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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 shooting 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 (the shooter) was receiving, but the parents felt (the shooter) should not own weapons.”

Drake said the assailant’s parents believed that the shooter had sold their only weapon and were unaware other weapons were hidden within the home. The attacker left their parents’ home Monday carrying a red bag and dismissed their parents’ questions about what was inside, Drake said.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun violence prevention organization, 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. It does, however, have a law that prohibits gun possession by people who have been involuntarily committed or found to be a danger to themselves or others.

“If it had been reported that (the shooter) was suicidal or ... was going to kill someone, that had been made known to us, then we would have tried to get those weapons,” Drake said. He did not explain what that would entail or how that might work legally.


Police used female pronouns to refer to the attacker, whom they previously said identified as transgender. Kristin Mumford, a public affairs officer with the Metro Nashville Police Department, said the attacker was “assigned female at birth” but that the agency is “also aware of social media profiles in which the shooter used male pronouns.” A LinkedIn profile under the shooter’s name that has since been taken down listed he/him pronouns.

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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