Covenant School Killer Had Violent Outburst Prior to Attack Called Emotional ‘Leakage’ by Police During Interview with Parents

Audrey Hale

After the parents of Covenant School killer Audrey Elizabeth Hale described a violent outburst during a police interview, a Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) investigator referred to the incident as “leakage” of “anger,” in a possible reference to the “leakage of intent” researchers say is commonly displayed by mass killers.

The Tennessee Star confirmed last month it obtained the transcript of an MNPD interview with Ronald Hale and Norma Hale, the parents of Audrey Hale, which was recorded on July 12, 2023.

After Ronald Hale told MNPD investigators that Audrey Hale “got mad one time when she got scammed online,” Norma Hale provided details about the incident.

She told investigators, “I knew she thought she had a job on Etsy. She was going to do a digital picture of somebody’s dog.”

A 2022 Nossi College of Art and Design graduate, Audrey Hale, mentioned that something seemed off about the payment she received for the work explained Norma Hale, who told investigators she was preparing to drive her mother to the hospital.

Norma Hale stated that she offered her daughter advice about receiving payment, then left the family home to drive her mother to an unspecified hospital, but received an emergency phone call from Ronald Hale not long after she arrived.

“I get my mother in the hospital and Ron called me and said, ‘I think you need to come home,'” Norma Hale said.

She continued, “He said, ‘She is slamming things in her room.  She is’–you know, and I said, ‘I just got here.'”

Ronald Hale added that Audrey Hale “was yelling and kicking the door,” and Norma Hale told investigators their daughter was so distraught by the experience that she could not be understood on the phone.

Norma Hale told the investigators she could only calm Audrey Hale by promising to cover the loss in exchange for her personal involvement in all future online transactions.

One of the investigators described the incident as a “leakage of like anger” and asked the parents if it was the only time she ever displayed such anger.

Norma Hale stated that was the only time Audrey Hale displayed such aggressive behavior.

A 2017 study published in the peer-reviewed Aggression and Violent Behavior explained mass killers often display behaviors that could foreshadow an attack or provide information about target selection and motivation.

The researchers sought to establish why such “leakage” occurs, but determined, “there are likely multiple motivations for leakage, ranging from seeking attention, the desire to intimidate, a need for excitement or the simple inability to contain anxiety related to the impending violent act.”

Audrey Hale referenced her “outburst” after being scammed on the internet multiple times in the journal police recovered from her vehicle at the Covenant School, which The Star obtained from a source familiar with the investigation.

“I got scammed again. I broke my figurine,” wrote Hale. She continued, “My outburst was because I can’t stop feeling sad, angry, so sad [and] too much; too long.”

She concluded the entry, “When it’s over, I’ll be gone and in a better place – I can’t wait… My faith is weak. God, forgive me.”

Audrey Hale signed the entry as Aiden, which is the name she adopted after she decided to identify as a transgender man.

In the journal entry, which is dated January 16, 2023, Audrey Hale then appeared to reference her plan to attack the Covenant School, where she claimed the lives of six on March 27, 2023, before she was heroically shot by police.

“I hate to leave my animals. My heart; my possessions, the only real things to me in this world,” Audrey Hale wrote in part.

Audrey Hale, in other journal entries referencing the internet scam, wrote that her purported autism diagnosis made her independence impossible, created a “Freelance Failure” list of incomplete or failed business transactions, and claimed to have called a phone number associated with a suicide prevention hotline five times.

Police documents published by The Star revealed Audrey Hale was a 22-year mental health patient at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), and the police transcript revealed the killer was evaluated for medical or mental health commitment during three separate mental health crises.

Both Star News Digital Media, Inc., which owns and operates The Star, and Editor-in-Chief Michael Patrick Leahy are plaintiffs in the ongoing lawsuits that seek to compel the MNPD and the FBI to release Audrey Hale’s full writings, including those sometimes called a manifesto.

Last month, The Star published an FBI memo sent to MNPD Chief John Drake in May 2023. In the memo, the FBI urged MNPD not to release “legacy tokens” from killers like Audrey Hale. An FBI definition suggests both the journal of Audrey Hale’s writings obtained by The Star and those sought in the lawsuits are considered unfit for release by the federal agency.

While the FBI declined to confirm it sent the memo in a statement to The Star, it confirmed it sends such “products” to local law enforcement.

Since it obtained Audrey Hale’s writings and a portion of police documents, The Star has published more than 60 articles that include the killer’s own words or report new details about the Covenant investigation.

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Tom Pappert is the lead reporter for The Tennessee Star, and also reports for The Pennsylvania Daily Star and The Arizona Sun Times. Follow Tom on X/Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].






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One Thought to “Covenant School Killer Had Violent Outburst Prior to Attack Called Emotional ‘Leakage’ by Police During Interview with Parents”

  1. Ronald H. Kirkland, MD, MBA

    Angry outbursts in a mentally ill patient probably receiving “gender affirming” medications needs further investigation. What was the level of “gender affirming” medication in her bloodstream at autopsy? Could excessive medication such as testosterone or a similar medication have made her sufficiently angry to murder six people? The full records of her autopsy should be released to the public, including her blood level of “gender affirming” medication.