Our live coverage of the Nashville school shooting has moved here.
Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas released a statement Monday confirming that their former pastor, Chad Scruggs, lost his daughter Hallie in Monday’s shooting at the Covenant School.
CNN had reported that Hallie Scruggs was among the three 9-year-old students shot and killed in the shooting.
Here is the church's statement:
"The Park Cities Presbyterian Church (PCPC) family is incredibly saddened by the unimaginable tragedy today at Covenant Presbyterian School in Nashville, TN. Covenant Presbyterian Church is a sister church of PCPC; many of our members have deep friendships and family connections there.
Chad Scruggs, current Lead Pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Nashville, served for several years as Associate Pastor at PCPC. PCPC Senior Pastor, Mark Davis shared, “We love the Scruggs family and mourn with them over their precious daughter Hallie. Together, we trust in the power of Christ to draw near and give us the comfort and hope we desperately need.”
In messages shared with CNN affiliate WTVF, a former middle school basketball teammate of Audrey Hale provides chilling new details regarding an exchange she had on social media with the shooter prior to yesterday's school shooting in Nashville.
Averianna Patton said she saw a message on her phone that Hale had sent to her on Instagram Monday morning that stated Hale was planning to die by suicide and that she would see it on the news. A screenshot of a message published by WTVF appeared to show that the message was sent at 9:57 a.m. local time.
"One day this will make more sense," Hale wrote. "I've left behind more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen," the message stated.
"I tried to comfort and encourage her and subsequently reached out to the Suicide Prevention Help Line after being instructed to by my father at 10:08 am," Patton said.
Patton tells WTVF that she she called the Nashville Davidson County Sheriff's Office at 10:13 a.m. to make them aware of the situation and was instructed to call Nashville's non-emergency number.
"I called Nashville's non-emergency line at 10:14 a.m. and was on hold for nearly seven minutes before speaking with someone who said that they would send an officer to my home. An officer did not come to my home until 3:29 p.m.," Patton said.
Don Aaron, spokesperson for the Metro Nashville Police Department, said during a news conference that the first calls of an active shooting came in at around 10:15 a.m. local time.
When officers arrived, they went through the first level of the building, he said. They then heard gunshots coming from the second level of the building, according to Aaron. He said that's where police confronted and killed the shooter at 10:27 a.m. local time.
Police in Nashville are still digging into the background and motivations of a former student who entered a Christian elementary school armed with AR-style weapons and detailed maps and opened fire, killing three children and three adults.
If you are just reading in, here's the latest on the shooting and investigation:
The shooter: The person was identified as 28-year-old Audrey Hale. Hale was shot and killed by police during the Monday attack, and left behind “drawn out” maps of the Covenant School detailing “how this was all going to take place,” Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said. As police work to piece together what led up to the violence, officials said they had determined where the shooter lived in the Nashville area and have interviewed Hale’s father.
Hale, who attended the Christian school years ago, left writings that pertain to the shooting and had scouted a second possible attack location in Nashville, “but because of a threat assessment by the suspect – there’s too much security – they decided not to,” police chief said.The writings revealed that the attack at Covenant School “was calculated and planned,” Metro Nashville said.
So far, little is known about the shooter. Hale graduated from Nossi College of Art & Design in Nashville last year, the president of the school confirmed to CNN, and a LinkedIn profile says Hale worked as a freelance graphic designer and a part-time grocery shopper.
Police have referred to Hale as the “female shooter” and at an evening press conference added that Hale was transgender. When asked for clarification, a spokesperson told CNN Hale used “male pronouns” on a social media profile.
The weapons: The shooter was “someone that had multiple rounds of ammunition, prepared for confrontation with law enforcement, prepared to do more harm than was actually done,” the police chief said in a news conference.
Three weapons – an AR-style rifle, an AR-style pistol and a handgun – were found and police believe Hale obtained at least two of the weapons legally, Drake said. A search warrant executed at Hale’s home also resulted in the seizure of a sawed-off shotgun, a second shotgun and other evidence, according to police.
The victims: All three students shot and killed were 9 years old. They were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney. Three adults killed in the shooting were identified as 61-year-old Cynthia Peak, 60-year-old Katherine Koonce and 61-year-old Mike Hill, police said. Two Covenant School employees are among the victims of Monday’s mass shooting, according to the school.
What is expected to happen today: Investigators were expected to spend Tuesday processing the scene and gathering more details about what happened during the roughly 14 minutes of terror at the elementary school.
Mass shootings in America: The attack marked the 19th shooting at a school or university so far in 2023 in which at least one person was wounded, according to a CNN tally. With six victims, the shooting at Covenant is the deadliest school shooting since the attack in Uvalde, Texas, last May left 21 people dead.
Read more about the shooting here.
Kris Brown, the president of Brady: United Against Gun Violence, said the solutions to stopping mass shootings "are before us and they have been for a long time" but it will take voters to make the change.
"It's the Brady background check system. It's ensuring that every state has an extreme risk protection law. It's ensuring that every state has a permitting system ... and it's making sure that across the country we have a renewed assault weapons ban," Brown told CNN on Tuesday.
"If you don't want this to happen anymore, vote, vote. Make sure that every time you vote you focus on which candidates actually stand for gun violence prevention or they stand with the gun industry. And if they stand with the gun industry what that means is that is profits over lives. And it's just that simple."
Brady is a US nonprofit that advocates for gun control and against gun violence.
"It takes all of us. This isn't just on the kids. This is on adults," Brown added. "This is on their grandparents. This is on us and we can make a difference, but we have to make it an absolute priority and then hold elected officials to account when they do not vote 'yes' on bills to advance lifesaving measures."
A more heartrending and quintessentially American scene is hard to imagine.
A human chain of children, hand-in-hand, shepherded by police officers, fled the latest school struck by unfathomable tragedy. On Monday, it was Nashville’s turn to join the roster of cities made notorious by a mass shooting epidemic much of the country seems prepared to tacitly accept as the price of the right to own high-powered firearms.
The reality of what unfolded inside was inhuman, but it can unfortunately be imagined given the gruesome insider accounts that emerged from previous school shootings — in Uvalde, Texas, last year, or at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in 2012.
Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all 9 years old, were gunned down by a shooter armed with two AR-style weapons and a handgun, two of which police said were bought legally. Their names — known only to the rest of America in death — were released by police about the same time as they should have been going home from Covenant School for the day.
Three staff, all half a century older, also died. They were Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61.
They were all murdered in the place that should be the safest: where kids go to school. But a plague of recent classroom rampages, distinguished even among America’s gun violence by their depravity, shows that nowhere is really secure.
Read the full analysis here.
The Covenant School that was the scene of Monday's school shooting in Nashville said their community is "heartbroken" following the attack that killed three young students and three staff members.
The private Christian elementary school released a statement to CNN affiliate WZTV.
"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," the school said in the statement.
"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."
The Covenant School said "we are tremendously grateful to the first responders who acted quickly to protect our students, faculty and staff" and asked for "privacy as our community grapples with this terrible tragedy."
The two Metro Nashville Police Department officers who fatally shot school shooting suspect Audrey Hale have been identified as Officer Rex Englebert and Officer Michael Collazo, according to a news release from MNPD.
Englebert is a four-year veteran with MNPD and Collazo has been with the department for nine years, police said.
Hale was fatally shot on the second floor in a common area of the school where the shooter had been opening fire through a window at arriving police cars, the release said.
Writings recovered from Hale revealed that the attack was calculated and planned, police said.
A search warrant executed at Hale's Nashville home resulted in the seizure of a sawed-off shotgun, a second shotgun and other evidence, police said.
Audrey Hale graduated from Nossi College of Art & Design in Nashville last year, the school's president confirmed to CNN Monday.
Nossi College of Art & Design is described on its website as "the only college in Tennessee designed specifically as an art school."
Police earlier identified Hale, 28, as the shooter Monday in the killing of three 9-year-old students and three adults at the Covenant School, a private Christian elementary school in Nashville where the shooter was a former student. Hale was shot and killed by police during the attack, which was the deadliest school shooting in nearly a year.
A LinkedIn profile said Hale worked as a freelance graphic designer and a part-time grocery shopper.