toll

“We can now confirm 3 children and 2 adults from the school shooting were transported to our Adult Emergency Department (2 adults) and (3 children) to the Pediatric Emergency Department at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital,” Vanderbilt University Medical Center spokesperson John Howser said. “All 5 patients have been pronounced dead.”

It was not immediately clear if the gunman is part of the five.

73d ago / 5:13 PM UTC

FBI joins response

An FBI spokeswoman tells NBC News FBI agents from the Memphis field office have responded to the Nashville school shooting in an assistance role to support Nashville police. 

There is no FBI field office in Nashville.

73d ago / 5:13 PM UTC