Audio from a phone call made by a friend of the Nashville school shooting suspect Audrey Hale trying to report her concerns about the latter’s social media posts has been published for the first time.
Averianna Patton received a string of messages on Instagram from Hale at approximately 9.57am on Monday morning just moments before the armed assailant entered The Convent School in the Green Hills suburb of the Tennessee city and shot dead six people, including three children, before being killed by police officers.
Hale’s messages to Patton, a former basketball teammate, revealed plans to die by suicide, telling her “this is my last goodbye” and that she would soon be reading about what was then about to unfold “on the news after I die”.
“One day this will make more sense,” Hale wrote. “I’ve left behind more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen.”
Understandably alarmed by the messages, Patton subsequently told local media outlet NewsChannel5 that she contacted the Suicide Prevention Help Line to try to get help at 10.08am.
However, she has since said the hotline told her to call the Nashville Davidson County Sheriff’s Office instead because staff can only help if the person calling is suicidal.
Patton did call the Sheriff’s Office at 10.14am, while the attack was already underway, but was then told to contact the city’s non-emergency number instead, which she did only to be kept on hold for seven minutes before she could speak to someone.
In the clip of that exchange with an operator published by a Fox Nashville reporter, Patton states calmly that she received a “very, very weird” message from a friend and requests that someone be sent to check on their wellbeing.
— Amanda Chin (@amandachintv) March 29, 2023
But she is reportedly then told by the dispatcher that they cannot do anything immediately without an exact address for the person concerned but that an officer would be sent to Patton’s house later.
That did not happen until 3.29pm that afternoon, by which point the incident was over and Patton had learned about what had unfolded through media reports.
The Metro Nashville Police Department told Fox Nashville that it had received 20 calls relating to the same incident and that officers had already arrived at the school while that particular conversation with its dispatcher was ongoing.
The Suicide Prevention Help Line told Fox in a statement: “Loved ones, friends, and family members can absolutely call the line for someone they are worried about, and we want ensure that people know this is a service that meets that need.
“We are still investigating what happened at the for that particular call, to get a better understanding of the contact.”