Nashville Elementary School Shooting Timeline: How Tragedy Happened

Nashville Elementary School Shooting Timeline: How Tragedy Happened

These are the cops who shot down the Nashville school shooter 1:09

(WABNEWS) — The serene sense of security inside Nashville’s Covenant Elementary School was shattered Monday when a former student there stormed the premises brandishing an assault rifle and unleashed a hail of bullets, charging with the lives of three 9-year-old children and three adults.

The attacker, identified as 28-year-old Audrey Hale, was killed in an exchange of fire with police. Authorities believe the six victims were chosen at random. And although the attacker left writings about the planned event, the reason remains a mystery.


This is how the tragedy unfolded:

9:57 a.m.

Hale sends a sinister message to childhood friend Averianna Patton on Instagram, Patton told WABNEWS on Tuesday.

Hale’s direct message read: “I plan to die today” and that Patton would see it on the news.

“Someday this will make more sense,” Hale also wrote. “I have left more than enough evidence. But something bad is about to happen.”

Patton said he didn’t know why he got the message. “I knew Hale well when we were kids, when we were younger,” said Patton, who played youth basketball with Hale. “I didn’t meet the adult Audrey.”

Disturbed by the message, Patton contacted her father for advice. She suggested that she call a suicide prevention hotline for help, which she did. But since Patton was not the person who was at risk of harming herself, the recipient of the call advised Patton to contact local law enforcement, she said.

Around 10:13 a.m.

Patton calls the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in Nashville but was on hold for “about 7 minutes,” he said. By then, the shooting at the Covenant school had already begun.

10:13 a.m.

The Nashville Metropolitan Police Department receives a call regarding an active shooting inside the school.

Surveillance video shows the attacker entering the school shooting through the glass doors and climbing over them.

10:18 a.m.

Time-stamped surveillance footage from inside the school shows Hale with multiple weapons walking down a hallway.

Surveillance footage shows Hale inside the building. Credit: Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

10:24 a.m.

Nashville officers arrive at the school, according to Police Chief John Drake.

Recordings from body cameras show police entering the school amid the sound of fire alarms and immediately heading into several classrooms in search of the attacker.

The officers hear gunshots on the second floor and run upstairs as the gunshots get louder, video shows.

The police move by the Covenant school. Credit: Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

10:27 a.m.

Agent Rex Engelbert spots the attacker and shoots him about four times with an assault rifle. Body camera footage of him shows the attacker collapsing.

Officer Michael Collazo then moved toward the shooter when it appeared he still had a gun in his hand. Collazo appeared to shoot the attacker on the ground four times with a firearm, yelling “Stop moving!” Eventually, officers approached the shooter, pulled a gun away from him, and radioed, “Suspect down! Suspect down!”

Agents Rex Englebert, left, and Michael Collazo. Credit: Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

what was left behind

Following the mass shooting, three weapons were found: an AR-15, a Kel-Tec SUB 2000, and a pistol. Investigators believe Hale obtained at least two of the weapons legally, the Nashville police chief said.

A search warrant executed at Hale’s home led to the seizure of a sawed-off shotgun, a second shotgun and other evidence, police said. Authorities also learned that Hale had legally purchased seven firearms since October 2020.

Hale left writings related to the shooting and had scouted another possible shooting location in Nashville, “but due to a threat assessment by the suspect, that there is too much security, he decided not to,” Drake said.

A child cries on the bus leaving the Covenant school after the shooting. Credit: Nicole Hester/The Tennessean/USA Today Network

The police chief also referred to the approximately 11-minute gap between the time police received the first call of an active shooting and the time officers arrived at the school.

“From what I’ve seen, I don’t have any particular problems,” Drake told reporters on Tuesday, adding that “traffic was blocked.”

“But we always want to improve,” he said. “We always want to get there in two or three minutes.”



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