The writings of the individual responsible for the tragic shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, last month are now “under review” for public release. The Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) and the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit are currently examining the journals, which were initially referred to as a manifesto, to determine whether they can provide insight into the motive behind the attack.
On March 27, a 28-year-old shooter targeted the Covenant School, taking the lives of three children and three adults before being fatally shot by law enforcement. The investigation revealed that the perpetrator had fired 152 rounds during the attack and had documented plans to commit mass murder at the school over several months in her journals.
The Covenant shooting was a tragedy beyond comprehension, & Tennesseans need clarity.
We’ve been in touch with the Nashville Police Department, & today, Chief Drake assured me that documents & information regarding the shooter will be released to the public very soon.
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) April 28, 2023
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) emphasized the importance of understanding the motive behind this senseless tragedy. “The Covenant shooting was a tragedy beyond comprehension, & Tennesseans need clarity,” he tweeted on Thursday. “We’ve been in touch with the Nashville Police Department, & today, Chief Drake assured me that documents & information regarding the shooter will be released to the public very soon.”
Metro police spokesperson Don Aaron clarified that the writings are not manifestos but dated journals. He also confirmed that they are now in the “close review/preparation process for the public release of written material.”
Some key Tennessee Republicans have urged investigators to release the documents before a special session on gun law reform is held. It is believed that understanding the motive behind the murders is crucial to addressing the issue.
Former FBI special agent Katherine Schweit, who created the agency’s active shooter program, highlighted the need for caution when releasing a shooter’s writings. She cited concerns about relevance, potential privacy issues and the risk of inadvertently creating a blueprint for future shooters.
“We all want a sentence that says ‘I did this because of this,’ but very rarely do you get somebody that writes that,” Schweit explained.
As the investigation progresses, MNPD and the FBI continue to examine the vast volume of material seized from the shooter’s home, including 30 journals referencing school shootings and firearms courses, a suicide note, and five Covenant School yearbooks.
While the public may be anxious to learn more about the shooter’s motive, Schweit emphasized the importance of not releasing information that could cause harm or grant the shooter notoriety. Instead, she suggested sharing some information with victims, family members, and law enforcement to help prevent future incidents.
With no specific timeline for releasing information in mass shooting investigations, the public eagerly awaits any insight the journals may provide into the tragic event that took place at the Covenant School.