The Metro Nashville Police Department on Monday afternoon 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.”
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.
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.
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 authorities should be able to authenticate the images, considering the police department was in possession of the manifesto.
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).”
On March 27, 2023, the shooter, whom The Daily Wire is not naming to avoid giving notoriety to 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 shooter, a former student at the Covenant School, reportedly documented plans in journals, which revealed her considerations and timeline for the attack at the school. Some documents obtained by law enforcement indicated the shooter had been planning a massacre at the private Christian elementary school for months and considered “the actions of other mass murderers.”
Attorney David Raybin, who represents the shooter’s family, released a statement to an NBC affiliate concerning the manifesto.
“We have never seen [a] manifesto at any time,” David Raybin said. “We’re not in a position to authenticate these pieces of paper. We have absolutely not released anything, but we certainly did not release this. It’s inappropriate for me to make any further comment about it.”
It’s 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. But after months of withholding the documents from the public, a growing speculation that the shooter’s so-called gender identity has corrupted the official’s judgment from being transparent.
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.