Amid fight over Covenant school shooting records, medical examiner releases autopsy report

Jun 12, 2023, 5:06 PM | Updated: 8:26 pm

An entrance to The Covenant School is seen Wednesday, May 24, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. The school ...

An entrance to The Covenant School is seen Wednesday, May 24, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. The school is the site where a deadly shooting in March took the lives of three 9-year-olds and three adults. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

(AP Photo/George Walker IV)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The former student who shot through the doors of a Nashville Christian elementary school in March and killed three children and three adults died from gunshot wounds to the head, torso and other parts of the body, an autopsy report released Monday showed.

The autopsy said the manner of death of 28-year-old Audrey Hale was homicide. The report — released by the medical examiner in Davidson County, which encompasses Nashville — said Hale not only had gunshot wounds but also blunt force trauma throughout the body.

Hale opened fire at the Covenant School on March 27 before being shot to death by officers.

The release of the report comes as a growing collection of groups are embroiled in a complex legal battle over the release of Hale’s writings and other documents in the police investigation. The Tennessean newspaper, a state senator, a law enforcement nonprofit and a gun-rights organization are advocating for the release in the records.

Meanwhile, a group of Covenant School parents, the Covenant School and Covenant Presbyterian Church have been allowed to intervene to fight against the publication of the documents.

On Monday, a Nashville judge declined to pause the court proceedings so that those seeking the records could wait on their appeal of a decision allowing the Covenant School parents to intervene in the case.

Chancery Court Judge I’Ashea Myles stated that the Legislature intended for public records cases to be expedited and they are not supposed to take as long as other legal battles. She said that hitting pause on the case now would undermine that intent.

Myle’s decision comes just days after Nashville attorney David Raybin, who is representing Hale’s parents, informed the judge that he was helping transfer ownership of the writings to the Covenant parents from Hales’ parents. Supporters hope that the transfer of ownership will strengthen the argument that the Covenant parents have standing to intervene and stop the release of Hale’s writings.

It is thought that the writings might reveal a motive for the attack.

According to the autopsy report, Hale was wearing a white shirt with “handwritten words, drawings and numbers written on it.” The report did not detail what the writings said, but noted handwritten words were also found on Hale’s bra.

Law enforcement has said Hale was transgender and also went by “Aiden.” The autopsy report said Hale was carrying a red pocket knife with name “AIDEN” monogrammed on it.

Police have said Hale planned the massacre for months. Hale, who fired 152 rounds during the attack, was under a doctor’s care for an undisclosed “emotional disorder,” police said. However, authorities haven’t disclosed a link between that care and the shooting.

Killed in the attack were Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all 9 years old. The three adults killed were Katherine Koonce, 60, the head of the school, and custodian Mike Hill and substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, who were 61. ___

This story has been corrected to show that the judge’s surname is Myles, not Myle.

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Amid fight over Covenant school shooting records, medical examiner releases autopsy report