(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — The shooter who attacked students and teachers at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday was identified by police as 28-year-old Audrey Hale, who law enforcement said once attended the school.
A website that appears to be associated with Hale indicates that Hale was a Nashville-based graphic designer and illustrator who created logos and branding to “help tell a company’s story” and “bring a whimsical and light-hearted feel.”
A police spokesperson told ABC News that Hale was assigned female at birth and pointed to a social media account linked to Hale that included use of the pronouns he/him.
Police said that Hale had seven legally purchased guns, three of which were used the day of the shooting. Officials said that Hale was being treated for an unspecified emotional disorder.
They said Hale’s parents believed the suspect only had one gun and sold it.
Accordig to police, Hale’s alleged victims appeared to be randomly selected and the school and church building itself were the targets. Investigators said she had several writings about other locations and a map of Covenant School with drawings of potential entry points there.
In a brief phone interview with ABC News on the day of the shooting, Hale’s mother, Norma Hale, said, “It is very, very difficult right now” for the family, before asking for privacy.
“I think I lost my daughter today,” she said.
A neighbor of the family told ABC News that Audrey Hale lived at the family’s home with Hale’s parents, who the neighbor described as “very nice” and “very religious.”
Destanee Thomas, a former middle school classmate told ABC News Hale would “vent” on social media. “[Hale] was posting a lot about depression in the past couple of weeks,” Thomas said.
Hale graduated from Nashville’s Nossi College of Art & Design in 2022, school president and CEO Cyrus Vatandoost confirmed to ABC News.
“While at our school, she was a talented artist and a good student,” Vatandoost said of Hale. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, to the victims and their families and to our city.”
A post on the school’s Facebook that has since been removed indicated that Hale earned at least one award for strong academic performance.
“Aside from art, I enjoy binging on video games, watching movies, and playing sports,” Hale wrote on a personal website. “There is a child-like part about me that loves to go run to the playground. Animals are my second passion, so I also enjoy spending time with my two cats.”
Hale’s LinkedIn account also lists work as a part-time grocery shopper with the food delivery service Shipt and mentions past employment as a cat sitter.
In middle school, Hale played basketball on a school basketball team, and one of her former teammates, Paige Patton, told ABC News that Hale was at first “a little timid” on the court, but “she grew” and became “a little feisty out there.”
“She loved us. She loved the team,” Patton added.
Founded in 2001, the Covenant School is a private Presbyterian school in Nashville with some 200 students in pre-K through sixth grade, according to the school’s website.
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