A Nashville pastor who was seen on police body cam helping officers burst into a school where a trans gunman was on the loose has said he is thankful more students were not killed.
Matthew Sullivan was one of two staff members who bravely ushered cops into The Covenant School to stop Audrey Hale from her killing spree – in which she slaughtered three adults and three nine-year-old children.
Sullivan can be seen in bodycam footage outside the school building pointing in the direction of Hale who was still inside, it was later revealed that he’d also given police access to his key to let them in.
Sullivan told DailyMail.com that he’s ‘certainly not brave’ despite playing a key role in identifying and allowing police to take down the twisted shooter.
The school Chaplain for a small, church-run private elementary school, where six people were shot dead by trans gunman Audrey Hale said he is ‘thankful to God more students weren’t harmed’
Sullivan told DailyMail.com that he’s ‘certainly not brave’ despite playing a key role in identifying and allowing police to take down the twisted shooter
‘I’m ok but pray like you never have,’ he posted on the day of Hale’s vicious mass shooting.
On Thursday, thousands of people made their way inside the Tennessee State Capitol to demand stricter gun laws.
Among them was Sullivan’s son, Jack, who said that it was his father also provided authorities with keys to get inside adding that watching the footage of his father brought him to tears.
‘I just started crying when I saw it,’ Jack told WSMV. ‘Thinking about what he was experiencing.
‘I’m a teacher myself. I was in school and my phone started blowing up that there was shooter at my dad’s school and I was just terrified, all my thoughts running through my head.’
Jack said that his father is safe but very much still in shock from the attack, he said that Sullivan is doing all he can as a spiritual leader to families.
On Facebook Sullivan was seen posting messages of comfort to families and friends in the wake of the disturbing massacre.
‘Visiting families. Please pray for strength and comfort,’ he said on Tuesday.
Released 911 calls reveal the terror from inside Covenant School in Nashville on Monday as trans suspect Audrey Hale opened fire
On Facebook Sullivan was seen posting messages of comfort to families and friends in the wake of the disturbing massacre
On Wednesday, Sullivan paid tribute to one of the victim’s of the attack Evelyn Dieckhaus along with a photo of himself while babysitting the nine-year-old
Hale was born female but had recently begun using he/him pronouns and the name ‘Aiden’
On Wednesday, Sullivan paid tribute to one of the victim’s of the attack Evelyn Dieckhaus along with a photo of himself while babysitting the nine-year-old.
And on Friday, Sullivan marked the first funeral from the tragic event saying: ‘First funeral today. May the Lord wrap His big arms around the family through us.’
Hale, who was born female but living as a man, shot and killed three staff members and three nine-year-old students.
In one frantic 911 call, a teacher from inside a classroom held students close while hiding inside a cabinet in the art room and said: ‘We think we hear gunshots.’
Weeping students can be heard over the sound of the roaring fire alarm and distant gunshots as one child added: ‘I want to go home.’
The unidentified woman spoke in a hushed and frantic tone while answering the female dispatcher’s questions.
‘Are you in a safe spot right now?’ the dispatcher asked.
‘I think so,’ the woman responded. ‘We are in the closet.’
She quickly added: ‘I’m hearing more shots.’
Another call made from inside the school came from a male staff member hiding inside a room on the second floor where Hale was shot dead less than 15 minutes later by brave officers.
A terrified child presses her hand against the glass of a school bus window after being evacuated from The Covenant School
Terrified children peer out the windows of their school bus as they wait to be driven away from the school after the shooting
Children hold hands as they leave The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday after a female shooter opened fire, killing three kids and three staff members
‘I’m on the second floor in a room. I think the shooter is on the second floor,’ the unidentified man said as the sound of gunshots appeared to get closer.
Another one of the first 911 calls was made by a man who appeared to be outside of the school.
It’s unclear if the man was originally inside the school, but the more than five-minute call revealed he was with a female staff member and a witness who saw Hale blow bullet holes into the school doors and break in.
‘I saw a man with an assault rifle shooting through the doors,’ the witness said.
The witness said he saw the man wearing camouflage pants and a vest break into the second-grade hallway.
A woman then gets on the line and adds, ‘they are on the south side of the building… I know he’s shooting in the upstairs hallway.’
‘Approximately how many shots have you heard?’ the dispatcher asked.
‘A lot,’ the woman responded. ‘I heard about 10 and I left the building.’
The woman evacuated the school with six students and was walking them down the street, she told the dispatcher.
She estimated about 200 students were left behind.
Audrey Hale is shown after being gunned down by police on the second floor of The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, yesterday
After shooting her dead, the officers approached Hale. Her weapons are clearly shown, along with what appears to be an armored vest
Tributes have flooded in for little Hallie Scruggs, and for the two other children killed in the shooting – William Kinney and Evelyn Dieckhaus.
Headmistress Dr Katherine Koonce, 60, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61, and chef Mike Hill, 61 were also killed in the mass shooting.
Hale used the names Audrey and Aiden but her preferred pronouns were he/him according to a LinkedIn page.
Police confirmed on Tuesday that she had previously attended the school in Nashville, Tennessee, but her motive for the shooting was unclear.
Police Chief John Drake added that Hale had been suffering from an ’emotional disorder’ at the time of the shooting.
Hale has been described as having ‘high-functioning’ autism and police confirmed she was under doctors’ care.
Her parents – Norma and Ronald Hale – knew that she had a weapon at one time, but told her to sell it because they thought she couldn’t be trusted with it.
Instead, she hid her stockpile and added to it, buying seven different weapons in total from five local stores, police said.
Chief Drake added: ‘Law enforcement knew nothing about the treatment, and it is apparent that she should not own weapons.’
Authorities also confirmed that Hale’s mother, Norma, had asked her what was in a red backpack she was carrying on the morning of the murders but she dismissed her question.
Hallie Scruggs, 9, was killed in the shooting and is pictured with her father, a pastor at the church, Chad Scruggs
Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, was another victim shot on Monday. Her family said she died trying to save her friends
Will Kinney, (pictured) was shot and killed along with Hallie Scruggs, both 9, in the massacre
Mike Hill (center), who had worked at the school for more than a decade, was also killed in the mass shooting
Katherine Koonce, head of school (left), and Cynthia Peak, a substitute teacher (right) were among those shot dead by Audrey Hale
She took three of her weapons to The Covenant School – two rifles and a handgun.
A former classmate of Hale attempted to warn police that something was off with the suspect moments before she entered the school.
Averianna Patton received several disturbing messages from Audrey Hale, 28, on Instagram shortly before she started spraying bullets inside the Covenant School.
She shot and killed three students, aged 9, and three staff members at 10:10am. She sent the messages to Patton at 9:57am.
After receiving one particular message from Hale saying: ‘I’m planning to die today – you’ll probably hear about me on the news’, Patton called a suicide hotline, which then encouraged her to contact the authorities to alert them to the situation.
In her 911 call at around 10:12am – when armed officers had already arrived on the scene – she said: ‘I’m just trying to see if anybody can help. I just don’t want it on my conscience.
‘If somebody can go check on her – the only thing I have is her Instagram. Can I give you her Instagram so y’all can find her or track her that way?’
Hale’s former basketball teammate was told there was nothing officers could do to help without an address for the gunman.
Averianna Patton said she knew Hale had been suicidal in the past
Before traveling to the school, the killer sent a haunting final message to Averianna Patton on Instagram
But the Metropolitan Nashville Police has confirmed to Fox17 that at the time of the call, police were already arriving at the private Christian school to tackle the shooter.
Patton further shared the ‘suicide message’ from Hale read: ‘So basically that post I made on here about you, that was basically a suicide note.
‘I’m planning to die today. THIS IS NOT A JOKE!!! You’ll probably hear about me on the news after I die.
‘This is my last goodbye. I love you. ‘See you again in another life. Audrey (Aiden)’.
TIMELINE OF NASHVILLE SCHOOL SHOOTING
9:30am – Metro Police Chief John Drake confirmed that Audrey Hale, 28, left her parents property with a red bag. She was questioned by her mother about the bag but dismissed the question.
9:53am — Hale arrives at the Covenant School in her Honda Fit. She is seen in surveillance footage driving around the parking lot, going out of frame and parking at about 9:55 a.m.
9:57am – Hale sends a goodbye message on Instagram to Averianna Patton. The message said: ‘This is my last goodbye. I love you. See you again in another life.’ She then responds, telling Hale that she has so much more to live for.
Hale replies again, saying one day, ‘this will make more sense’ but ‘something bad is about to happen.’
10:03am – Averianna Patton calls the suicide prevention hotline to try to report the messages that she has been sent by Hale. They tell her to contact the local sheriff’s department.
10:10am – Hale approaches a side entrance to the private Christian school and shoots through the glass doors to gain entry with her two AR-style rifles and a handgun.
10:12am – Patton makes an emotional call to 911 asking them to check on Hale after the disturbing messages. She is told that there is not much officers can do without an address for her.
10:13am – First shots-fired call to 911.
10:14am – Hale walks through a school hallway and walks around the property for several minutes. She then passes the children’s ministry before firing shots at 10:21 a.m. and then walking out of the video frame.
10:24am – The first Metro Police officers arrive on the scene, with Officer Englebert unlocking the door and entering the school. The five-member tactical unit enters the school and starts its search for the shooter.
10:27am – The team of officers encounters the shooter on the second-floor atrium. Police said Hale had been firing through a window at arriving officers. Englebert, alongside Officer Michael Collazo, shot and killed Hale.