A suicide note, weapons and ammunition belonging to Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale were found by officers searching the attacker’s home, officials said.
The search warrant revealed that the shooter’s 28th birthday was March 24, three days before the rampage at the Christian school.
Students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all 9, were killed, along with substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61, school head Katherine Koonce, 60, and custodian Mike Hill, 61.
Nashville police released a list of 47 items and groups of items they said they found belonging to the shooter, including several journals, two shotguns, cellphones and laptops.
Officers said they found “3 folders, 19 journals,” and they included “firearms courses” and “school shootings” in parentheses near the entry, according to the search warrant. The police department declined to provide further details.
They also found a school photo and five yearbooks from The Covenant School, where the shooter — a former student — gunned down six people, three of them children, on March 27. It’s not clear which years the yearbooks were from.
The shooter had been under a doctor’s care for an undisclosed emotional disorder and had hidden weapons in the family home without the parents’ knowledge, police said.
Officials said the shooter legally purchased seven weapons from five local stores and later sold one of the firearms. Three of the weapons were used in the shooting.
The shooter fired several rounds into a door at The Covenant School, gaining access to it.
The shooter had planned the attack for months, according to journals police found in the attacker’s car and bedroom.
Police said the shooter, who acted alone, fired 152 rounds — 126 of them 5.56 rifle rounds and 26 of them 9 mm rounds.
Officers Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo both fired at the attacker, each discharging four rounds.
Engelbert, a 4-year veteran with the Metro Nashville Police Department’s Central precinct, said at a press conference on Tuesday he wasn’t meant to be near the Midtown Hills precinct, where he was taking care of administrative tasks, when the call came in.
“So, I really had no business being where I was,” Engelbert said. “You can call it fate, or God, or whatever you want, but I can’t count on both my hands the irregularities that put me in that position when a call for service came out for an active deadly aggression at a school.”
When the officers arrived at the lobby on the first floor, they heard gunfire. It was coming from a rifle from the second floor, Detective Sergeant Jeff Mathes said at the press conference.
The officers ran up the stairs towards the gunfire, meeting up with Collazo and other personnel along the way.
Collazo had entered the school from the glass doors the shooter had fired rounds at, coming across a victim later identified as 61-year-old custodian Mike Hill. He was on the ground and not moving, Collazo recalled.
Once on the second floor, Mathes described the hallway as “smokey” and smelling of gunpowder. The fire alarm in the building was also blaring, Collazo said.
Continuing to run towards the shooter as their training dictates, the officers were forced to step over a victim.
“I, to this day, don’t know how I did that morally,” said Mathes. “But training is what kicked in.”
The officers confronted the shooter, with Engelbert leading the way at the request of Collazo. None of the officers discussed the takedown of the shooter, citing the ongoing investigation.
Police Chief John Drake praised the officers at the press conference and also gave a special thanks to teachers at The Covenant School, who followed active shooter training and made sure to have students out of the hallways and away from windows.
“Where we could’ve had a lot more casualties, they were able to protect these kids as well,” Drake said.
CORRECTION (April 4, 2023, 3 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated how many shotguns were listed on the search warrant. It was two, not one.