UPDATE (11/17/23): The Metro Nashville Police Department told News 2 that four of the seven officers who were put on administrative assignment after sections of the Covenant School shooter’s writings were released by a radio host have returned to regular duty.
As of Friday, Nov. 17, the investigation into the leak is still ongoing, according to authorities.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Seven individuals with the Metro Nashville Police Department are on administrative assignment after portions of the Covenant shooter’s writings were leaked Monday.
The police department issued the following statement to News 2:
“Seven individuals are on administrative assignment (absolutely non-punitive) to protect the integrity of the active, progressing investigation. All seven have full police power. We are not identifying any of the seven by name.”
On Monday, Nov. 4, conservative radio host Steven Crowder posted images of three pages of a notebook allegedly taken from the shooter’s so-called “manifesto.”
Crowder told News 2’s Nikki McGee the images were taken by a detective at the Covenant School scene and sent to his source. His team flew to Nashville to obtain the images and verify the source.
On Thursday, Nov. 9, Crowder claimed that none of the seven officers put on administrative assignment leaked the writings to him.
After Crowder claimed that a detective took the pictures at the Covenant School scene, Metro police issued a statement saying that the photographs Crowder posted “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 of the documents.Metro Nashville Police Department
On Monday night, Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake released the following statement:
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
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.
After searching the shooter’s home and car, police discovered multiple journals that allegedly documented the plans to commit mass murder months before the shooting happened.
According to police, the shooter 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 the shooter 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.”
According to the autopsy report, the shooter was wearing a white shirt with “handwritten words, drawings and numbers written on it.” The report did not detail what the writings said, but noted handwritten words were also found on the shooter’s bra.
There is an ongoing legal battle on whether the writings should be released to the public, with both sides of the aisle posing strong arguments. On Oct. 16, the Court of Appeals heard why both Covenant families and Metro Government believe they have the right to weigh in on whether the so-called manifesto is released.
There is no timeline on when the court will decide whether or not parents and Metro government will get to weigh in on the release of these documents. A separate judge will decide if, and what parts of the documents will be released.
Students, faculty and staff are set to return to The Covenant School campus in January.