The Nashville, Tennessee, school shooter told her former middle school basketball teammate that she planned to commit suicide minutes before entering the school, according to locals news outlet News Channel 5.
The suspected Covenant School shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale, a woman who is transgender and goes by “he/him” pronouns, told Averianna Patton at 9:57 a.m. in an Instagram direct message that Hale was going to die by suicide, according to News Channel 5. At 10:13 a.m., the Nashville Police Department received a call that there was an active shooter in the Covenant School.
“I’m planning to die today,” Hale wrote. “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.”
Hale shot through Covenant School doors before firing at and killing three children and three adults. Nashville Police Department officers engaged with Hale, a previous student at the school, killing her. Before attacking the school, Hale had allegedly drawn maps detailing entrance points to the building and had been surveilling the school.
“One day this will make more sense,” Hale wrote to Patton. “I’ve left behind more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen.”
Hale was suspected to be carrying two “assault-type” rifles and a handgun, according to law enforcement officials. More than 200 students attend the private Christian elementary school with about 42 staff members working at the school district.
After attempting to comfort Hale, Patton alerted the Nashville Davidson County Sheriff’s Office at 10:13 a.m. but did not receive an officer at her home until 3:29 p.m., according to News Channel 5.
“I know but I don’t want to live,” Hale wrote to Patton after she tried comforting her. “I’m so sorry. I’m not trying to upset you or get attention. I just need to die.”
“After phone calls from friends and Audrey’s name was released as the shooter at Covenant Nashville school, I learned that Audrey was the shooter and that she had reached out to me prior to the shooting,” Patton told News Channel 5. “My heart is with all of the families affected and I’m devastated by what has happened.”
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