The children who were killed were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all 9 years old. The adult victims were identified as 61-year-old substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61-year-old custodian Mike Hill, and 60-year-old Katherine Koonce, who was the head of the school. The suspect was armed with at least two assault-style rifles, a handgun, and "significant ammunition," according to police.
Police believe that the shooter was a former student and that the mass shooting was a targeted attack. Authorities discovered a map of the school and writings that they consider to be a "manifesto," detailing how Hale would enter the building and proceed to take down potential victims. Police have not yet determined a motive, but investigations are ongoing.
The Covenant School, where the shooting took place, teaches preschool through sixth grade, with around 209 students and 40-50 staff members. The school does not have a school resource officer. The community is in shock, and the school said in a statement that they are "focused on loving our students, our families, our faculty and staff, and beginning the process of healing."
The White House has called on Congress to take action on gun legislation, emphasizing that "the majority of Americans want common sense gun safety laws, they want to see an assault weapons ban. These are weapons of war." President Joe Biden referred to the shooting as "a family's worst nightmare."