Murdered Nashville headteacher ran TOWARDS trans shooter to protect her children
The headmistress of the Nashville school attacked on Monday by an ’emotionally disturbed’ former student ran towards the gunfire in a bid to save her pupils, it has been claimed.
Katherine Koonce, the 60-year-old principal, was found lying dead inside a corridor, which Nashville police chief said indicated she had ‘a confrontation’ with Audrey Hale, a transgender 28-year-old.
Hale shot through the locked glass door at the entrance to The Covenant School at 10:13am on Monday, and the alarm was raised. Hale then began prowling for victims – chosen at random, police said – and was seen on surveillance footage walking through the corridors, assault rifle in hand.
Russ Pulley, a member of Nashville city council and a former FBI agent, said Koonce tried to save her students.
Katherine Koonce, head of school, was among those shot dead by Hale
‘The headmaster, Dr. Koonce, upon hearing the first shots, ran toward the danger,’ he wrote on Facebook.
‘She also made sure the school was prepared with active shooter training and protocols. Those actions saved countless lives.’
Pulley told Fox News Digital that Koonce was on a Zoom call when Hale burst in.
Russ Pulley, a member of Nashville city council, said Koonce died protecting her students
‘It is my understanding from a witness at the school, that Katherine Koonce was on a Zoom call when she heard the first shot,’ said Pulley.
‘She immediately ended the call, got up, and headed straight for the shooter.
‘She did what principals and headmasters do; she protected her children.
‘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.’
John Drake, the chief of Nashville police, said on Tuesday that he had no doubt she moved towards the danger – although he did not have precise details.
‘There was a confrontation, I’m sure – you can tell the way she was lying in the hallway,’ Drake said.
The pastor of Koonce’s church, West End Community Church, paid tribute to her sacrifice.
‘She gave her life in defense of the children under her care,’ said John Bourgeois, in a note sent to church members.
Two other school employees – Cynthia Peak, a 61-year-old substitute teacher, and Mike Hill, a 61-year-old custodian – were also killed in the shooting.
Three nine-year-olds were killed.
Hale’s LinkedIn profile suggested they were now living as a man. Police and Hale’s parents refer to the 28-year-old as ‘she’, but some online profiles suggest Hale went by ‘Aiden’
Cynthia Peak (left, with daughter Ellie), and Mike Hill, a custodian (right) were among those shot dead by Audrey Hale
Hallie Scruggs is one of three nine-year-olds killed in Monday’s shooting. She is seen with her father Chad Scruggs, the pastor at the Presbyterian church affiliated with the school
Tributes have flooded in for a second victim, Will Kinney, (pictured), who was shot and killed along with Hallie Scruggs and Evelyn Dieckhaus, all aged 9, in the massacre
Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, was one of the victims shot and killed
Hill, the custodian, was shot and killed as the shooter let loose a barrage of bullets into the locked glass doors to get into the school, Drake said.
‘I don’t know the details yet. But I have a feeling, when it all comes out, Mike’s sacrifice saved lives,’ said Tim Dunavant, a pastor at Hartsville First United Methodist Church, who hired Hill at the Covenant School 13 years ago.
‘I have nothing factual to base that upon. I just know what kind of guy he was. And I know he’s the kind of guy that would do that.’
A picture is emerging of Hale as a deeply troubled young person who was angry at her parents for her Christian upbringing.
Drake said there was ‘resentment’ in the manifesto.
Hale’s parents, church coordinator Norma, 61, and her husband Ronald, 64, knew that she had a weapon at one time, but told her to sell it because they thought she couldn’t be trusted with it.
Ronald and Norma Hale told police they were unaware their daughter still had guns
Hale was identified from her car, parked at the school
The 28-year-old shot through a locked door (pictured) to enter the school
Debris from Hale’s forced entrance of the school is pictured. The 28-year-old shot through the locked door of the school
Instead, she hid her stockpile and added to it, buying seven different weapons in total from five local stores.
Hale was being treated for an emotional disorder, the Nashville police chief said.
Chief Drake said: ‘Law enforcement knew nothing about the treatment, and it is apparent that she should not own weapons”.
Authorities also confirmed that Hale’s mother had asked her what was in a red backpack she was carrying on the morning of the murders but she dismissed her question.
Hale then took three of her weapons to The Covenant School – two rifles and a handgun.
Another two weapons were seen being removed from the house on Tuesday in a video obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com.
Drake said of her family: ‘They felt she had one weapon and that she had sold it. She was under doctors’ care for an emotional disorder.
‘Her parents felt like she should not own weapons, and they were under the impression that she didn’t own any anymore.
‘But she had been hiding several within the house.’
Source of data and images: dailymail