Deadliest school shooting in 2023

Image via PBS

Image via PBS

Three 9 year old students and three faculty members were killed in a shooting in Nashville, Tennessee; the deadliest school shooting since Uvalde, Texas in 2022.


The shooting took place in the Covenant School, which is a private Catholic grade school. Reports were first made by staff after the shooter entered the building. Footage shows the shooter entering the school  at 10:11 am by shooting out a side door.


Officers arrived at the school 11 minutes after receiving a 911 call and fatally shot Hale 3 minutes later. 


Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake praised the officers response, stating that, “The moment we got the call, we responded immediately to the scene. Officers pulled up, were taking gunfire, pulled the gun out, went inside, did not wait.”


The teachers in the school also received praise for their quick actions, which likely prevented more deaths. Security consultant Brink Fidler stated, “[The teachers] ability to execute literally flawlessly under that amount of stress while somebody [was] trying to murder them and their children, that is what made the difference here.” 


Fidler took a walk through the school with Nashville officers two days after the shooting and added that “[the] teachers are the reason those kids went home to their families,” noting that all the victims were in a hallway or other open area. 


While investigations continue, it is believed that the shooting was a targeted attack, yet the motive remains unknown. Hale had created detailed maps and plans of the attack which will be released to the public after the FBI finishes analyzing them. Additional attack plans were discovered in the writings which targeted nearby Nashville malls, but they were never acted upon.


The shooter was identified as former student Audrey Hale (28). Officials believe that they identify as transgender, as several of their posts use the pronouns he/him, but it has not been confirmed yet. 


Police also reported that Hale was being treated for an emotional disorder, and that the attacker’s parents were unaware that they were in possession of any firearms. The shooter had legally purchased seven guns in the past three years, and brought three of them on the day of the attack. 


Protests erupted in Tenassee’s capital on Thursday advocating for gun control legislation to be passed. Dion Green, a survivor of the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio was one of the attendees. His father was shot several times during the shooting, but he claims that his passion is about more than just that one incident stating, “At the end of the day, it’s not about my father no more, it’s about saving lives,” he said. “It’s my passion.”


A vigil was constructed outside the school with flowers and stuffed animals added by members of the community. First Lady, Jill Biden and singer and songwriter Sheryl Crow were among the people visiting the vigil. 


With gun violence being the leading cause of death among children and adolescents for 2 consecutive years, rising rapidly during the pandemic, leaders  call for change. 


Cooper, the mayor of Nashville, stated “The leading cause of kids’ death now is guns and gunfire and that is unacceptable.”


Joe Biden also reiterated his pleas for congress to take gun control measures stating, “We owe these families more than our prayers. We owe them action.”


As the investigations continue, the outpouring of support across the nation serves as a reminder of the lives of the students and faculty lost in the shooting.