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Nashville shooter, who was 'under doctor's care for emotional disorder,' used 3 guns, police say

Alexandra E. Petri, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

New details have emerged from Monday’s shootings in Nashville, Tennessee, that left three children and three adults dead when an assailant targeted a Christian school, making it the latest American community to be rocked by the despair and trauma of gun violence, as police search for a motive.

At a news conference Tuesday, Metro Nashville police Chief John Drake said authorities learned through interviews with the assailant’s parents that the shooter had legally purchased seven firearms from five local gun stores. Three were used in the attack at the Covenant School, Drake said.

The parents said the shooter, whom authorities identified as 28-year-old former student Audrey Hale, was “under doctor’s care for emotional disorder,” Drake said. “Law enforcement knew nothing about the treatment (Hale) was receiving, but the parents felt (Hale) should not own weapons.”

According to Drake, Hale’s parents believed that the shooter had sold their only weapon and were unaware that Hale was hiding other weapons within the home. Hale left their parents’ home Monday carrying a red bag and dismissed their parents’ questions about what was in it. Hale’s parents were under the impression their child didn’t own weapons and didn’t think any differently, Drake said.

Tennessee does not currently have an extreme risk law, also known as a red flag law, which allows law enforcement and family members to petition for a court order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing guns.

“But if it had been reported that Hale was suicidal or that she was going to kill someone, that had been made known to us, then we would have tried to get those weapons,” Drake said. “As it stands we had absolutely no idea.”


Police used female pronouns to refer to Hale, whom they previously said identified as transgender.

Drake said police are still searching for a motive.

Police on Tuesday released body camera footage worn by two of the officers who responded to the shooting.

The shooter was fatally shot by officers in an encounter that was captured on the footage. The body camera shows that within about 3 minutes and 20 seconds of parking at the school, officers located and killed the shooter.


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