Nashville Shooter Sent Alarming Messages to Ex-Teammate. Then Teammate Called Cops, Was Put on Hold During Attack

The shooter opened fire inside the Covenant School, killing six innocent people, including three children

A former middle school basketball teammate of the Nashville school shooter says she received alarming messages from the assailant before Monday's attack. The ex-teammate called authorities, but said she was placed on hold while the shooting unfolded, according to reports.

The shooter, identified as Audrey Hale, allegedly sent chilling messages to Averianna Patton on Instagram just before 10 a.m. detailing a plan to die by suicide. The shooter told Patton that Patton would "probably hear about me on the news," according to screenshots of the conversation provided to News Channel 5.

In follow-up messages, the shooter wrote, "This is my last goodbye. I love you … See you again in another life."

"One day this will make more sense," the shooter added. "I've left more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen."

Patton told News Channel 5 that she tried to comfort her former teammate and contacted the Suicide Prevention Help Line at about 10:08 a.m. By 10:13 — when the first calls came in reporting the shooting at the Covenant School to authorities — Patton had contacted the Nashville Davidson County Sheriff's Office and had been told to call Nashville's non-emergency line.

Patton told the outlet: "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."

The Covenant School shooting
Shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, USA. HAMILTON MATTHEW MASTERS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Patton told CNN's Don Lemon that she's not sure why the shooter reached out to her.

"I'm an influencer here in Nashville. I worked in radio [and] I do news. [The shooter] was most recently at my TV show. I mean, to give you a direct answer, I'm asking God the same question."

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The gender of the assailant is unclear. Police initially referred to the shooter as a female, and then said the assailant identifies as transgender. CNN reports a police spokesperson told the station Hale used male pronouns on a social media profile.

Nashville authorities have confirmed that the shooter gained entrance to the Covenant School by shooting through a glass door before killing six people. Two police officers responding to the scene engaged the shooter on the second floor of the building, killing the assailant.

The shooter had two "assault-type rifles" and one pistol, said Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron, adding that the shooter was dead by 10:27 a.m.

Prior to identifying the shooter, police announced that the victims were Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, Hallie Scruggs, 9, William Kinney, 9, Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61.

According to its website, The Covenant School was founded in 2001 by the Covenant Presbyterian Church, and the average enrollment is 195-210.

According to statistics from the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are shot, regardless of the number of fatalities, there were 128 mass shootings in 2023 as of Monday morning.

How to help

You can donate to the families of the victims through the The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. ViVE and VictimsFirst have also created GoFundMe pages for donations. Both fundraisers are verified.

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