The Nashville Police Department has suspended seven detectives amid an ongoing investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of documents written by Nashville Christian school shooter Audrey Hale in which she vowed to “kill those kids.”
The suspension, which began Wednesday, seeks to determine how the documents came to be in the hands of Steven Crowder, a conservative commentator, who released them Monday, according to a report from local station WSMV.
Department representative Don Aaron told the outlet that the move is solely to preserve the integrity of the investigation and is not a punitive action; the names of the detectives have not been disclosed.
“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. Not fair to them,” Aaron said Wednesday afternoon.
The writings have been sealed since the March 27 attack when 28-year-old Hale, a trans-identifying individual, opened fire at The Covenant School in Green Hills, killing Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all 9 years old, and Cynthia Peak, 61; Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61. Hale was shot and killed by police just minutes after launching her attack.
An anonymous source reportedly approached Crowder’s investigative team, offering a glimpse at Hale’s writings through a text conversation that purportedly involved a Nashville detective. After verification, Crowder released the writings.
Hale’s writings expressed a strong bias against white individuals, particularly those seen as privileged, and left a detailed schedule of the day of the shooting.
“Kill those kids!!!” a leaked page of the manifesto reads. “Those cr*ckers going to private fancy schools with those fancy khakis and sports backpacks, with their daddies [sic] Mustangs and convertibles. F*** you little sh**s. I wish to shoot you weaka** d***s w/your mop yellow hair. Wanna kill all you little cr*ckers!!! Bunch of little f***ots with your white privileges. F*** you f***ots.”
The pages also contained passages like “I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m ready. I hope my victims aren’t” and “It’s gonna go quick … I hope I have a high death county.”
The Nashville police had previously indicated they would publish Hale’s writings post-investigation but have postponed due to legal challenges. The three leaked pages of the manifesto would only represent a tiny portion of Hale’s writings; the shooter reportedly left behind at least 20 journals, a suicide note and a memoir, according to court filings, which were recovered at the crime scene and at her parents’ home.
Responses to the leak have been polarizing, with some, including presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, applauding its release.
“Crowder has done a service in breaking the Nashville shooter’s manifesto. It simply cannot be that every time a mass shooter’s manifesto boosts favored media narratives, the manifesto is released — and that when it doesn’t, as here, it gets buried,” Shapiro wrote on Twitter.
“If the shooter had targeted black children based on white supremacy, the manifesto would have leaked immediately. But the shooter targeted the school because of ‘white privilege.’ So they tried to memory-hole the whole incident, and retcon the narrative to ‘gun violence.’”
Others, including parents of Covenant School students and local politicians, criticized the move.
Brent Leatherwood, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and a parent of three children who attend The Covenant School, slammed Crowder for releasing the pages.
“The community, the school, [the] families who have already suffered so much, were left yet again to deal with this terror,” he said on Monday, according NBC affiliate WSMV.
Leatherwood called the individual who leaked the pages to Crowder, someone he said was likely a law enforcement member, a “viper.”
Shortly after the pages were released, Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell said he directed Metro Nashville Law Director Wally Dietz “to initiate an investigation into how these images could have been released.”
“I am deeply concerned with the safety, security, and well-being of the Covenant families and all Nashvillians who are grieving,” O’Connell said in a statement.
SOURCE: CBS news