NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) continues to search for who leaked pages of the Covenant shooter’s documents to a conservative commentator, former FBI agent Dan Hodges is concerned about the consequences of their release.
“I can see this mushrooming into something and it could cause a copycat; we can’t definitively say it would, but a lot of cases out there where people are mentally disturbed, and they see something like, ‘That may be a good idea,’ you know,” Hodges said.
Hodges has spent years studying the psychology of murderers and serial killers and has seen how attackers can be inspired by predecesors.
According to ABC News reports and law enforcement investigations, the shooter behind the tragedies in Parkland, Sandy Hook, and Virginia Tech looked up to or researched the shooters responsible for the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
As another example, the person behind the 2019 shooting at a Texas Walmart was inspired by the shooting that killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, according to the Associated Press.
“I don’t see any good that can come from it,” Hodges said of the publication of three pages of the shooter’s writings.
However, above all else, Hodges was worried about the impact these writings will have on the family and friends of the six victims of the Covenant School shooting.
“They don’t need to go through this,” he said.
Tennessee GOP lawmakers have continued to call for all of the shooter’s documents to be made public.
“The General Assembly has been very specific on this; we want the entire manifesto; we want the toxicology reports; we want to be able to look at the entire picture before we start trying to craft legislation in regards to what happened to covenants, so we can make a well informed decision,” said Tennessee Rep. Scott Cepicky (R- Culleoka).
When asked how Cepicky would respond to Covenant parents asking for the writings to not be made public, he said certain parts will need to be redacted.
“I spoke to many of those parents and understand their pain, that there’s none of us (who) can understand what that is,” he said. “But, I think the more information we can have on this manifesto and the toxicology report of the drugs that this individual was on, the bigger picture and the better picture that would give us when we come back into session in January of how to solve these issues moving forward.”
Hodges said lawmakers can learn and legislate through closed-door meetings and conversations with people who investigated the shooter’s writings.
“I would suggest to the lawmakers they bring it back to a committee meeting; one of the police officers or TBI agent or FBI agents reviewed this and asked them instead of releasing the raw data to the public,” he said.
The litigation surrounding who has a right to decide if these documents should be released or kept private is still ongoing.