'Our hearts are broken.' The families of the Nashville school community have spoken.

Three children and three adults have died after a shooter armed with several guns opened fired at a private Christian school in Nashville on Monday.

The alleged perpetrator, who has been identified as 28-year-old former student Audrey Hale, was carrying at least two semi-automatic rifles and a handgun, police said. 

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department received calls at 10:13am on Monday of a shooter at The Covenant School, which teaches primary school-age children. 

Officers arriving on the scene reported hearing gunfire coming from the school's second floor, police spokesman Don Aaron told reporters.

Two officers from a five-member team later shot the perpetrator, who was pronounced dead by 10.27am.

"The police department response was swift," Aaron said.

Three students were pronounced dead after arriving at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt with gunshot wounds, hospital spokesman John Howser said in a statement. Three adult staff members were also killed.

Reacting to the shooting in Washington, US President Joe Biden urged Congress again to pass more gun reform legislation.

"It's sick," he said, addressing the issue during an event at the White House.

"We have to do more to protect our schools so they aren't turned into prisons... I call on Congress again to pass my assault weapons ban."


Nashville Mayor John Cooper expressed sympathy for the victims and wrote on social media that his city "joined the dreaded, long list of communities to experience a school shooting".

Here's what we know about the shooting. 

The victims.

Police have named the three students and three staff members who lost their lives in the shooting. 


Evelyn Dieckhaus, nine.

Evelyn was in the third grade at The Covenant School.

She has been remembered by her family as a "shining light", according to a statement obtained by KMOV.

"Our hearts are completely broken. We cannot believe this has happened," the statement reads. 

According to The Tennessean, Evelyn's sister, who was in the fifth grade, attended a vigil held for the victims on Monday night. 

"I don’t want to be an only child," she was reportedly heard crying.

Hallie Scruggs, nine.

Hallie was the only daughter of Chad Scruggs, the Covenant Presbyterian Church Lead Pastor.

Scruggs described his daughter as "such a gift", in a statement to ABC News. 

"We are heartbroken... Through tears we trust that she is in the arms of Jesus who will raise her to life once again."

Image: 12News


William Kinney, nine.

Like Evelyn and Hallie, William was a student in the third grade. 

No other information is known about William at this time. 

Cynthia Peak, 61.

Cynthia was a substitute teacher at The Covenant School.

According to KALB, she is the mother to one daughter and two sons.

Image: WSMV4.


Dr Katherine Koonce, 60.

Katherine was the head of The Covenant School and has been remebered as a "remarkable woman" with a "bright spirit".

"She had this amazing sense of humour," Sissy Goff of Daystar Counseling told ABC News. 

A mother of a student at the school told the BBC the 60-year-old "did so much for those kids".

"She knew every single student by name," she told the publication. "She did everything to help them when families couldn't afford things, it didn't matter."

Katherine Koonce. Image: The Covenant School.


Mike Hill, 61.

Mike was a custodian at the school - a job "he absolutely loved", according to his daughter, Brittany Hill.

"Today my Dad lost his life at the Covenant School," she wrote in a post on Facebook. 

"I have watched school shootings happen over the years and never thought I would lose a loved one over a person trying to solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution."

The alleged perpetrator.

The alleged perpetrator has been identified as 28-year-old Audrey Hale.

Investigators are examining a "manifesto" written by Hale hoping to learn what motivated the shooting.


Hale was under a doctor's care for an "emotional disorder" and had purchased seven guns ahead of the shooting.

Hale used two assault weapons and a handgun during the attack, which were among seven Hale bought legally from five area stores, said Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake. 

On Tuesday, police released a video of officers fatally shooting the suspected attacker.

The six minutes of footage, edited together from the body-worn cameras of two responding officers, shows police armed with rifles storming into the building and conducting a room-by-room search.

The 129th mass shooting in the US this year.

The shooting at The Covenant School marks the 129th mass shooting in the US so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

There have been 89 school shootings - defined as anytime a gun is discharged on school property - in the US so far in 2023, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database.

Last May, 19 children and two teachers were killed in a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

- With AAP.

This article was originally published on March 28, 2023, and was updated on March 29, 2023.

Feature Image: 12News/The Covenant School/Facebook@brittany.hilljackson