Despite being treated for an emotional disorder, Audrey Hale was able to purchase multiple guns legally and keep them undetected inside her parent’s home.
The shocking revelation is just the latest detail to be unveiled as investigators continue to explore what led the young woman to carry out the mass shooting at The Covenant School inn Nashville, Tennessee. Her parents reportedly didn’t want Hale owning weapons due to her mental state and were unaware that she’d purchased seven from five local stores, including a sawed-off shotgun and the assault-type gun used in the shooting.
At some point, her family did find one of the guns, but when Hale sold that one, they believed she no longer had any weapons, according to Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake. On the morning of the shooting, Hale left her parent’s home with a red bag, which they questioned her about. Since they thought she’d gotten rid of the only handgun they knew about, they did not suspect that firearms were in the bag.
Shortly before her attack, Hale contacted her former basketball teammate Averianna Patton on Instagram and revealed that she was preparing to commit suicide. She told Patton that she’d left behind “more than enough evidence” before bidding her final goodbye to Patton. The concerned woman immediately sprang into action, contacting the Suicide Prevention Help Line at about 10:08 a.m. Sadly, by 10:13 a.m., there were already 911 calls coming in about the shooting. Hale reportedly planned the attack for weeks, drawing a map of the school and surveilling it. She reportedly targeted her victims randomly, though officials believe she may have chosen the school due to resentment for having to go there years prior. Her youngest victims were Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all of which were just nine years old. Substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, Custodian Mike Hill, and head of the school Katherine Koonce were also killed.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed that anyone receiving “voluntary treatment for mental conditions” are not barred from owning guns in the state unless court-ordered.