Audrey Hale, Nashville’s Covenant school shooter, was reportedly heartbroken over the death of a close friend months before they shot and killed 6 people on Monday at the private Christian school in Tennessee.

Maria Colomy, one of Hale’s former teachers, recalled that the friend’s untimely death wrecked Hale’s heart and soul. Hale was a biological woman who identified as a man. Colomy came across Hale’s social media posts about the accident which said something along the lines of her deceased friend being “all that mattered” and “I’ll miss you forever.”

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The friend was Sydney Shere Sims. Colomy also told The New York Times that Hale’s transition journey also began around the time they were grieving her loss.

Who is  Sydney Shere Sims?

Sydney Shere Sims was Audrey Hale’s classmate at Isaiah T. Creswell Middle School of the Arts and the Nashville School of the Arts. They “definitely admired” Sims, according to Hale’s former classmate Samira Hardcastle. Sydney Shere Sims was killed in a car crash in August, which devastated Hale.

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“After Sydney’s tragic death, Audrey was really heartbroken over it … I just feel like she took it differently than some of us did. She was still posting about Sydney almost daily. What I knew of her was more admiring (Sydney). Maybe even infatuation. That’s specifically who she really, really looked up to,” Hardcastle told NBC News.

Hale reportedly posted a TikTok video dedicated to Sims in February. Their TikTok account is presently deleted. It was a video of a silhouette quietly bouncing a basketball with the caption: “For Syd. I look up the sky is bright. It’s a beautiful day. I wish you were here …”

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Hardcastle said that Hale’s also looked up to another former basketball teammate of hers, Averianna Patton, whom the shooter messaged just moments before shooting down the school and left an almost “suicide note” in an Instagram message to her.

“I don’t think she was with anyone. She was just kind of by herself. I don’t think that they were very close but I think Audrey looked up to [her] like she looked up to Sydney. But I don’t know that it was ever, like, a two-way thing,” Hardcastle said.