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Video shows Nashville police confront school shooter

March 28, 2023 Updated Tue., March 28, 2023 at 11:23 a.m.

Screen capture from body camera video released by Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.  (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department via Washington Post)
Screen capture from body camera video released by Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department via Washington Post)
By Holly Bailey Washington Post

Nashville police released footage Tuesday from body-worn cameras that depict officers confronting and opening fire on a heavily armed shooter who killed three children and three adults at a private Christian school there Monday.

The harrowing six-minute video captures a team of officers from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department arriving on scene at the Covenant School and rushing into the building as an alarm blares and gunshots are heard.

The footage, made public less than 24 hours after the deadly shooting, shows officers quickly searching the school room by room, some carrying rifles but without ballistic equipment including shields. As a barrage of gunfire is heard, officers are shown racing up the stairs to a second-floor lobby area where there is a flash of gunfire. The video shows officers open fire on the shooter, who is positioned near a shattered window and seen falling to the ground.

“Get your hands away from the gun,” an officer yells, as the shooter is briefly shown on the ground.

The footage comes as police continued to search for a motive in Monday’s deadly shooting. Police have identified the assailant as Audrey Elizabeth Hale, 28, of Nashville, a previous student at the Covenant School, a small academy housed within a Presbyterian church that served about 200 students from preschool to sixth grade.

John Drake, chief of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, said law enforcement officials had recovered a “manifesto” and maps that appeared to include entry points for the school. On Tuesday, Drake told CBS This Morning that recovered materials suggested Hale had also considered an attack on a Nashville area shopping mall and other sites.

Police initially said the shooter was a 28-year-old woman and then later said Hale was transgender, citing a social media profile in which Hale used masculine pronouns. The Post has not yet confirmed how Hale identified.

Police identified the victims as students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all 9; and staff members Cynthia Peak, 61; Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61.

Koonce was the longtime head of Covenant, according to the school’s website. Peak was a substitute teacher, while Hill was a custodian, police said.

The incident unfolded over less than 15 minutes in a leafy suburban area about 10 miles south of central Nashville. Police said they received a 911 call about a shooter at the school at 10:13 a.m., and were on site minutes later.

Surveillance video released by the police late Monday showed Hale firing through a glass door and entering the school. The heavily armed shooter is shown stalking through the hallways of the school, peering into offices while aiming an assault rifle. Police also released photos, including a police car with shattered glass. They said Hale fired on responding officers from a second-story window.

Police said Hale was armed with two semiautomatic weapons - an AR-15-style rifle, an “AR-style pistol” and a handgun. At least two of the weapons were purchased legally, according to Drake, who did not give the status of the third. He said Hale had “multiple rounds of ammunition prepared for confrontation with law enforcement” and was “prepared to do more harm.”

The department late Monday released images of the weapons, adding that Hale had “significant ammunition.”

Police officials are expected to hold a news conference Tuesday with additional details.

Video: Police released body-camera video on March 28 from officers who confronted a shooter in The Covenant School in Nashville on March 27.

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