Nashville shooter’s Instagram posts warned friend of ‘something bad’
Hale sent the messages to Patton less than 20 minutes before police received the first 911 call about shootings at the Covenant School. Copies were shared with The Washington Post.
For Patton, the messages were alarming and confusing. She had known Hale since middle school, when they played basketball together. The two later attended the same high school, the Nashville School of the Arts, but didn’t really speak other than exchanging hellos in the hallways.
Police: Nashville shooter was under medical care for ’emotional disorder’
As adults, they were connected on social media but were not close. Patton didn’t have Hale’s phone number or address. Last month, when Patton, a radio personality, was taping a live show, Hale showed up. A few weeks ago, they saw each other at a rally to memorialize a former basketball teammate who died last year, Patton said.
When Patton received the messages on Monday morning, she tried to respond confidently, saying Hale still had a lot of life to live.
“I’m not trying to upset you or get your attention. I just need to die,” was the response.
“One day it will make more sense… But something bad is about to happen. Forgive me.”
Patton said other friends had told her in the past that Hale had thought about suicide. She immediately contacted her father, who told her to call a suicide prevention hotline. She called but was told to contact the sheriff’s office non-emergency line as she was not the person in danger.
She called this number at 10:14 a.m. and was put on hold for several minutes. She told the operator she had a friend who was going to kill himself and asked them to check on Hale, Patton said, but she had no address or phone number to give them. (A spokesperson for the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Officers attended Patton’s home later that afternoon to follow up, but she was not there when they arrived, she said.
By then Hale had blown through the glass of some of the Covenant School doors. Authorities said Monday morning’s carnage ended when officers confronted and killed Hale on the second floor of the school.
Patton, 28, is puzzled as to why Hale contacted her before the massacre. “I always ask God the same question,” she says.
The Nashville School Shooting
What happened: A former Covenant School student in Nashville opened fire in a rampage that killed six adults and students. Nashville police body camera footage released shows officers confronting and opening fire on the shooter. Experts say the police response to the Nashville school shooting was “the exact opposite” of how police reacted to the Uvalde massacre.
The victims: Three 9-year-old children, who were students at the school, and three adult members of staff – the school principal, a substitute teacher and a caretaker – were killed. Here’s everything we know about the victims.
The shooter: Police identified the shooter as 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale of Nashville. Hale was transgender, according to the police chief. Hale had planned the filming in advance, authorities say, as the assembled maps of the facility indicate. Prior to filming, Hale warned a friend about “something bad” in Instagram posts. A motive is currently unknown.