Disclaimer: This article will only be covering the incident in question in the form of a news update. A proper analytic look at the wider circumstances surrounding the shooting will be covered in a separate article next week, following further updates from the ongoing police investigation and public events which have reportedly been scheduled for this weekend.
Yesterday morning, the neighbourhood of Green Hills in the city of Nashville, Tennessee in the United States was struck by a tragic incident. A 28-year-old woman, Audrey Elizabeth Hale, broke into the Covenant School, a private Presbyterian Christian church school for children, and brutally murdered six people – three children and three adults. Armed police stormed the building and shot Hale on sight, killing her and stopping her rampage of terror.
According to police reports, Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to the school and parked her car in the church school’s car park. Brandishing multiple firearms strapped to her body, Hale shot through the glass of the doors to the side entrance to the school before entering the building at 10:13am local time. CCTV footage shows Hale walking through corridors and checking through doors while aiming around the building with a SUB-2000 pistol-calibre carbine. Hale was also armed with two secondary weapons – an “assault-style pistol” and a handgun. Upon reaching the second floor, Hale opened fire on her intended targets – the teachers and pupils of the school.
Armed police quickly arrived at the scene. Footage from one police officer’s bodycam was released earlier on today. The first responders evacuated everybody on the first floor before moving up to the second floor, where gunshots from Hale’s weapons were heard. Upon entering the room where Hale was located, the police immediately opened fire on Hale on sight. The police bodycam footage appears to show Hale remaining alive for a brief moment while she laid on the ground, before one of the officers removes a weapon away from her hand. Soon after, Hale dies from her gunshot wounds at 10:27am local time.
Hale’s shooting resulted in the killing of six people – Evelyn Dieckhaus (9), William Kinney (9), Hallie Scruggs (9), Cynthia Peak (61), Mike Hill (61) and Katherine Koonce (60).
Audrey Elizabeth Hale was a 28-year-old woman who regarded herself as a transgender man and was a local of Nashville. She had no known criminal past and was a previous student of the Covenant School that she ultimately targeted for her terror attack. A graduate from the Nossi College of Art & Design, Hale worked as an illustrator and graphic designer. She had also allegedly illustrated children’s books with an LGBT theme, but this has not yet been confirmed, other than by a single photo of Hale standing above what appears to be a children’s book with a transgender flag on the cover. She had also lived with her parents.
At 9:57am, 16 minutes before carrying out her terror attack, Hale sent several text messages to one of her friends, telling her that she had planned to die by suicide and that “something bad is about to happen”.
A police search of Hale’s residence uncovered two shotguns, a detailed map of the Covenant School – indicating that the attack was planned well in advance – and even a manifesto. While few details from the manifesto have been made public thus far, the police have stated that “other locations” had been mentioned. Whether these other locations were intended as alternative targets other than the Covenant School or intended as targets for further attacks is unknown at this time.
Media & Public Response
Hale was a self-described transgender man, meaning that she was a biological female who identified as male and went by he/him pronouns. Following the shooting, national American media outlets highlighted Hale’s transgender identity, with different outlets referring to Hale as either female or male. As one would expect, the LGBT community was quick to denounce some media outlets’ “misgendering” of Hale and accused Tennessee’s recent anti-LGBT laws as factors which led to Hale’s terror attack. However, it must also be noted that many members of the LGBT community – especially the transgender community – appear to be almost portraying Hale as a victim herself, with some transgender organisations releasing official statements which almost seem to be mourning Hale herself, despite her taking the lives of six people in cold blood, three of the victims having been 9-year-old children. Naturally, the backlash against the transgender community from people of various different political backgrounds has been extremely hostile, further widening the societal divide between the pro and anti-transgender crowds.
A pro-transgender protest event has been scheduled to take place in front of the Supreme Court on Saturday 1st April at 11:00am local time. The protest has been organised by pro-transgenderism organisation Our Rights DC and will take place under the banner of Trans Day of Vengeance: Stop Trans Genocide. What form of vengeance are these people planning? It is currently unknown. What genocide is taking place against transgender people? None whatsoever.
Given how sympathetic many from the transgender community have been towards Hale, it is very worrying as to what sort of rhetoric the upcoming planned protest on Saturday will seek to promote.
ETN Board Member (Serbia)
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