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A former teammate of the transgender suspect in the murders of three children and three adults at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, said she received a message from the suspect before the killings.
She spoke to CNN reporter Don Lemon on Monday and revealed that she received the cryptic message on Instagram.
Averianna Patton, a former basketball teammate of the alleged shooter Audrey Hale, said she received the message at 9:57 a.m. and sent a screenshot of the message to her dad at 10:08 a.m. when he said she should call a suicide prevention hotline.
At 10:13 a.m., Patton phoned the Nashville Davidson County Sherriff’s Office and then called the non-emergency line at 10:14 a.m.
“I just couldn’t believe it like I know that I did, I tried to reach out you know not even knowing that it was her. I just didn’t don’t know,” Patton said to CNN.
“So basically that post I made on here about you, that was basically a suicide note. I’m planning to die today,” Hale, going by the name Aiden, said to Patton on Instagram.
“THIS IS NOT A JOKE!!!” Hale said. “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.” She said, signing it “Audrey (Aiden).”
“Audrey! You have so much more life to live. I pray God keeps and covers you,” Patton responded.
“I know but I don’t want to live. I’m so sorry. I’m not trying to upset you or get attention. I just need to die. I wanted to tell you first because you are the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen and known all my life,” Hale said.
“My family doesn’t know what I’m about to do. One day this will make more sense. I’ve left more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen,” the murderer said.
“I tried to comfort and encourage her and subsequently reached out to the Suicide Prevention Help Line after being instructed to by my father at 10:08 a.m.,” Patton said to NewsChannel 5.
“Audrey has shared with others that she had been suicidal in the past and I knew to take this serious,” she said.
“I called Nashville’s non-emergency line at 10:14 a.m. and was on hold for nearly seven minutes before speaking with someone who said that they would send an officer to my home. An officer did not come to my home until 3:29 p.m.,” she said.
“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,” the friend said.
“My heart is with all of the families affected and I’m devastated by what has happened,” she said.
NEW: Audrey Hale reached out to Averianna Patton, a former basketball teammate moments before committing the mass shooting at Covenant School in Nashville. https://t.co/xEji0aPmDD pic.twitter.com/auMA60CdDU
— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) March 28, 2023
Monday’s shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, unfolded over about 14 minutes, according to police, and spanned two floors of the private Christian elementary school.
Metropolitan Nashville Police released surveillance video showing the moment the shooter — who authorities said had three firearms — arrived at the school, shot through glass doors, and climbed through to get inside. The video goes on to show the suspect walking through the hallways, pointing an assault-style weapon.
Police got the first call about an active shooter inside Covenant school at 10:13 a.m. local time, police spokesperson Don Aaron said and rushed to the scene. The first five responding officers heard gunfire coming from the second floor.
They went upstairs and confronted the shooter, who “had been firing through a window at arriving police cars,” police said in a news release. Two officers then opened fire, killing the shooter at 10:27 a.m. local time, Aaron said.
Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake commended the five officers for their quick response.
“I was hoping this day would never ever come here in the city. But we will never wait to make entry and to go in and to stop a threat especially when it deals with our children,” he said.