NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro police reported The Covenant School shooter’s writings will not be released anytime soon due to pending litigation filed by the Tennessee Firearms Association.
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department has been advised by counsel to hold in abeyance the release of records related to the shooting at The Covenant School pending orders or direction of the court, the department tweeted Wednesday, May 3.
On Monday, May 1, James Hammond and the Tennessee Firearms Association filed a lawsuit in the Chancery Court of Tennessee, Davidson County, against the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County asking for a court order to force Metro to turn over certain records as specified in the Petition related to the Covenant School shooting.
The Tennessee Firearms Association filed two open records requests, including all records concerning the shooter’s “manifesto.” TFA also sought disclosure of “all email communications of MNPD officials regarding the mass shooting committed by Audrey Elizabeth Hale on March 27, 2023, as well as MNPD officials’ text messages regarding the same, and copies of the ‘manifesto’ reported left by Audrey Elizabeth Hale in her vehicle.”
The city released a statement via Metro Director of Law Wally Dietz, which reads:
The Metropolitan Department of Law has worked with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department to review documents concerning the tragic shooting at The Covenant School. Two parties have now filed litigation requesting voluminous documents. We are asking the Court to conduct a status and scheduling conference so that all interested parties may appear and raise any concerns. We believe family members of the victims should have the opportunity to present any concerns or objections to the Court at that time. We plan to file under seal the entire journal found in the shooter’s car in the parking lot at The Covenant School together with our proposed redactions under the Public Records Act, for the Court to release.
On March 27, six people, including three children, were shot and killed by 28-year-old Audrey Hale at the Covenant School in Green Hills. The victims were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all 9 years old, as well as Cynthia Peak, 61; Dr. Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61.
Investigators executed search warrants the same day of the shooting from the home of the shooter. The search of Brightwood Avenue home took place just hours after the shooting on March 27.
Inside the home, officers found two shotguns, one in a bedroom closet and another next to a desk in a bedroom. A suicide note was found on a desk in one of the bedrooms.
There were also five Covenant School yearbooks taken from the home. Police reported Hale attended The Covenant School at one time.
Investigators also seized what they described as a psych medical folder. Hale was also reportedly under doctor’s care for an “emotional disorder.” Hale’s parents thought the shooter only owned one gun and that it had been sold.
According to police, Hale fired a total of 152 rounds (126 rifle rounds and 26 nine-millimeter rounds) from the time Hale shot their way into the school to the time Hale was shot and killed by police.
The collective writings written by Hale found in a vehicle left in the school parking lot, and others found in the home search, show Hale documented the planning over a period of months to commit mass murder at The Covenant School. Hale also considered “the actions of other mass murderers.”
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This is a developing story. WKRN News 2 will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.