Tennessee House GOP demand release of trans Nashville school shooter’s manifesto

"It is paramount we understand the behavior and motives of the Covenant School perpetrator," the letter stated.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

Sixty-six members of the Tennessee House Republican Caucus have signed onto a letter urging Nashville Police to release the manifesto of Audrey Hale, the transgender shooter who killed three students and three staff members at the Covenant School in March.

In a letter sent to Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake on Monday, the caucus thanked him and his fellow officers for their quick response to the scene.

"As you know, Governor Bill Lee has called upon the General Assembly to consider public safety legislation in response to these events in an extraordinary session scheduled for Aug. 21. In order for this special session to be successful, it is paramount we understand the behavior and motives of the Covenant School perpetrator," the letter stated.

"We respectfully request the release of the perpetrator’s writings as well as relevant medical records and toxicology reports.

"We are united in our shared common goal and duty to protect the safety and well-being of Tennesseans. The release of these records is critical to the General Assembly’s ability to construct effective solutions that can prevent future acts of violence. The citizens of this state and their elected representatives must have adequate time to review the," the letter concluded. "We appreciate your efforts to fulfill our request."

According to the New York Post, the letter was signed by 66 of the 74 Republican Caucus members, including Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton.

House Republican Caucus Chair Rep. Jeremy Faison told the outlet by phone that the group doesn’t "understand the apprehension" in holding back the release of the manifesto, and noted that lawmakers are being asked to consider new gun control legislation in the wake of the shooting without knowing the contents of the manifesto.

"It’s incumbent on us to understand all the ins and outs of what drove Audrey Hale to do what she did," he added. "We have been told from the beginning that she detailed in her journal all sorts of stuff — she talked about the school, she talked about her parents … this is what’s come from our commissioner of safety to me, personally."

Faison went on to slam officials for failing to give "a good reason why" they have yet to release the manifesto, other than fears of a copycat killer. He said that these fears could be quelled through careful redactions of the writings.

“I think Tennesseans would agree with me. Even Democrats or Republicans where I live are like, ‘Yeah, something just doesn’t feel right that they keep pushing [back] on the release.'”

Faison said access to the writings could help lawmakers “identify some areas that we could potentially save some lives.”

According to the outlet, the parents of the three nine-year-olds killed in the shooting are among those fighting to block the release of the writings, with a filing being made on behalf of the parents, with the Tennessee court handling the case on Wednesday.

It states: “No one was more traumatized, or has suffered more, than the families of the victims … And no one can claim a remotely similar interest in whether the writings of the shooter be released.”

The school itself has also filed a request asking the judge not to release the writings.

A judge has been presented with the unredacted version of the manifesto by attorneys representing the city, who also supplied a second version with suggested redactions.

In April, the Nashville Police Department announced that the manifesto would be released but later informed the public on May 3 that, "Due to pending litigation filed this week, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department has been advised by counsel to hold in abeyance the release of records related to the shooting at The Covenant School pending orders or direction of the court."


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