From hugging stuffed animals to school shooter: how Audrey Hale changed in nine years

Audrey Hale cited a popular children’s book in her yearbook.
WSMV's Jeremy Finley reports.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:25 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 4:39 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Audrey Hale, who police say killed three children and three staff members at The Covenant School Monday, cited a quote from a popular children’s book in her yearbook and hugged stuffed animals in a photo.

While most people change considerably since high school, the photos show the drastic change from smiling senior to the killer of children and school staff.

A photo of Audrey Hale in her 2014 Nashville of the Arts yearbook.
A photo of Audrey Hale in her 2014 Nashville of the Arts yearbook.(WSMV)

In a 911 call released Thursday, Hale’s middle school friend Avrianna Patton called authorities and repeated what she’d said after the shooting, that Hale had sent her troubling Instagram messages.

“I received a very, very weird message from a friend on Instagram. I think it’s like a suicidal thing. I just don’t want it on my conscience if somebody can go check on her. Only thing I have is her Instagram. I went to school with her in middle school. Uh, but I don’t, I don’t know no friends, no numbers or anything like that,” Patton can be heard saying.

The 9-1-1 operator said without an address, they were unable to do anything.

Once a student at The Covenant School herself, Hale would go on to attend Isaiah T. Creswell Middle School from 2006 to 2009 and then attend the Nashville School of the Arts from 2010 to 2014.

Hale would later graduate from the Nossi College of Art and Design.

After the shooting, police say they discovered a manifesto from Hale.

Metro Councilman Robert Swope, who serves on the city’s public safety committee, said that the FBI was examining the manifesto.

“I also think it’s very important that the proper subject matter experts in behavior and emotional disorders review everything they can about this shooter’s life. Including the manifesto,” Swope said.