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Nashville's Covenant School reeling from 'terror that shattered our school and church'

The Covenant School said Tuesday that their “community is heartbroken," after a former student opened fire at the private Presbyterian school in Nashville, killing six people.

The Covenant School released a statement on Tuesday morning saying that their "community is heartbroken," one day after a former student opened fire at the private Presbyterian school, killing three students and three employees. 

"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 Covenant School, which operates as a ministry of Nashville's Covenant Presbyterian Church, said on Tuesday. 

"We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received, and we are tremendously grateful to the first responders who acted quickly to protect our students, faculty and staff."

Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old transgender former student, shot through a locked glass door and entered the school armed with two rifles and a handgun around 10:13 a.m. on Monday morning. 


Officer Rex Engelbert, 27, arrived soon after the shooting began and immediately starting clearing classrooms with other officers in search of the shooter. When Hale started firing at other responding officers from the second floor, Engelbert ran upstairs with Officer Michael Collazo, 31, and confronted Hale. 

Three school employees – headmaster Katherine Koonce, 60, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61, and custodian Mike Hill, also 61 – were killed in the gunfire. Three 9-year-old students were also killed: Hallie Scruggs, Evelyn Dieckhaus, and William Kinney.


Hale had legally purchased seven firearms from five different gun stores in the Nashville area and hid them from her family. She was under a doctor's care for an unspecified emotional disorder at the time of the shooting and her parents didn't believe she should own weapons, police said. 

A search of her vehicle and home turned up writings and hand drawn diagrams of the school that indicate the attack was "calculated and planned," according to police.

Nashville Police Chief John Drake said authorities believe the attack was targeted, but not that she was going after specific individuals in the school. 

The Covenant School, which was founded in 2001, caters to students aged from preschool to 6th grade. 

"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 school said Tuesday. 

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