Murdered Nashville head teacher ran TO trans-shooter to protect her kids
The headmistress of the Nashville school who was attacked Monday by an “emotionally disturbed” former student ran to the gunfire in an attempt to save her students, it is alleged.
Katherine Koonce, the 60-year-old executive, was found dead in a hallway, which the Nashville police chief said indicated she had “a confrontation” with Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old transgender person.
At 10:13 a.m. Monday, Hale shot through the locked glass door at the entrance to The Covenant School and the alarm was raised. Hale then began looking for victims — chosen at random, police said — and was seen on surveillance footage walking the halls, assault rifle in hand.
Russ Pulley, a member of the Nashville City Council and a former FBI agent, said Koonce tried to save her students.
Katherine Koonce, principal of the school, was among those shot dead by Hale
“The director, Dr. Koonce, upon hearing the first shots, ran towards danger,” he wrote on Facebook.
She also made sure the school was prepared with active shooting training and protocols. Those actions have saved countless lives.”
Pulley told Fox News Digital that Koonce was on a Zoom call when Hale burst in.
Russ Pulley, a member of the Nashville City Council, said Koonce died protecting her students
“I understand from a witness at the school that Katherine Koonce was talking on Zoom when she heard the first shot,” Pulley said.
She ended the call immediately, got up and headed straight for the shooter.
“She did what principals and principals do; she protected her children.
In addition, she prepared the school by taking active shooting training at an advanced level and by consulting witnesses at the scene. This protocol, the details of which I cannot give, has saved countless lives.’
John Drake, the chief of the Nashville Police Department, said Tuesday he had no doubt she was approaching danger — though he didn’t have precise details.
“There was a confrontation, I’m sure—you can see her 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 in her care,” John Bourgeois said in a note 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 men. Police and Hale’s parents refer to the 28-year-old as ‘she’, but some online profiles suggest Hale called ‘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 of the Presbyterian church affiliated with the school
Tributes have poured in for a second victim, Will Kinney, (pictured), who was shot and killed along with Hallie Scruggs and Evelyn Dieckhaus, all aged 9, during the massacre
Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, was one of the victims who was shot dead
Hill, the custodian, was shot and killed when the gunman unleashed a barrage of bullets into the locked glass doors to enter the school, Drake said.
‘I don’t know the details yet. But I feel that, if all goes well, Mike’s sacrifice saved lives,” said Tim Dunavant, a pastor at Hartsville First United Methodist Church, who hired Hill 13 years ago at the Covenant School.
“I have nothing factual to base that on. I just know what kind of man he was. And I know he’s the kind of man who would.’
An image emerges of Hale as a deeply troubled young person who was angry with 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 she had a gun at one point but told her to sell it because they didn’t think she could 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 entered the school through a locked door (pictured).
The photo shows debris from Hale’s forced entrance to the school. The 28-year-old shot through the locked door of the school
Instead, she hid and added to her stash, buying a total of seven different guns 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 clear that she is not allowed to own guns.”
Authorities also confirmed that Hale’s mother had asked her what was in a red backpack she was wearing on the morning of the murders, but she declined her question.
Hale then took three of her weapons to The Covenant School: two rifles and a pistol.
On Tuesday, two more guns were removed from the home in a video obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com.
Drake said of her family, “They felt like she had one gun and she sold it. She was under medical treatment for an emotional disorder.
“Her parents thought she shouldn’t have guns, and they thought she didn’t have any anymore.
“But she hid several around the house.”