Audrey Hale killed three staff and three children at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, in late March 2023. The police responded rapidly to the shooting, killing Audrey, who was ‘prepared for a confrontation with law enforcement’, Nashville police chief John Drake said.
The police are yet to release a motive for the killings. Some believe Audrey’s gender identity struggles may have contributed to her emotional distress.
Audrey Hale was assigned female at birth but reportedly identified as a transgender man
Officials initially used ‘her’ and ‘she’ to refer to Audrey. Confusion about Audrey’s gender crept in after chief Drake said Audrey identified as transgender. Kristin Mumford, a police spokeswoman, clarified that Audrey was born female but listed male pronouns on a LinkedIn profile, suggesting Audrey identified as a transgender man.
When contacted by ABC News, Norma Hale, Audrey’s gun-control-activist mother, referred to Audrey as her ‘daughter’. “I think I lost my daughter today,” Norma said. “It is very, very difficult right now. I can’t talk to you.”
A report by the Daily Mail claims that Audrey’s Christian parents, Ronald and Norma, refused to accept Audrey’s gay and transgender identities. A source speaking to the outlet said Ronald and Norma barred Audrey from wearing male clothes inside the household.
“You only see what you want to see,” the insider stated. “Their religion does not allow them to accept homosexuality. She was Audrey at home but when she left the house she changed clothes. They did know about it, they just didn’t accept it.”
Audrey’s resentment of her family may have fueled the attack. Chief Drake revealed that Audrey’s targets included family members. “We strongly believe there were going to be some other targets, including family members, and one of the malls here in Nashville and it just did not happen,” he said.
Authorities are investigating whether Audrey’s gender identity was a factor in the attack. “We’re investigating all the leads,” Drake said.
A friend speaking to the Daily Mail said Audrey’s coming out as trans surprised nobody. Describing Audrey as sweet and funny, the friend said they at first thought the authorities had misidentified the shooter as Audrey.
“She really didn’t fit the school shooter archetype,” the friend said. “I don’t know what would have happened to turn her into this person we see on the news. Really none would have seen this coming.”