Warning: This report contains details that some may consider graphic in nature.
Terrifying 911 audio from inside Nashville’s Covenant School sheds light on the horrifying moments children and staff spent hiding from the shooter who unleashed terror and left six dead earlier this week.
The 12 minutes of audio, released Thursday by Metro Nashville Police Department, paint a chilling picture of the fear felt amongst those present during the 14 minutes of Audrey Hale’s attack at the private elementary school Monday.
Three 9-year-olds and three school staffers were killed before Hale was shot down by attending police officers.
In the second of three 911 calls released, an adult woman’s voice can be heard amid the sound of an alarm blaring in the background.
“I think we hear gunshots,” she tells the dispatcher in the call, which was placed at 10:12 a.m. local time.
Surveillance footage from outside the school showed heavily armed Hale shooting into a locked side door around 10:10 a.m. before slipping into the building.
Gunfire can be heard in the background of the 911 call, as the woman tells the dispatcher: “It sounds like somebody’s shooting guns.”
“It sounds like they stopped at the moment,” the caller then adds.
Someone who sounds like a child can be heard whimpering in the background.
Moments later, someone can be heard saying they “want to go home.”
Asked if the woman was in a safe spot, she responds: “I think so.”
“We’re in the art room closet. I hear another shot, I’m hearing more shots.”
She tells the dispatcher she’s with others in the upstairs area of the school in the art room hallway.
“Please hurry I’m hearing shots,” she continues, “and they sound kind of close.”
The dispatcher reminds the woman to try to stay quiet, at which point she can be heard whispering, “Be quiet.”
In another call, also placed at 10:12 a.m., a person tells a dispatcher he and others had left the church, which is on the same property as the school, with several pre-school-aged children upon learning about the active shooter threat.
“It’s in the school,” a caller can be heard saying, as several other voices interject.
“He shot the windows out into the school,” a different person tells the dispatcher during the same call.
“All I saw was a man holding an assault rifle shooting through the door … white man, camouflage, he had a vest on and an assault rifle.”
Minutes later, a different person says the attacker was “shooting at an upstairs hallway.”
“A lot of shots … I heard about 10 and I left the building,” the woman said.
The group went on to tell the dispatcher they left with about six kids, and there were an estimated 200 inside the school.
The callers went on to describe how the attacker was “shooting through windows.”
A third 911 caller, who phoned police at 10:13 a.m. told the dispatcher he was inside the school.
“I’m on the second floor in a room,” he can be heard saying. “I think the shooter’s on the second floor.”
Police arrived and shot Hale within minutes of the attack.
Hale, who was transgender, told a friend shortly before the attack that a prior message was “basically a suicide note.”
“I’m planning to die today,” according to the messages, obtained by NewsChannel 5.
Nine-year-olds Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney were killed in the assault, as well as school janitor Mike Hill, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak and headmistress Katherine Koonce, who reportedly ran toward the shooter to try to protect the school.
Hale left behind a manifesto as well as detailed maps of the school she methodically planned to attack.
A local official told The Post the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit is reviewing Hale’s manifesto.
Speaking to The Post Thursday, Metro Nashville Council Member Courtney Johnston, acknowledged that the timing was currently “more appropriate for supporting the community and mourning and, and just allowing ourselves to be sad and and take care of each other.”
But she emphasized the need to “call for attention” to the “multi-faceted” issues surrounding Monday’s events.
Follow The Post’s coverage of the school shooting in Nashville
“It makes me sad that we’re in a situation that it apparently is appropriate or necessary to talk to very young children about the possibility of an active shooter, that takes away part of their innocence,” she said as she grew emotional.
“It’s sad. It’s a travesty that our students, our children have to be talked to about such evil, and their introduction to evils in the world have to come at such a young age.”