NASHVILLE, Tenn.--A Nashville councilwoman says releasing the 'manifesto' of The Covenant School shooter may provide more harm than good by being released to the public.
Metro Nashville Councilwoman Courtney Johnston has represented District 26 since 2019 and sits on multiple committees. FOX 17 News spoke with Johnston on Friday, addressing the 'manifesto' left behind by Audrey Hale before taking the lives of three children and three staff members at The Covenant School.
Hale's motives and the 'manifesto' have been a continued subject of interest for many looking for answers but Johnston says she personally hopes it is never released. "I just think from what I have been told it is like a blueprint for heinous things," Johnston says.
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"Its really not even a manifesto," she adds. "Its diaries of a mentally ill person. Her mental illness is not something that should be used for entertainment and I don't understand these claims that law enforcement is hiding something."
Her statements coincide with statements from U.S. Representative Tim Burchett, his office telling FOX 17 News the manifesto is "being processed by the FBI" which is why it has not been released yet. Unlike Councilwoman Johnston, Burchett believes the documents could be helpful in answering some of the questions when it comes to a motive in the shooting. Rep. Burchett's office says he believes the manifesto should be released to families affected and Congress.
Burchett's office also added a statement from Rep. Burchett on the gun debate which has followed in the wake of the shooting, stating "Congress can't change peoples minds and hearts although it can try which is why congress is not going to fix this problem. Violent criminals don't follow the laws we already have on the books and more gun control is just going to stop law abiding citizens from defending themselves."
However, Councilwoman Johnston cautions releasing the writings by Hale could have the opposite effect. Johnston tells FOX 17 News while she is not involved in the investigation, law enforcement personnel she has spoken with say the writings "keeps them up at night" and The Covenant School shooting was "a small sliver of what she was trying to do." Johnston clarifies she is not part of the investigation in any way and has no control over what police and the FBI choose to do with the writings. She believes if it can be helpful then it should be released but if will cause harm then she questions the value of releasing such materials.
FOX 17 News reached out to the Metro Nashville Police Department on the status of the manifesto's release and were provided with this statement: "The investigation into the murders at Covenant remains open. Among the work being done is the review of a significant amount of written material by our detectives in consultation with the FBI's BAU."