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What we know about the Nashville school shooting

ADRIAN FLORIDO, HOST:

We're learning more about what happened in today's elementary school shooting in Nashville. Police say at least six people, including three children, died when a former student at the school opened fire. That person was then shot and killed by police.

Alexis Marshall of WPLN in Nashville has been following the story and joins us now. Alexis, tell us what you know about what happened at the school.

ALEXIS MARSHALL, BYLINE: So a little after 10 o'clock this morning, a call about shots fired at a private Christian school in the southwest part of Nashville - the shooter entered the school from a side door and started firing. Three children and three adult staff members were killed. It's not clear yet where in the school they were killed. Five officers responded, and two of them were on the second floor where they killed the suspect, who police identified as a 28-year-old from Nashville.

And this all happened really quickly. It was over in about 14 minutes. Some children and staff were able to get out of the school during the incident and flee to a nearby tree line. And later, dozens of students and staff from the school were bussed to a nearby church so that they could be reunited with their families.

FLORIDO: And what do we know about the victims?

MARSHALL: Police released the identities of the victims just a couple of hours ago. They were Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, who police say were 8 or 9 years old; Cynthia Peak, who's age 61; Mike Hill, also 61; as well as Katherine Koonce, who was the headmaster at this school called the Covenant School. It's a small private elementary school with only about 200 students and serves kids from pre-K through sixth grade.

FLORIDO: And what are authorities saying about the suspected shooter and why this school in particular was attacked?

MARSHALL: So late this afternoon, authorities identified the suspect as Audrey Hale, a former student at the school. Police initially described Hale as a white woman, but later the public information officer said Hale was assigned female at birth but uses he/him - or used he/him pronouns. Nashville Police Chief John Drake said Hale had two assault-style weapons as well as a handgun of some - and that he targeted the school.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN DRAKE: We have a map drawn out of how this was all going to take place. There's right now a theory of - that we may be able to talk about later, but it's not confirmed. And so we'll put that out as soon as we can.

MARSHALL: Authorities plan to release video of the incident sometime later tonight or tomorrow.

FLORIDO: Well, you were at the church, Alexis, where children were being reunited with families. What were things like there?

MARSHALL: Yeah. So they weren't letting media on the property later this afternoon, but I was there right after a lot of parents had gotten the news that there was a shooting. And I saw several people walking, one even running into the reunification center at Woodmont Baptist Church. I saw a number of people on the phone looking really concerned as they walked into the building. One woman appeared to be having difficulty walking and a man had slung his arm around her to support her as she walked into that reunification center. So just a lot of families really worried sick today.

FLORIDO: Yeah. That's Alexis Marshall of WPLN in Nashville. Thanks, Alexis.

MARSHALL: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Alexis Marshall
Alexis Marshall is the 2018 fall reporting intern at Nashville Public Radio. She is a senior at Middle Tennessee State University.