NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s being considered an urgent investigation into who is responsible for leaking what are believed to be three pages of the Covenant School shooter’s so-called “manifesto.”
On Monday, conservative radio host Steve Crowder posted alleged “writings” from the shooter, a move that blindsided Covenant School families.
On March 27, 2023, Audrey Hale, 28, killed six people inside The Covenant School. Immediately after, police searched Hale’s car and home, where they found multiple journals allegedly documenting Hale’s plans to commit mass murder.
Metro Legal and the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) are investigating where these images claiming to be the shooter’s writings came from.
Still, Covenant parents are left in disbelief, speaking directly to whoever leaked the images.
“How could you?” Brent Leatherwood, an attorney representing Covenant families who also happens to be a father of children who attend The Covenant School, said during a press conference.
“I walked around all day with like a gut punch. Once I was kind of able to wrap my head around what I was seeing, I immediately went to Metro and then I went up to TBI,” said Leatherwood.
Leatherwood, who had three children inside the school during the shooting, explained how surreal it was to speak on the photos in the same building that housed children as a re-unification site back in March.
The release of these images comes amid an ongoing legal battle over whether the writings should be released to the public. In October, the Court of Appeals listened as both Covenant families and Metro government spoke on why they believe they have the right to weigh in on whether the so-called “manifesto” should be released.
“We don’t want our children to someday read this stuff and whatever else may be there because they are disconnected ramblings, but they are connected by one thing – they’re evil,” said Leatherwood.
On Monday, Crowder posted images of three pages from a notebook allegedly from the shooter’s so-called “manifesto.” On one page, the writings talk about “death day,” stating the shooting was reportedly “ready” for the attacks. Another page referenced white privilege and used derogatory words about children. The last page showed a timeline for an attack.
Crowder claimed the photos were taken by a detective who was at the school on the day of the shooting.
“When the issue at hand as far as covering it now is knowledge can be gleaned, that can actually help people moving forward avoid shootings like this, potentially avoid our missteps. Hey, this is the byproduct of the kind of ideology in which all of our children in public schools are being steeped,” Crowder said in an interview with News 2.
Covenant parents are condemning the release.
“To the online shock jock who aired these images, I would challenge him and anyone who amplifies them online, just be a human for once. Quit seeking clicks and retweets and platform building,” Leatherwood said. “You are a viper You’re a member of the law enforcement community and you have released evidence that was gathered in our most vulnerable moment. You have now allowed this woman, who terrorized our family with bullets, to be able to now terrorize us with words from the grave. How could you?”
Leatherwood was asked directly by reporters if he believed the leaked images came from a member of law enforcement. He responded by stating, “The hill was secured very quickly that day; I believe this is a member of the law enforcement community.”
Metro police posted a response to the leaks, stating the department is “in communication with the Metropolitan Department of Law”, and the “photographs are not MNPD crime scene images.”
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 online discussion about Covenant School. The photographs are not MNPD crime scene images.
The police department has been in contact with a representative of Covenant families. Police department counselors are available to assist them in coping with the emotional trauma caused by the dissemination.Metro Nashville Police Department
After the release of the above statement, News 2 followed up with the police department, asking whether the MNPD is denying that a detective took the pictures. A police staff member told News 2 they do not know.
“When you pass a car from Metro, it says that they are Nashville’s Guardian,” said Leatherwood. “And if this individual was a member of Metro, he has violated that pledge, violated it in the worst possible way.”
Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake sent News 2 a statement in response to the leaked images, stating:
“I am greatly disturbed by today’s unauthorized release of three pages of writings from the Covenant shooter. This police department is extremely serious about the investigation to identify the person responsible. This action showed a total disregard for Covenant families, as well as the court system, which has control of the shooter’s journals at the present time due to litigation filed earlier this year. It is now pending in Davidson County Chancery Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals. We are not at liberty to release the journals until the courts rule. Our police department looks forward to the ultimate resolution of the litigation concerning the journals.”Chief John Drake, MNPD