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Nashville police said Wednesday that seven individuals were on “administrative assignment” as authorities continue investigating the leaked three pages from The Covenant School shooter’s writings earlier this week.
“Seven individuals are on administrative assignment (absolutely non-punitive) to protect the integrity of the active, progressing investigation,” a spokesperson from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department told The Daily Wire. “All seven have full police power. We are not identifying any of the seven by name. Not fair to them.”
Podcaster Steven Crowder, host of the “Louder with Crowder” talk show, released the three photographs from the shooter’s alleged manifesto on Monday morning.
The pages contained a number of racial slurs targeted at white children and a full itinerary of the tragic day labeled “Death Day,” where she stated her intent to achieve a “high death count” of students at The Covenant School, a Presbyterian-affiliated pre-K-6 private Christian academy.
Crowder told local outlet WKRN that a detective present at the Covenant School in the aftermath of the mass shooting took the photos of the images and later sent them to a source within the Metro Nashville Police Department. Crowder said his team traveled to Nashville to obtain the pictures and verify the authenticity of the source.
He added that authorities should be able to authenticate the images, considering the police department was in possession of the manifesto.
Nashville police later released a vague statement on the images of the trans-identifying school shooter’s manifesto, saying they “are not MNPD crime scene images,” and that it is investigating the release of the three photographs.
“The MNPD is in communication with the Metropolitan Department of Law as an investigation, begun this morning, continues into the dissemination of three photographs of writings during an on-line discussion about Covenant School,” Metro Nashville Police Department said in a news release. “The photographs are not MNPD crime scene images.”
“The police department has been in contact with a representative of Covenant families,” the statement added. “Police department counselors are available to assist them in coping with the emotional trauma caused by the dissemination.”
Nashville Chief of Police John Drake issued a statement following the leaked images purportedly belonging to the Covenant School shooter.
“I am greatly disturbed by today’s unauthorized release of three pages of writings from the Covenant shooter,” Drake said in a news release. “This police department is extremely serious about the investigation to identify the person responsible.”
Drake said the release of the images “showed a total disregard for Covenant families, as well as the court system,” which currently have possession of the shooter’s journals due to litigation filed earlier this year.
“We are not at liberty to release the journals until the courts rule,” he said. “Our police department looks forward to the ultimate resolution of the litigation concerning the journals.”
Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell released a statement, saying he directed authorities to launch an investigation into the leaked documents.
“I have directed Wally Dietz, Metro’s Law Director, to initiate an investigation into how these images could have been released,” O’Connell said. “That investigation may involve local, state, and federal authorities. I am deeply concerned with the safety, security, and well-being of the Covenant families and all Nashvillians who are grieving. This incident naturally invokes additional emotional trauma, and families or individuals who need support should reach out to professionals at National Alliance on Mental Illness (615-891-4724), MNPD support counselors (615-862-7773) or MNPS Family Information Center (615-259-INFO).”
Multiple news outlets, including The Daily Wire and FOX 17 News, have independently confirmed the authenticity of the pages. It is unclear whether the police department is calling into question the authenticity of the images.
On March 27, 2023, the shooter, whom The Daily Wire is not naming to avoid giving notoriety to mass shooters, went on a rampage inside the Nashville elementary school. The victims included three students — Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9; Hallie Scruggs, 9; William Kinney, 9 — and three staff members — headmaster Katherine Koonce, 60; Cynthia Peak, 61; and Mike Hill, 61.
Hours after the shooting, federal and local authorities searched the shooter’s property, where they found five laptops, a suicide note, two memoirs, five Covenant School yearbooks, and seven cellphones, according to a search warrant. Authorities found more writings inside the shooter’s vehicle left in the Covenant School parking lot.
The materials have since been in high-demand to follow a long-standing tradition of U.S. law enforcement to release the manifesto of a school mass shooter when it is recovered by authorities — typically within 48 hours of the tragedy.
The Daily Wire and a host of other organizations have sought access through open records requests to the collection of her writings.
School officials and a group of parents — including the shooter’s parents — have requested that the writings remain private, citing safety concerns for their families and school staff while arguing they have rights as victims under the Tennessee Constitution that supersede the open records law. But organizations, including the National Police Association, say that Tennessee state law requires authorities to release the manifesto to the public.
An ongoing legal battle continues whether authorities should release the full manifesto to the public. It is now pending in Davidson County Chancery Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals.