28-year-old Audrey Hale, who shot dead six people at Nashville’s Covenant School, had bought seven weapons legally and used three of them in the horrific tragedy on Monday. Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake in press briefing said that the weapons were purchased from five different local gun stores and were legally purchased.
John Drake said Hale self-identified as transgender without offering further clarity. Mr Drake and other officials repeatedly referred to the attacker with female pronouns, though Hale used male pronouns on a LinkedIn page that listed recent jobs in graphic design and grocery delivery, Reuters reported.
“She was under a doctor’s care for an emotional disorder. Law officers know nothing about the treatment she was receiving. Her parents felt that she should not own weapons. The parents felt that Audrey had one weapon and that she sold it,” John Drake said, adding that the weapons had been hidden around the house.
In the brief press conference, Mr Drake said that they still did not have a motive for the attack. “We believe that the students that were targeted were randomly targeted. There was no particular student that she was looking for during the incident.”
Mr Drake indicated that Hale may have had some training.
“As they arrived on the property, there were police cars being hit by gunfire. The suspect was at an upper level. We believe that there was some training (for her) to be able to shoot from a higher level. She stood away from the glass so that she wouldn’t be an easy target to be shot,” he said.
He said that Audrey Hale’s manifesto contained several writings that the Nashville police department and the FBI were still going through. It contained information about different locations, a map of the attacked school, a drawing of how Hale would enter and the assault that would take place.
The police chief added that had there been a law in place, authorities would have been able to take the weapons away from Hale prior to the attack. “Had there been a law and had it been reported that she was suicidal or that she was going to kill someone, had it been made known to us, then we would have tried to get those weapons. But as it stands, we had absolutely no idea.”
Police got the call about the attack at 10:14 am and by about 10:24 they had engaged the suspect. On why the school was targeted, he said that all they know is that Hale was a student of the church but were unsure yet if that was a contributing reason.