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Nashville school shooter legally bought 7 firearms from 5 stores, police chief says

School shooting returns focus to assault weapons
Nashville school shooting returns focus to assault weapons 02:37

The assailant in the Nashville school shooting legally bought seven firearms from five local stores and used three of those weapons in Monday's attack, officials said Tuesday. Police said the gun purchases were made over the past few years and hidden from the assailant's parents, with whom the shooter lived.

The parents of the shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale, felt their child shouldn't own any weapons, police said. They believed that the shooter had only one weapon and sold it, Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake told reporters on Tuesday. 

The shooter had also been receiving treatment for an "emotional disorder" which had not been reported to authorities, police said.

People gather at an entry to Covenant School, which has become a memorial for shooting victims, March 28, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.
People gather at an entry to Covenant School, which has become a memorial for shooting victims on March 28, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. AP Photo/John Amis

Tennessee doesn't have a "red flag" law that could give police the authority to remove weapons from a person, Drake said. If it had been reported that the shooter was suicidal or intended to hurt another person then authorities would have tried to take the weapons away, the chief said.

"As it stands, we had absolutely no idea, actually, who this person was," Drake said.

The three children killed in the attack were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney and Hallie Scruggs, all 9. The three adults killed in the attack — Mike Hill, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Cynthia Peak, 61 — worked at The Covenant School, police said. Hill, a school custodian, was shot through a glass door that the shooter used to enter the school, Drake said.

Nashville school shooting returns focus to assault weapons 02:37

In a video statement released Tuesday evening, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said that his wife, Maria Lee, was longtime friends with two of the victims, Koonce and Peak. All three had previously taught together, Lee said.

According to Lee, Peak "was supposed to come over to have dinner with Maria last night, after she filled in as a substitute teacher at Covenant." 

Investigators haven't found evidence that the assailant specifically targeted any of the victims, according to police spokesman Don Aaron, who said "this school, this church building was a target of the shooter."

On "CBS Mornings" Tuesday, Drake said the shooter, a former student of the school, had planned the attack. Authorities found a booklet that detailed the entry point into the school, the weapons used and the clothing that the shooter wore in the attack. Drake said that the shooter may have also had other targets in mind, including a mall and possibly some family members.

Sarah Lynch Baldwin contributed to this report.

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