NASHVILLE, Tenn. (News21USA) — The Nashville mayor’s office on Monday asked the city’s legal team to investigate the possible unauthorized release of the writings of the shooter who opened fire indiscriminately at the Nashville private school in March, killing three children and three adults before him being shot dead by the police.
Mayor Freddie O’Connell issued the statement shortly after conservative radio host Steven Crowder posted what he said were three images of Audrey Hale’s writings from the day of the shooting.
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said Monday that the images were not “MNPD crime scene images” and that it was working with Nashville’s legal department on the investigation.
Meanwhile, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation declined to confirm the authentication.
Authorities have not revealed any of Hale’s diaries or writings that were collected after the March 27 shooting at Covenant School in Nashville. The shooter left at least 20 journals, a suicide note and a memoir, according to court documents.
Initially, MNPD said they would release the documents, but only after an investigation was officially closed, which could have taken months. In response, groups seeking the documents sued, arguing that since the suspect was dead, the records should be released immediately.
Police then changed course and said that because of the lawsuits they would await court instructions on whether Hale’s writings should be released.
«I am deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of the Covenant families and all Nashville residents who are grieving,» O’Connell said.
Wally Dietz, Nashville’s legal director, confirmed in a statement Monday that he was launching the investigation, but said he could not immediately confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents due to limited information surrounding the «possible leak.»
The News21USA also has not confirmed the authenticity of the documents released Monday. The News21USA is one of several groups that have requested the briefs but is not involved in the lawsuit to obtain them.
Lawyers representing Covenant School families have repeatedly said they have not seen Hale’s writings.
Brent Leatherwood, whose three children attend Covenant School, challenged Crowder and anyone amplifying online images to “be a human being for once” and stop chasing clicks or building platforms. Speaking to reporters, Leatherwood said the writings have the ability to inspire more attacks.
“How many people do you have to senselessly kill to get clicks?” he said.
Leatherwood said he received phone calls today from parents upset and concerned about even looking at the images online: «The damage done today is already significant and I fear it is only going to grow.»
In May, a chancery judge ruled that a group of more than 100 Covenant families could intervene in the case. The families say they do not want the police records to be made public, arguing that the records will only cause more pain and possibly spawn copycats.
An appeals court is now weighing whether that judge acted within the law.
Police have said Hale had been planning the massacre for months. Hale fired 152 bullets during the attack before being killed by police. Hale was under medical care for an undisclosed «emotional disorder,» police said. However, authorities have not revealed a link between that attention and the shooting.
The Covenant case is further complicated by the fact that Hale, who police say was «assigned female at birth,» appears to have begun identifying as a transgender man, leading commentators, politicians and other right-wing figures to share false claims of a raise. on transgender mass shooters and suggesting that the fight for trans rights is radicalizing people. The authorities’ refusal to publish Hale’s writings has fueled further speculation and conspiracy theories about what they might reveal about Hale’s motives or influences.
The three children who died in the shooting were Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney. The three adults were Katherine Koonce, 60, the school’s principal, custodian Mike Hill, 61, and substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61.