Nashville authorities get defensive, promise investigation after purported leak of Covenant School killer’s manifesto

News & Politics

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell (D) vowed on Monday to investigate the purported leak of portions of the Covenant School killer’s manifesto.

What is the background?

Conservative commentator Steven Crowder released three pages of the purported manifesto, which the transgender perpetrator left behind after killing three students and three staff members at the Christian private school.

Crowder told WKRN-TV that a detective at the scene of the school snapped images of the manifesto, and a source within the Metro Nashville Police Department sent them to him.

One of the handwritten pages is dated the same day as the murders; it is titled “death day,” showing the killer’s excitement for the attack. Another page showed the killer’s schedule for “death day,” while a third page revealed the killer’s hate-fueled ramblings against the Christian students, whom the killer called “little crackers” and a “bunch of little faggots,” among other vile descriptions.

“Kill those kids!!!” the killer wrote. “Those crackers going to private fancy schools with those fancy kwakis [sic] + sports backpacks. W/ thier daddies [sic] mustangs + convertables [sic].”

What did Nashville authorities say?

The Metro Nashville Police Department refused to verify whether the pages are authentic.

“I have no idea what that is, and at this point in time I don’t think we know what that’s about,” a police spokesperson told the Tennessee Star.

When asked for a clarification, that spokesperson told the newspaper that MNPD has “no idea who [Crowder] is, what he’s got, what he’s talking about.”

It’s not clear how or why the police cannot verify the authenticity of the pages because law enforcement took possession of the manifesto in the initial stages of the investigation, and it remains in their evidence collection.

Mayor O’Connell, meanwhile, appeared to confirm the images are from the purported manifesto, promising an investigation into how they were leaked.

“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.”

There is an ongoing legal battle over the manifesto.

Five parties — the Tennessee Firearms Association, the National Police Association, the Tennessee Star, The Tennessean, and state Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R) — have sued for the manifesto’s release. But the parents of Covenant School students argue the manifesto should not be released.

The matter remains unsettled, but a judge ruled earlier this year that the parents can have a say in the legal battle.

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