Friend says Nashville shooter texted her ‘I’m planning to die today’ minutes before shooting
The 28-year-old who shot and killed three students and three staff members at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., texted an acquaintance before the shooting that she was “planning to die today,” ABC News reported Tuesday.
Paige Patton, a Nashville radio host known by the name Averianna, told the outlet that Audrey Hale texted her just minutes before the shooting began, leading Patton to contact local authorities. But officials were unable to speak to Patton until after the shooting ended.
“I’m planning to die today. This is not a joke. You will probably hear about me on the news after I die,” Hale reportedly texted Patton just before 10 a.m. on Monday, right before she entered the school.
Patton said she and Hale played basketball together in eighth grade and occasionally stayed in touch after, according to ABC. She said she texted Hale back saying, “Audrey, you have so much more life to live.”
“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 replied.
Surveillance footage released Monday showed Hale shooting through glass doors to enter the school. Hale was armed with two assault-style weapons and a handgun.
Police responded immediately after they were alerted to the shooting at 10:13 a.m. and confronted Hale on the second floor of the school. They shot and killed Hale shortly after.
Patton told ABC that she sent screenshots of Hale’s texts to Hale’s father and asked if she should call someone. The father told Patton to call a suicide prevention line, which directed Patton to call local authorities about the messages.
She said she had heard that Hale considered suicide throughout the years.
Patton was told that the officials would send someone to review the screenshots, but no one came until the afternoon, hours after the shooting happened.
“I just wanted to get help — I didn’t really know the severity of it. Just something in me told me, like, ‘You need to make these phone calls. You need to do what needs to be done.’ And I did the best I could,” Patton told the news outlet.
Police have said Hale was a former student at the school but have not identified a motive for the shooting.
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