A former pastor of the Covenant school has claimed that trans shooter Audrey Hale was receiving counseling sessions with the father of one of her victims.
Hale, 28, opened fire at the private school in Nashville on Monday, killing three children and three staff members.
Ex-pastor at the school Jim Bachmann has now claimed that she was receiving private sessions from the current pastor of the school – Chad Scruggs.
His daughter, Hallie, 9, was one of the children gunned down in the brutal attack, and police still say they still do not have an official motive for the incident.
However these claims have been denied by the Covenant School, with a spokesperson telling DailyMail.com: ‘Metro Nashville Police have been clear that no one was targeted in the shooting, and Pastor Scruggs was not counseling the shooter.
Hallie Scruggs, 9, was killed in the shooting and is pictured with her father, a pastor at the church, Chad Scruggs
Ex-pastor at the school Jim Bachmann has now claimed that Hale (pictured) was roaming the corridors looking for Pastor Scrugg
‘The former pastor had said on a television program he had heard that, but it is not accurate and is based on hearsay, not fact.’
Authorities did say that Hale had planned to attack more than one location – including a mall and another school – and now Bachmann has told InsideEdition that she could have been targeting Pastor Scruggs’ other three children.
He added that Pastor Scruggs had been providing her with counseling, adding that Hale ‘appeared to be searching the school’ for him.
However he was not on-site at the time, and Bachmann speculated that Hale would have ‘left his daughter alone’ had she been able to find Scruggs.
Bachmann said: ‘I’m hearing he was providing counseling for her, and something didn’t sit right with her, and so she targeted his daughter and perhaps his two sons that attend another private school.
‘If she’d found Chad and tried to kill him, maybe she would have left his daughter alone, I don’t know.
‘She was a very normal, happy-go-lucky little girl who liked to play kickball with the boys, and her parents were wonderful people.’
Pastor Scruggs and his wife also share three sons older than Hallie, with at least one previously attending the Covenant.
Hale, 28, opened fire at the private school in Nashville on Monday, killing three children and three staff members. Pictured right: Hale at the Covenant School
Bachmann told InsideEdition that Pastor Scruggs had been providing her with counselling, adding that she ‘appeared to be searching the school’ for him
It is unclear where Pastor Scruggs was at the time of the shooting.
A family member of Audrey Hale told DailyMail.com she had ‘heard nothing’ about the shooter supposedly undergoing counseling sessions with Chad Scruggs, pastor at The Covenant School and father of victim Hallie, nine.
‘I don’t’ know anything about that. I haven’t heard anything like that, ‘ said the relative.
Friends and neighbors at the Scruggs’ family home said they were similarly shocked to hear of the claims made by former Covenant pastor, Jim Bachmann, in an interview Wednesday night with Inside Edition.
Bachmann speculated that Hale was targeting Scruggs but shot Hallie instead after failing to locate her father on school premises.
‘They have asked for some space. We haven’t heard anything about that at all,’ said a family friend.
Hallie’s grandmother Sharon Scruggs declined to comment.
Tributes have flooded in for little Hallie, and for the two other children killed in the shooting – William Kinney and Evelyn Dieckhaus, both 9.
Hallie Scruggs is seen with her father Chad Scruggs, the pastor at the Presbyterian church affiliated with the school, her mother and three older brothers
Tributes have flooded in for a second victim, Will Kinney, (pictured) who was shot and killed along with Hallie Scruggs, both 9, in the massacre
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.’
Katherine Koonce, head of school (left), and Cynthia Peak, a substitute teacher (right) were among those shot dead by Audrey Hale
Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, was one of the victims shot by transgender shooter Audrey Hale, 28, after she opened fire at the private Christian school on Monday
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.
She took three of her weapons to The Covenant School – two rifles and a handgun.
Another two weapons were seen being removed from the house yesterday in a video obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com.
It comes after Hale was said to have been ‘infatuated’ with Sydney Sims, who played on the same basketball team as her in middle school.
Sims’ sudden death in a horrifying head-on smash last August left Hale ‘heartbroken’ and could have sent her into a murderous spiral, according to a report published Wednesday.
But Sims’ twin sister Taylor Sims, 28, has ripped the story on a private Instagram message obtained by DailyMail.com.
‘Please don’t attach such a nasty, disgusting tragedy to my sister’s name,’ she wrote. ‘This is very sick and just goes to show people talk. Please leave my sister out of it.’
The daughter of Mike Hill (pictured), who had worked at the school for more than a decade, said that she ‘never thought’ he would be killed in a mass shooting
Ronald and Norma Hale told police they did not know Audrey still had any weapons – with the shooter hiding seven different firearms
Hale was born female but had recently begun using he/him pronouns and the name ‘Aiden’
Posing sweetly with a bow in her hair, Audrey Hale was the picture of innocence in her eight-year-old yearbook photo from The Covenant School, the school she attacked yesterday
Samira Hardcastle, who attended the Nashville School of Arts with both girls, told the New York Post that Hale looked up to Sims and posted ‘heartbroken’ messages about her death on her now-deleted social media accounts.
She also attended the unveiling of a painting dedicated to Sims and posted a clip of herself silently bouncing a ball on TikTok with the caption: ‘For Syd. I look up the sky is bright. It’s a beautiful day. I wish you were here…’
Former friends have told DailyMail.com that while Hale may have had a crush on Sims in the past there was never any suggestion it was reciprocated.
Hale expressed similarly misplaced affection to another childhood friend, Averianna Patton, just 20 minutes prior to commencing her deranged shooting spree Monday at The Covenant School, killing three children and three adults.
‘This is my last goodbye. I love you,’ she messaged her on Instagram. ‘You are the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen and known all my life.’
In addition to the weapons found at her home, police recovered these three weapons from the scene – confirming she had bought seven legally
Pictures of Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale obtained by DailyMail.com showed her dressed up as trans star Elliot Page from Juno. Hale freshman year
Patton told CNN’s Don Lemon that she hadn’t had a relationship with the gunman since they were children.
Investigators are yet to release the manifesto warped Hale left behind before storming her former elementary school.
Hale, 28, shot and killed three children and three members of staff at The Covenant School on Monday
DailyMail.com revealed earlier this week that her trans identity caused friction with her devout Christian parents who banned her from dressing as a male in their suburban Nashville home.
A school friend of Hale also claimed that she loved to dress up as Page’s iconic character Juno – a pregnant teenager – during their time as freshmen at The Nashville School of Arts.
Hale’s classmates said that they weren’t surprised when she came out as gay or when she later decided to transition.
A yearbook photo obtained by DailyMail.com showed Hale winning ‘Most Athletic’ alongside another classmate.
Church coordinator Norma, 61, and her husband Ronald, 64, refused to let Hale as a man in their home.
The loner would instead wait until she left their $700,000 Nashville property to change outfits, according to a well-placed source.
It comes after the six victims of the tragedy have been identified, with tributes flooding in for Evelyn who desperately tried to save her classmates from the tragedy.
Her family has described her as a ‘shining light’ and said that they are ‘completely broken’ by her death.
They added that she had been desperately trying to pull the fire alarm to get help when the shooting unfolded on Monday.
Hale with her older brother Scott, who has not commented on the shooting. Neighbors say Hale was ‘sweet’ and ‘quiet’
Hale was known to be an athlete at her high school and participated in basketball and track. A yearbook photo obtained by DailyMail.com showed Hale winning ‘Most Athletic’ alongside her another classmate
After shooting her dead, the officers approached Hale. Her weapons are clearly shown, along with what appears to be an armored vest