Seven dead, including three children at The Covenant School on Monday

Posted at 10:42 AM, Mar 27, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Seven people are dead — including three children — at The Covenant School on Monday morning after a shooting inside the building.

Three adult staff members are also dead. The shooter, who is also dead, is identified as Audrey Hale, 28. This person had no criminal history. At one point, the shooter was a student at the school. Police said Hale was transgender.

Those that died are identified as:

  • Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9
  • Hallie Scruggs, 9
  • William Kinney, 9
  • Cynthia Peak, 61
  • Katherine Koonce, 60
  • Mike Hill, age 61

"Three pediatric patients were transported to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, all having suffered gunshot wounds. All three were pronounced dead after arrival," officials said.

Families of both the children and the three adults have been identified.

"I was moved to tears to see this as the kids were ushered out of the building," MNPD Chief John Drake said. "I said if this ever happened: we would not wait. We would go in and engage the person. That's all I can say."

Related: What we know about The Covenant School shooter in Nashville

TBI director David Rausch said they are investigating the officer-involved portion of the situation. MNPD will investigate the homicides of the shooting.

"You wish you wouldn't have to do these types of scenes," Rausch said.

The shooting happened at 10:13 a.m. The shooting didn't happen in a classroom.

Related: Gallery: Tragedy at The Covenant School

"Officers went to the gunfire. When they got to the second floor and saw the shooter, a female. There was a five-member unit that was on the second floor at the time," MNPD spokesperson Don Aaron said. "We know at this point that this shooter is a female. Her identification isn't confirmed. She had two assault rifles and a handgun. She entered the school through a side entrance and went from the first school to the second floor. By 10:27 a.m., the shooter was dead."

Two MNPD officers who entered the building and went to the sounds of gunfire engaged the shooter on the second floor and fatally shot the suspect.

Five others were wounded: three children and two adults. There were no MNPD personnel assigned to that building at any time.

"We have mental health professionals at the reunification site," NFD spokesperson Kendra Looney said. "There is a hotline for parents to call that is being set up."

The Red Cross has reacted and set up at the reunification center as well.

"At DA Glenn Funk’s request, TBI will operate in an assisting capacity in the investigation of the shooting at The Covenant School in Green Hills. Metro Nashville Police Department will handle the release of information and updates moving forward," TBI officials said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of The Covenant School shooting and the broader community impacted by this profound tragedy."

"This is the ultimate crime," Funk said. "I can't say anything before we express concern for the victims and their families. I came out on the scene today because when an officer is involved it's a unique case. We met and talked about how the investigation was going to be handled."

MNPD said several schools in Green Hills area were placed on lockout out of an abundance of caution due to police activity in the area, and those families have been notified. We are working with first responders to provide any support we can.

"This is ripping our communities apart, President Joe Biden said. "It's ripping the soul of the nation apart. The shooter had two assault weapons. I call on Congress again to pass my assault weapons ban. I send my heart out to so many parents. I have been to so many sites of these."

The families at the reunification center are slowly leaving one parent, per child. There are counselors inside the church. There are still a couple of hundred people are in the reunification center.

"Laura and I want to express our grief on this day — on this worst day," Mayor John Cooper said. "Let us praise our first responders. 14 minutes — running to fire. I want to thank the seamless response for state and federal authorities. I was in Boston this morning, and I am overwhelmed at the thought of the loss of this family. I want to thank the fast response of our officers. Guns are quick. They don't give you much time. Those guns stole precious lives of those in Nashville. Let us hug our children a little bit closer tonight."

Weekend Debrief
We have Sky5 Live coverage currently on the shooting

A reunification area has been established at 2100 Woodmont Blvd (Woodmont Baptist Church) for parents to meet their children who attend The Covenant School at 33 Burton Hills Blvd.

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The school is a private Christian school in Nashville for PreSchool through 6th grade. Last year, the school ran an active shooter training program.

A portion of Harding Place is currently closed as police and emergency officials respond. In addition to the road closure, there may be delays on WeGo bus routes, including those not close to the shooting.

Several leaders across Nashville have issued statements in response to the shooting.

Mayor John Cooper:

In a tragic morning, Nashville joined the dreaded, long list of communities to experience a school shooting. My heart goes out to the families of the victims. Our entire city stands with you. As facts continue to emerge, I thank our first responders and medical professionals.

Gov. Bill Lee:

I am closely monitoring the tragic situation at Covenant, & the @TNDeptofSafety & @TNHighwayPatrol are assisting local law enforcement & first responders at the scene. As we continue to respond, please join us in praying for the school, congregation & Nashville community.

Sen. Bill Hagerty:

Devastated and heartbroken about the tragic news at Covenant School. I'm grateful to law enforcement and first responders for their heroic actions. I am monitoring the situation closely, and my office is in contact with local officials & available to anyone needing assistance.

Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton:

No harm should ever come to any child. At some point today, please take a moment to pray for the families impacted by this tragedy. As we continue learning more details, we appreciate law enforcement and first responders for their quick response neutralizing the threat

Freddie O'Connell:

Nashville has, sadly, today joined the communities that have experienced a school shooting. For now, my focus is turning to supporting the impacted families and revisiting our efforts to prevent these horrifying scenarios.

The House Democratic Caucus:

“The House Democratic Caucus is praying for the children and their families who were shooting victims at the Covenant School. Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons says, ‘Our thoughts are with the families of the entire school community and surrounding neighborhood.’”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood

Chuck and I are heartbroken to hear about the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville. My office is in contact with federal, state, & local officials, and we stand ready to assist. Thank you to the first responders working on site. Please join us in prayer for those affected.

The Tennessee Titans

We are heartbroken by the senseless loss of life at Covenant School today. We offer our condolences to the families and friends of the victims, and the entire Covenant School community.

MNPS Adrienne Battle

As a parent, as an educator, as a human being, I’m grieving today over the tragic murder of children and school staff right here in our community. My heart goes out to the entire Covenant School community and the parents grieving the unimaginable loss of life today.

We have been in close contact with the MNPD throughout the day, and we are providing whatever support we can to assist in their response. This is a traumatic event for the entire community, and our student support services team will be working to help our students and staff process this situation in the days to come.

We don’t know all of the details of how or why this happened, and we may never fully know. At Metro Schools, we have invested considerable resources to strengthen security at our facilities in response to the far too many, far too often instances of school shootings across the nation over the years. We will continue to reinforce our safety protocols and monitor and follow best practices on keeping students safe from harm.