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Nashville Shooter Had Emotional Disorder, Attack Raises Security Concerns at Private Schools

A youngster writes a message on crosses at an entry to Covenant School, Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn., which has become a memorial to the victims of Monday's school shooting. (AP Photo/John Amis)
A youngster writes a message on crosses at an entry to Covenant School, Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn., which has become a memorial to the victims of Monday's school shooting. (AP Photo/John Amis)

The shooter who killed six people at a Nashville Christian school was under a doctor's care for an emotional disorder. Still, Audrey Hale was able to legally purchase seven firearms, three of which were used in the shootings.

Bodycam video shows Nashville police entering the building at Covenant Christian school, racing to the gunfire to confront and take down the shooter following Monday's deadly rampage. Officers Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo located and killed the shooter.

Witnesses in the community jumped in to help students and teachers flee as the shooting unfolded.

Katy Robbins said children and a teacher sprinted across the street and huddled by a gate near her home. "The little boy said, 'Help me get inside, help me get inside, how can I get inside,'" explained Robbins.

Actress Melissa Joan Hart also helped students escape. "We helped all these tiny little kids cross the road and get (to) their teachers," said Hart. "We helped a mom reunite with her children."

Police revealed Tuesday the shooter Audrey Hale was suffering from an emotional disorder. And DailyMail.com reports that the shooter, who identified as transgender, was at odds with her Christian parents over the issue. Police are continuing their investigation into a motive for the attack. 

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Paige Patton, Hale's childhood friend said the shooter messaged her just before the shooting. "The messages read, 'I'm planning to die today,'" Patton told media outlets. She tried to convince Hale not to do it and then informed authorities, but it was too late.

Hale had purchased seven guns legally, using three of them in the shooting. It's all reigniting the heated debate about gun control.

President Biden has been calling for a ban on assault weapons and has repeatedly pointed out the GOP's refusal to do so. "There's a moral price to pay for inaction," Biden said Tuesday.

The shooting has brought the issue of security at private schools to the forefront as many assumed these schools safer.

"I don't think anyone of us are immune to the inevitable violence that is just permeating our society," Dr. Larry Taylor, President of the Association of Christian Schools International said during an appearance on CBN's Faith Nation. "I think the research shows that there are fewer incidents in Christian schools."

Taylor said he does not believe schools need armed security.

"I think that's obviously debatable. We have to consider the physical safety as one of the highest priorities - unfortunately one of the highest priorities today," he explained. 

Meanwhile, the Nashville community is mourning the loss of students Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs, all nine years old.

Substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, school administrator Katherine Koonce, and custodian Mike Hill, a father of seven are also being remembered.

Prayers are being offered from around the country along with vigils being held throughout Nashville.

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"Lord, when babies die at a church school, it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers," U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black said during the opening session of Congress Tuesday.

Chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team are in the city to minister to families and the community.

"This morning as I met with the church in watching elementary and preschool parents take their children into school, moms and dads, they left crying," said Rapid Response Team Chaplain Coordinator James Kilgore. "Will their children be there tonight? Will they call them to pick them up because someone has tried to hurt them?"

A group of chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association pray with a Metro police officer standing guard at the entry of The Covenant School, Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)

The group has set up a mobile command center to assist the shattered community.

"They can come by and stop and talk to and pray with and just share their heart," said Kilgore. "Right now is the time that people need to be listened to, share their stories, share their hurt and their pain so that they can find that healing again."

Click here to learn more about the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. If you need someone to talk to about this tragedy, their 24-hour prayer line is: 1-888-388-2683.

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