The head of The Covenant School in Nashville reportedly ran toward an armed former student Monday in an attempt to protect “her children,”
Nashville City Councilman and a former FBI agent, Russ Pooley, said school principal, Dr. Katherine Koonce, tried to save her students against the shooter, Audrey Hale, 28, Fox News Digital reports.
“It is my understanding from a witness at the school that Katherine Koonce was on a Zoom call when she heard the first shot. She immediately ended the call, got up and headed straight for the shooter,” Pulley said.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, police said that Hale brought three guns and “significant ammunition” into the school after breaking into a side door at around 10:13 a.m. Monday morning.
Officers with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department responded within 14 minutes of a 911 call and killed Hale on the second floor of the school after Hale “engaged” with them.
Police said Hale shot and killed three children and three adults, including Koonce. The other victims have been identified as:
- Hallie Scruggs, 9
- William Kinney, 9
- Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9
- Cynthia Peak, 61
- Mike Hill, 61
“She did what principals and headmasters do; she protected her children,” Pulley continued. “In addition, she prepared the school by seeking advanced-level active-shooter training, and from witnesses at the scene, this protocol – details of which I cannot provide – saved countless lives.”
Nine-year-old Evelyn is also being called a hero after “desperately trying to pull the fire alarm” when Hale barged into a room and opened fire.
Hale previously attended The Covenant School, a Presbyterian school established in 2001, according to former headmaster Bill Campbell, who told NBC he remembers them as a third and fourth grader in 2005 and 2006. He said his collected annual does not show Hale at the school as a fifth grader.
The school has about 200 students in grades pre-K through 6.
A video released by police shows Hale driving into the school parking lot, then blasting open a side door before roaming abandoned hallways and entering an unlocked office and other doors.
Metro police identified the two officers who opened fire as four-year veteran Rex Englebert and nine-year veteran Michael Collazo.
“They heard shots coming from the second level. They immediately went to the gunfire. When the officers got to the second level, they saw a shooter, a female, who was firing. The officers engaged her. She was fatally shot by responding police officers,” Nashville police spokesperson Don Aaron said.
“The police department response was swift.”
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[Feature Photo: Top L to R: Koonce, Peak & Hill/Facebook, Handouts; Lower L to R: Evelyn, Willliam & Hallie/Handout, GoFundMe, Facebook]
Additional reporting by KC Wildmoon