TN House Republicans call for release of Covenant School shooter’s writings

“We respectfully request the release of the perpetrator’s writings as well as relevant medical records and toxicology reports.”
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 4:29 PM CDT|Updated: May. 15, 2023 at 9:58 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The calls for Metro Nashville Police to release the Covenant School shooter’s writings are mounting, and now the Tennessee House Republicans are requesting the writings and other pertinent information be released.

On Monday afternoon, the GOP penned a letter to Police Chief John Drake saying, “We respectfully request the release of the perpetrator’s writings as well as relevant medical records and toxicology reports.”

In the letter, they also thank MNPD’s “incredible efforts” for their response to the Covenant School shooting on March 27.

“The agency’s heroic response as well as your dedication to investigating the incident since are sincerely appreciated by the people of Tennessee,” the letter reads.

The GOP also cites Governor Bill Lee’s call for a special session in August for the General Assembly to consider public safety legislation in response to the shooting.

“In order for this special session to be successful, it is paramount we understand the behavior and motives of the Covenant School perpetrator,” the GOP said in the letter. “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 them.”

House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, said in a statement the GOP supermajority is “holding the state government hostage” and “continues to threaten the public safety of every child and Tennessee family.”

“Rather than reach across the aisle and work with me and my Democratic colleagues, each of whom is ready to return to the Capitol and get to work immediately on sensible gun safety legislation, the GOP is bizarrely focused on a diary,” Clemmons said in a statement. “Gun violence is an epidemic plaguing our communities and threatening the safety every family on a daily basis. The people of Tennessee deserve courageous and sensible leadership on this issue. These GOP delay tactics only serve to leave our families exposed and vulnerable.”

Clemmons said Democrats are researching and drafting sensible gun safety legislation that he believes an overwhelming majority of Tennesseans will support.

“I hope to see as many GOP signatures on our bipartisan gun safety legislation as they got on that letter,” Clemmons said.

You can read the letter in full below:

On Friday, May 12, a judge got her first look at Audrey Hale’s journals. The journals and writings are part of a lawsuit filed by two groups, who want copies of all of Hale’s writings seized by police.

On May 4, Chancellor I’Ashea L. Myles ordered the documents be turned over starting May 12 at noon for private review. The documents, under seal, were not immediately made available to the public. Only Myles in the Chancery Court will be allowed to view Hale’s writings ahead of hearings surrounding the lawsuit filed over the documents’ release, according to a court order.

The next step in the process comes June 8, when Myles likely decides if and when the shooter’s writings get released to the public.