Nashville police have released body-camera video worn by officers who responded to the deadly mass shooting at a Christian grade school on Monday and fatally shot the shooter, a former student who authorities say killed three children and three adults.
The slain children were identified by police as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all aged 9. The adults were Cynthia Peak, a 61-year-old substitute teacher; Mike Hill, a 61-year-old custodian; and the 60-year-old head of the school, Katherine Koonce.
The footage from Officer Rex Engelbert’s body camera shows him arriving at the Covenant School at 10:27 a.m., about 14 minutes after calls were made that an active shooter was on the school’s campus.
After pulling into the parking lot and grabbing his gun, Engelbert is informed by a staffer that the students are inside and locked down but that two are missing. “I need three, let’s go!” Engelbert yells to fellow officers before entering the school.
Alarms are heard blaring inside, as Engelbert, his fellow police officer Michael Collazo and three unidentified officers move from room to room with their long guns drawn.
Within minutes, they arrive on the second floor, where gunfire can be heard. They then encounter and fire on the shooter, identified by police as Audrey Elizabeth Hale, who was fatally wounded.
Surveillance video shows suspect shoot through doors, roam halls
Footage from surveillance cameras released by Nashville Police on Monday night shows Hale arrive at the school in a Honda Fit shortly before 10 a.m. local time.
The chilling video taken from inside the school at 10:13 a.m. captures the glass in a set of doors shattering, before Hale — wearing a vest, camouflage pants and a red baseball cap turned backward — climbs through one of the door frames.
Hale is then seen roaming empty hallways with emergency lights flashing, pointing a long gun at various points.
The footage released Monday does not show any of the victims, nor does it show Hale being fatally shot by police.
Authorities also released photos of Hale’s car parked in the parking lot and a police cruiser with bullet holes. According to police, Hale fired on officers from a second-story window as they arrived at the school.
Shooter messaged former classmate on Instagram before massacre
Averianna Patton, a former middle school basketball teammate of Hale’s, told Nashville’s WTVF-TV that Hale messaged her on Instagram minutes before the attack and told her she planned to kill herself.
“I’m planning to die today,” Hale’s first message sent to Patton read. “THIS IS NOT A JOKE!!!!”
“You’ll probably hear about me on the news after I die. This is my last goodbye. I love you. See you again in another life,” she continued.
Patton responded by telling Hale “you have so much more life to live.”
“I know but I don’t want to live,” Hale replied. “I’m so sorry. I’m not trying to upset you or get attention. I just need to die.”
“I wanted to tell you first because you are the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen and known all my life,” Hale continued.
“My family doesn’t know what I’m about to do,” Hale added. “One day this will make more sense. I’ve left more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen.”
According to Patton, the messages were sent around 9:57 a.m., or about 16 minutes before the first 911 call was made.
Patton told WTVF-TV that she called the Suicide Prevention Help Line at 10:08 a.m., before calling the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office five minutes later. The sheriff’s office told her to call Nashville’s nonemergency line, which placed her on hold for nearly seven minutes.
When she finally got through, Patton said she was told that an officer would be sent to her home.
An officer did come to her home — at about 3:30 p.m., hours after shootings.
“My heart is with all of the families affected,” Patton said. “And I’m devastated by what has happened.”