A former classmate of the suspected Nashville, Tennessee, school shooter remembered his acquaintance as a “quiet” girl who “looked so innocent,” noting to the Daily Caller News Foundation that the recent events shocked him.
On Monday, 28-year-old Audrey Hale, a woman who was transgender and went by “he/him” pronouns, shot through the doors of The Covenant School and opened fire, killing three kids and three adults, before being fatally shot by police. Ashshahid Muhammad, who made the 2016 Nossi College of Art Dean’s list with Hale, told the DCNF that when he saw the news in Nashville, he couldn’t believe his former classmate was involved. (RELATED: Meet Rex Engelbert, The Fearless Officer Who Dropped The Transgender Nashville Shooter)
“I went to school with her and there was nothing negative that I saw,” Muhammad told the DCNF. “She was very quiet, stayed to herself. She was just quiet, you know, like when I heard about the shooting, when I saw the picture of the person, I couldn’t believe it was her, because, like I said, she looked so innocent. If you were around her in the school, she looked like she wouldn’t hurt a fly. She looked like just a little sweet person.”
Hale entered The Covenant School on Monday around 10:13 a.m. with two “assault-type” rifles and one handgun. Prior to the shooting, Hale had legally purchased seven firearms and was undergoing medical care for an “emotional disorder.”
Police “strongly believe” Hale had other targets such as a local mall and family members, but “too much security” turned her away. Hale, a former student at the school, “had some history there” and “possibly some resentment,” according to law enforcement officials, who will not release Hale’s manifesto.
Just minutes before shooting through the school doors, Hale messaged a former middle school basketball teammate telling her that she planned to commit suicide. Hale told her former teammate that she would see it on the news and that she wasn’t trying to “get attention.”
“Another thing I learned by going to Nossi, artists are sensitive people,” Muhammad told the DCNF. “That’s something I learned from being an artist myself, that people who are very creative, they’re sensitive people. It just hurts, not just me knowing her, it hurts to see those people that she killed. If you were around her, you would be like ‘no.'”
These are from what appear to be the shooter’s mother’s Facebook page. pic.twitter.com/IJsT9KRTpT
— Grayson Quay ⚓️ (@hemingquay) March 27, 2023
Megan Marie Barnes, a former classmate with Hale at the Nossi College of Art, noted to the Daily Caller that Hale had begun to use male pronouns after college.
“[Hale] always seemed like a normal, artistic person,” Barnes told the Daily Caller. “This is horrible.”
Hale was a quiet student with “whimsical” artwork, who only had one outburst, when she couldn’t figure out how to set up a password, during two semesters, Maria Colomy, a Nossi College Art professor, told CNN. For the past year, Hale had been posting on Facebook grieving the recent death of a former basketball teammate.
“From what I saw on her social, she was suffering,” Colomy told the outlet.
Muhammad told the DCNF that he did not know Hale was transitioning, including that “she kept to herself.”
“A lot of people that I went to that school with couldn’t believe it,” Muhammad told the DCNF. “All day I have just been thinking like, ‘man, what turned her like that? What happened? What event?'”
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