The three children and three adults murdered in a mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville’s Green Hills neighborhood on Monday morning have been named by police.
The children were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all 9 years old, and the adults as Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61.
The Nashville Presbytery confirmed to News that 9-year-old Scruggs was the daughter of Chad Scruggs, the senior pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church.
The three adults were all employed at the school. Hill worked as a custodian, Peak was recognized as a substitute teacher by authorities, and Koonce was listed as the school’s head of school on the school’s website.
Audrey Hale, 28, of Nashville, has been confirmed as the shooter by police as a former student at the institution. Officials released body camera footage of police officers responding to the shooting and apprehending the suspect on Tuesday.
Authorities have not discovered a possible reason for the shooting, although it is described as a targeted strike. Police, on the other hand, do not believe the victims were targeted personally.
“We feel that these students who were targeted were randomly targeted,” said Nashville Police Chief John Drake on Tuesday.
Don Aaron, the police department’s director of media relations, stressed that despite “no evidence that people were particularly targeted” in the shooting, “this school, this church building was a target of the shooter.”
“But we have no information to indicate that the shooter was specifically targeting any one of the six individuals who were murdered,” Aaron said.
Police said the shooter was armed with “at least” two assault-style rifles and a handgun during the attack. They determined that the shooter had previously purchased seven firearms, legally, from five local stores, according to Drake. Three of those weapons were used to carry out the shooting, the police chief said.
The shooter’s parents believed the gunman once owned a firearm but sold it, according to Drake, who added that the parents had no idea the shooter had more weapons after that.
Police determined the shooter had hidden “several” weapons in the home, he said.
The shooter entered The Covenant School through a side entrance and moved from the first to second floors, “shooting many shots,” according to Aaron.
Responding officers saw the shooter firing on the second level, and at that point, they “engaged,” Aaron said. The shooter was fatally shot by two of the five responding police officers at the scene, he said.
According to the school website, covenant, founded in 2001, is a private Christian school with 33 teachers and up to 210 students starting in preschool through 6th grade.
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