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Chief Says Nashville School Shooter Had More Targets, Detailed Plan For Attacking Grade School

Nashville, TN – Authorities have been releasing more details about what led up to the massacre at a Christian grade school in Nashville on Monday and the shooter who carefully planned her murder spree.

A middle school friend of the shooter said she received a private message via Instagram from the would-be killer at 9:57 a.m. on March 27, just 20 minutes before the first 911 call reporting the active shooter was received by police, NBC News reported.

The friend, Averianna Patton, said the transgender woman, who has since been identified as The Covenant School killer, wrote that she didn’t want to live anymore and that her family knew nothing about what was about to happen.

Screenshots of the messages showed that Patton tried to be supportive of her friend but she told authorities she became increasingly alarmed.

The shooter signed her messages to Patton with both her female name and her male name and in her last message, asked for forgiveness and warned something bad was about to happen, according to NBC News.

Patton showed the messages to her father and asked him if she should contact the authorities.

“He text back, ‘YES’ in all caps. So after that, that’s when I started making calls,” Patton told NBC News.

Patton said she first called the suicide prevention hotline, but they told her to call the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.

She said that office told her to call a nonemergency number and when she did that, she was told that a deputy would come to her home to talk to her about her concerns, NBC News reported.

But no deputies arrived before Patton left to attend a meeting hours later and by the time she got home, her childhood friend had been identified as the mass shooter at The Covenant School.

“I’m trying to still understand… Just to learn that I received a message before, it’s just like, ‘Wow,'” she said. “Just pray, just pray.”

Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) Chief John Drake said the 28-year-old transgender woman who fatally shot three children and three adults at The Covenant School inside a Presbyterian church had purchased seven firearms ahead of her shooting spree, CBS News reported.

Chief Drake told reporters at a press conference on March 28 that the suspect legally purchased seven weapons from five different stores over the past several years.

The chief said the shooter used three of those weapons in her planned massacre at the Christian grade school on March 27, CBS News reported.

Her said her parents claimed to have had no idea that their transgender daughter had bought so many guns.

“They felt that she had one weapon and that she sold it,” Chief Drake explained.

He said the suspect had been receiving treatment for an “emotional disorder” but that treatment hadn’t been reported to authorities, CBS News reported.

Chief Drake said that “a manifesto” found in the suspect’s vehicle and other notes found inside the shooter’s residence showed that she had been planning to commit a massacre at another location, too, but had eliminated it because of logistical problems.

The police chief said other targets included family members and a nearby shopping mall, CBS News reported.

Authorities also found more weapons inside the home on Brightwood Avenue, according to Chief Drake.

He said there was a map of the school found that detailed entry points and how to avoid being detected, CBS News reported.

The violent shooting spree that occurred inside the school for children in preschool through 6th grade was captured on officers’ bodycams and released to the public on Tuesday.

Nashville police said officers responded to the private grade school located in the Covenant Presbyterian Church on Burton Hills Boulevard in Nashville for an “active shooter” at about 10:15 a.m. on March 27, The New York Times reported.

Chief Drake said that the shooter had attended the school at one time, although officials have not released the exact dates.

He said that her parents had indicated she had a problem with the school and said the fact that she had targeted the headmistress and murdered her was not a coincidence.

Three children and three adults were shot before police arrived on the scene, WSMV reported.

Police said the shooter was armed with two “assault-style rifles and a handgun” on the second floor of the grade school when officers arrived, NBC News reported.

She was confronted by five officers.

Chief Drake said two of the officers opened fire and fatally shot the active shooter at 10:27 a.m., NBC News reported.

The wounded children and adults were rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where they were pronounced dead upon arrival.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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