Covenant shooter will haunt kids ‘from beyond the grave’ if writings are released, parents say

“The parents seek to shield their children from further harm and trauma,” court documents show.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 8:56 AM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – Court documents filed on behalf of Covenant School parents in the wake of the mass shooting at the private elementary school show the parents’ sentiment regarding the release of the shooter’s writings.

In the 20-page court filing, the Covenant School parents said they are the victims of one of the “worst crimes in Tennessee history,” and argue releasing the writings of the school shooter or “anything else that could inspire future attacks” should never be publicly released.

“There are some words in our language that need no explanation. Columbine – Sandy Hook – Parkland – Uvalde – each of those words conjures visions of horror, of violence, and of the death of children, the most vulnerable people in our society,” the court documents filed in response to a lawsuit seeking to release the documents read. “Now, after the events of March 27, 2023, the word Covenant carries that same connotation in Nashville and beyond. The events of that day have ripped apart the fabric of our community and have forever altered our sense of safety.”

The legal brief was submitted as part of the parents’ intervention into a civil lawsuit filed by petitioners Clata Renee Brewers of the National Police Association, the Tennessean and Tennessee Firearms Association to release all of the shooter’s journals collected by authorities as evidence. The shooter entered the Covenant School on March 27 and opened fire, killing three adults and three children.

Those petitioning for the documents’ release hope to learn why the shooter committed such a heinous crime. In the court filing, Covenant parents argue it would do more harm than good.

“The parents seek to shield their children from further harm and trauma, including pain that would fester for the rest of their lives if the shooter, their assailant, is allowed to haunt them from beyond the grave,” the legal brief in support of limited public release of the writings says. “As victims of a crime, the children have a Tennessee Constitutional right to be free from abuse, harassment, and intimidation and a statutory right to be treated with dignity and respect. Releasing and publicizing the writings of their criminal perpetrator will abuse and harass them and deny them dignity and respect. As a matter of law, the victims’ constitutional rights trump any statutory right to public disclosure.”

The brief asserts mass shooters often seek notoriety and to become a part of history, so releasing the journals will “not only harm the children, but it will also reward their assailant,” according to Covenant parents.

The parents’ court filing also argues the writings could inspire other attacks, like another school shooting, so “that is reason enough to keep the shooter’s writings quiet.”

“If through their intervention the Parents can save just one innocent child’s life, then their efforts will have been worthwhile,” the court document reads.

Despite the arguments against the release of the writings, parents say a written summary of the shooter’s motive could allow the public to have answers they seek without potentially harming students.

The document filed on behalf of Covenant parents is below: