Tragedy at The Covenant School: Recap of the Nashville Shooting and Response

On Monday, August 30th, an active shooter opened fire at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, killing six people, including three 9-year-old students, a substitute teacher, the head teacher, and a custodian. The shooter was identified as Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a 28-year-old from the Nashville area, who had legally purchased seven firearms, including two AR-style guns and a handgun, and had planned the shooting beforehand, as indicated by assembled maps of the facility.[0] Before the shooting, Hale warned a friend of “something bad” in Instagram messages, and police later revealed that Hale was receiving care from a doctor for an undisclosed emotional disorder at the time of the shooting spree.[0]

The Metro Nashville Police Department has released body camera video from two officers who responded to the shooting.[1] The footage shows Hale driving to the school and shooting out the glass of a side door to access the building.[2] Dressed in camouflage-style pants, a white T-shirt, a red cap, and a black vest, Hale roamed the school premises with a rifle brandished.[3] Muffled gunshots can be heard in the background as the officers rush upstairs to the second floor.[4] At least five officers are then seen going up a stairwell as the gunshots grew louder, with Officer Rex Engelbert taking the lead, followed by several officers, including Officer Michael Collazo, who was armed with a handgun.[5] At 10:25 a.m., upon reaching an open space, the suspect was seen by the officers standing near a shattered window and was immediately confronted.[5] Englebert fired at the suspect while Collazo also discharged their weapon after someone shouted, “Reloading”[5] Law enforcement sources have reported that the suspect was pronounced dead at 10:27 a.m.[5]

According to the Gun Violence Archive, the Nashville shooting on Monday marked the 129th incidence of mass shooting in the US this year. Additionally, Education Week reported that this shooting was the 13th school shooting to result in injuries or fatalities in 2021.[6] The incident has poured fuel on an already combustive environment, as authorities initially identified the attacker as a 28-year-old woman who was a former student at the school but later clarified that the perpetrator identified as transgender.[7] According to trans people in the state, this detail has led many of them to fear for their safety.[8]

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee released a statement expressing condolences for the victims and their families, while also acknowledging the pain and desperation for answers in the aftermath of the shooting. He also stated that prayer was the first thing to do, but it was not the only thing.[6] Law enforcement officials and educators across the state have been working for years, especially in the last year, to strengthen the safety of schools, and he hoped that everyone could act with wisdom, discernment, and grace to honor those who were lost.[6]

The Covenant School released a statement expressing their heartbreak and grief over the tragedy, stating that they were focused on loving their students, families, faculty, and staff and beginning the process of healing.[9] The school also expressed thanks to first responders for their quick response and those showing support for the school.[9]

The Nashville incident is a stark reminder of the ongoing issue of gun violence in the US and the need for stronger gun control measures. While lawmakers and activists continue to debate and propose solutions, it is important to remember and honor the victims of these tragedies and work towards creating a safer society for everyone.

0. “Nashville shooter warned friend of ‘something bad' in Instagram messages” The Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2023,

1. “Bodycam video shows moments police killed active shooter at Nashville school” WKRN News 2, 28 Mar. 2023,

2. “What we know about the deadly shooting at a Nashville elementary school” NPR, 28 Mar. 2023,

3. “Nashville school shooting: What we know about killer Audrey Hale” Sky News, 28 Mar. 2023,

4. “Video shows children running out of woods during Nashville shooting” NBC News, 29 Mar. 2023,

5. “‘Let's go!': Officers faced uncertainty of where victims, suspect were in Nashville school shooting” ABC News, 29 Mar. 2023,

6. “Tennessee governor fails to mention gun control in message after shooting” The Guardian US, 29 Mar. 2023,

7. “Republicans blame Nashville shooting on shooter's suggested trans identity” Business Insider, 28 Mar. 2023,

8. “Fear pervades trans community amid focus on Nashville shooter's gender identity” Yahoo Life, 29 Mar. 2023,

9. “Young children, a substitute teacher, the head of their school and its custodian. These are the victims of the Nashville school shooting” CNN, 30 Mar. 2023,

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