Authorities in Harford County were still trying to determine late Thursday why Snochia Moseley opened fire at the Rite Aid warehouse where she had taken a temporary job, killing three employees and fatally wounding herself.
Authorities have not identified the victims.
Troi Coley, a friend of Moseley’s since high school who had stayed in frequent contact with her in Facebook Messenger, said Moseley sometimes felt as if the world was against her but was not an angry person in spite of her alienation.
Coley said she was shocked to learn that Moseley had been named as the person who carried out the shooting.
“She wasn’t a monster, wasn’t an angry person,” Coley said. “I just believe this was emotional distress. If she did this, it was her last straw.”
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said Moseley, 26, was a temporary employee at the warehouse and had reported for work as normal Thursday.
Authorities and court records identified Moseley as female, as did a Facebook profile in her name. But in Facebook messages Coley shared with The Baltimore Sun, Moseley described herself as transgender, although it was not clear whether Moseley preferred to be addressed using masculine or feminine pronouns.
In messages that the friend said were sent in December 2016, Moseley described identifying as a trans man and discussed beginning hormone treatment soon.
“I just started talking about [being transgender],” Moseley wrote in another message. “My sister is totally supportive, my brothers already had an idea, my mom I haven’t gotten around to admitting it to yet. but she’s heard about it somehow.”
On Thursday evening, a large group of people gathered at an address in Baltimore’s Loch Raven neighborhood associated with Moseley’s family. News coverage of the shooting blared on television. The people inside declined to comment.
Police in an unmarked car shooed people away from Moseley’s address in White Marsh on Thursday afternoon, saying there was impending SWAT activity.
Moseley graduated from Overlea High School in 2011, a Baltimore County Schools spokesman said. Moseley enrolled at the Community College of Baltimore County that year and attended classes on and off until 2015, a spokeswoman said, but did not earn a degree.
Moseley didn’t have a criminal record, the sheriff’s office said. The Glock 9 mm used in the shooting was registered to Moseley.
In six days at the end of August and the beginning of September, Moseley was stopped by Baltimore County police three times in a corner of White Marsh between the Baltimore Beltway and Interstate 95, according to online court records.
Moseley, driving a 2005 Ford, was issued tickets for, among other things, not having current registration plates; having a suspended registration; failing to update her address with the MVA; and not having insurance.
On Sept. 14, the courts received a request to take the cases to trial, according to the online records.
In April, the Baltimore County Office of Budget and Finance sued Moseley over $117. It was not clear from online records what the case was about.
Another friend, who asked not to be identified because of the incident’s high profile, said that after learning of the shooting Thursday, his first thought was with the victims. But once he realized the killer was someone he knew, he said his feelings became more complex.
“It’s catastrophic,” said the friend, who said he had known Moseley since elementary school. “She did a terrible thing, but I feel for her.
“The first thing you think is, ‘This person is horrible,’ because you have a bias. But knowing someone, I believe everyone is human. Everyone is going through something.”
Coley said Moseley expressed herself through writing. She had written a manuscript, Coley said, and the pair had plans to turn Moseley’s experiences into a documentary film.
But, Coley said, Moseley was shy.
“I hate being in the spotlight whether it’s good or bad,” Moseley wrote in one message to her friend.
On Sept. 2, an account on a poetry website was created in Moseley’s name. The account included four poems posted between Sept. 6 and 10.
One titled “IDENTITY” was tagged “Struggles in Life.”
Baltimore Sun reporters Jessica Anderson and Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.