The father of trans school shooter Audrey Hale refused to address her killing spree Thursday as he finally returned to the family’s boarded-up Nashville home.
Ronald Hale, 64, was asked if he had any explanation for his daughter’s murderous rampage – but would only tell a DailyMail.com reporter: ‘Sir, I have no comment.’
Asked whether he had any words of sympathy for the grieving families of Audrey’s six victims, the ashen-faced parent stared straight ahead with an anguished look and repeated the phrase several times.
Hale and his church coordinator wife Norma, 61, fled their $700,000 residence in Nashville’s upscale Belmont-Hillsboro neighborhood after police raided it in the wake of Monday’s mass shooting at The Covenant School.
A search of the three-bed property uncovered four of the seven guns Hale had secretly stashed away at the brick, Tudor-style house where she grew up and later plotted her outrage.
Neither parent has commented publicly since then but shaken Ronald finally broke cover around lunchtime Thursday pulling into the drive and heading inside alone to collect a handful of belongings.
After loading his things into an SUV and dodging our questions, Ronald, wearing grey pants and a blue sweater, drove away.
DailyMail.com previously revealed how the devout Christian parents opposed Hale’s transition and refused to accept she was gay.
The graphic designer-turned child killer had recently started going by the name Aiden and using he/him pronouns.
‘You only see what you want to see. Their religion does not allow them to accept homosexuality,’ said a source close to the couple.
‘She was Audrey at home but when she left the house she changed clothes. They did know about it, they just didn’t accept it.’
Hale’s appearance at the family home comes as a chilling 911 call, made by a friend of Audrey Hale minutes after the murderous rampage began, was made public.
Averianna Patton received several disturbing messages from Audrey on Instagram shortly before she started spraying bullets inside the Covenant School.
She was carrying two assault weapons and a handgun and shot and killed three 9-year-old students and three staff members at 10:10am. She sent the messages to Patton just 13 minutes earlier 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.
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.
Hale, who went by both Audrey and Aiden, had already shot and killed six people by the time police arrived.
At 9.57am, 16 minutes before cops were first notified of the shooting, Audrey wrote: ‘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)’.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said that they still don’t have an official motive for the shooting.
Tributes have flooded in for the three children killed in the shooting – William Kinney, Hallie Scruggs and Evelyn Dieckhaus, both 9.
Head of School 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 Covenant School but her motive for shooting it up remains unclear.
Nashville Police Chief John Drake said 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 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.
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 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’s 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’s 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.’
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.’
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.
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 trans star Elliott 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.