Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Nashville School Shooter

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Nashville School Shooter Not Shooter

Does this photo show the Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale holding a protest sign that says, "TRANS RIGHTS ...OR ELSE?" with a graphic of five long guns in the colors of the trans flag stripes? No, that's not true: This photo was taken at a protest in Oklahoma City at about 11 a.m. CDT on March 27, 2023, the same morning the shooting took place at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, just after 10 a.m. The shooter, Audrey Hale, was killed by police at the scene at about 10:27 a.m. CDT.

The photo of the protester in Oklahoma City was taken by Twitter user @ChesterTweet. The image was the first of a thread (archived here) of several photos and videos from the March 27, 2023, "Bigotry is Bad for Business" protest. The photo was posted at 6:24 p.m. on March 27, 2023, and has since been deleted. Screenshots of the protest photo with captions wrongly identifying the person in the picture as the Nashville shooter began to circulate soon after. One example is a tweet (archived here) published by Deplorable4trump2024 at 7:53 p.m. on March 27, 2023. The tweet was captioned:

This is the trans shooter, Audrey Hale.

The Feds are in the middle of trying to scrub ALL of her social media & pictures from the internet.

This person was a TRANS TERRORIST using that as a REASON to kill Christians, as the sign makes clear. 'TRANS RIGHTS OR ELSE...'

As a society, we have to STOP enabling MENTAL ILLNESS as 'normal'

Because it's NOT.


This is what the post looked like on Twitter at the time of writing:

Twitter screenshot

(Source: Twitter screenshot taken on Wed Mar 29 13:47:03 2023 UTC)

The photographer, Chelsea, who requested to not be identified by her full name, was interviewed by AP News for a verification article. They reported that she said the photo was taken at about 11 a.m. CDT. Chelsea quote-tweeted (archived here) the Deplorable4trump2024 tweet to correct the record. On March 28, 2023, she wrote:

This is false. The person pictured in the photo on the left is NOT the shooter. I took the pic in OKC while the shooting was taking place in Nashville. I spoke with a journalist from
@AP this morning who will be clarifying this information.

This is how that quote-tweet appeared at the time of writing:


(Image source: Twitter screenshot taken on Wed Mar 29 15:21:44 2023 UTC)

On the day of the shooting, it was several hours before the public knew the shooter's identity. A March 27, 2023, Metropolitan Nashville Police Department media release identified the shooter this way:

The shooter, Audrey Elizabeth Hale, 28, who attended the school years ago, arrived on campus in her Honda Fit. She was heavily armed with three guns, two of them assault-type weapons, and, as seen in surveillance video, shot her way into the church/school through doors on the side of the building.

Hale's social media profiles contained a mix of first names, both Audrey and Aiden. Now deactivated, the LinkedIn profile for Audrey Hale (pictured below) listed he/him pronouns and linked to other social media accounts with the username Aiden Creates.


(Image source: Twitter screenshot taken on Wed Mar 29 17:18:51 2023 UTC)

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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