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Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale was believed to be planning more attacks on local mall and family members

Audrey Hale This handout video grab image courtesy of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department released on March ... (Getty)

Nashville school shooting suspect Audrey Hale was believed to have been planning other attacks on a local mall and targeting family members, it has been revealed.

Nashville Police Chief John Drake told CBS Mornings on Tuesday that investigators “strongly believe” the 28-year-old former student had other targets besides The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, where the shooter gunned down six victims on Monday.

“We strongly believe there was going to be some other targets, including maybe family members, and one of the malls here in Nashville,” said the police chief.

“And that just did not happen.”

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The police chief had said on Monday night that a manifesto left behind by the shooter indicated “there was going to be shootings at multiple locations and that the school was one of them”.

The Covenant School was then singled out for an attack while a second – undisclosed – location was apparently ruled out because it had a higher level of security, he said.

Hale allegedly drove to the elementary school just after 10am on Monday morning armed with two assault rifles and a handgun.

There, Hale broke into the school building by shooting through the glass side doors and climbing inside.

Once inside, the shooter stalked the corridors, killing three small children and three staff members.

Students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney – all aged nine – and three staff members Katherine Koonce, 60, Cynthia Peak, 61, and Mike Hill, 61, were all killed in the attack.

Responding officers fatally shot the assailant at 10.27am – 14 minutes after the first 911 call reporting an active shooter came in at 10.13am.

Police have identified the suspected shooter by their name at birth; Hale reportedly was a transgender man who used he/him pronouns, though law enforcement officials initially described the suspect as a woman in the aftermath of the shooting. Police did not provide another name but on the suspect’s social media accounts they refer to themselves as Aiden.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.