NATIONAL NEWS

Nashville Police investigation into leak of Covenant School shooter’s writings is inconclusive

Dec 8, 2023, 4:27 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville Police have “exhausted all available investigative avenues” in the hunt for the person who leaked pages from a school shooter’s journals to a conservative commentator, the department announced in an email sent to media late on Friday. The writings are part of an ongoing legal battle over whether they should be released as public records.

The Metro Nashville Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability led the investigation into the leak, interviewing officers and forensically examining their electronic devices, according to police. Investigators determined that three cellphone photos were taken of the journals just after they were discovered in the shooter’s vehicle by two detectives with the Specialized Investigations Division. One former police detective who had images from the journal declined interview requests.

“The department does not have the ability to compel statements or cooperation from former employees,” the police statement reads.

The person who killed three 9-year-old children and three adults at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville this spring left behind at least 20 journals, a suicide note and a memoir, according to court filings. The writings have been the object of intense speculation and an open-records battle, with several groups suing to force Nashville officials to release them to the public.

Police initially said they intended to release the writings once they closed their investigation, which could take up to a year. Since then, a group of Covenant School parents have joined the lawsuit, arguing that none of the documents should ever be released. They say shooter Audrey Hale’s writings could traumatize their children and inspire copycats.

In the midst of the legal wrangling, someone slipped images of three of Hale’s journal pages to conservative commentator Stephen Crowder, who published them on Nov. 6. They include a detailed timeline for the March 27 shooting labeled “Death Day” and a slur-filled diatribe about kids who attend “private fancy schools,” although the 28-year-old Hale was a former Covenant student.

The three children who were killed in the shooting were Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all 9 years old. The three adults were Katherine Koonce, 60, the head of the school, custodian Mike Hill, 61, and 61-year-old substitute teacher Cynthia Peak.

Seven officers were assigned to administrative duties when the investigation into the leak began, but all of them have been returned to regular duties, according to police. Police have briefed the director of Nashville’s Department of Law on their investigation and forwarded the case file to the district attorney’s office.

National News

Associated Press

Widespread power outages from deadly Houston storm raise new risk: hot weather

HOUSTON (AP) — As the Houston area works to clean up and restore power to thousands after deadly storms, it will do so Saturday under a smog warning and as all of southern Texas starts to feel the heat. The National Weather Service in Houston warned that with temperatures hitting around 90 degrees (32.2 C) […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Man shoots his 6-month-old baby multiple times at home near Phoenix, but child expected to survive

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — A man shot his 6-month-old baby multiple times Friday at a home northwest of Phoenix after taking the infant and its mother captive, but the mother escaped with minor injuries and the child was expected to survive, authorities said. They said the status of the suspect remained unknown after a fire […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Missouri candidate with ties to the KKK can stay on the Republican ballot, judge rules

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A longshot Missouri gubernatorial candidat e with ties to the Ku Klux Klan will stay on the Republican ticket, a judge ruled Friday. Cole County Circuit Court Judge Cotton Walker denied a request by the Missouri GOP to kick Darrell McClanahan out of the August Republican primary. McClanahan is running […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

UN experts say South Sudan is close to securing a $13 billion oil-backed loan from a UAE company

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. experts say South Sudan is close to securing a $13 billion loan from a company in the United Arab Emirates, despite the oil-rich country’s difficulties in managing debts backed by its oil reserves. The panel of experts said in a report to the U.N. Security Council that loan documents it […]

13 hours ago

Associated Press

A murderous romance or frame job? Things to know about Boston’s Karen Read murder trial

BOSTON (AP) — A highly anticipated trial in Massachusetts involving a woman accused of striking her Boston police officer boyfriend with her SUV and leaving him for dead in a snowbank is finishing its third week on Friday. The case has garnered national attention because the defense alleges that state and local law enforcement officials […]

13 hours ago

Associated Press

US security alert warns Americans overseas of potential attacks on LGBTQ events

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department renewed a global security warning Friday for Americans overseas, adding to it that LGBTQ people and events in particular face an “increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence.” The alert is a standard renewal of travel advice telling Americans to exercise increased caution against possible attacks by violent extremist […]

13 hours ago

Nashville Police investigation into leak of Covenant School shooter’s writings is inconclusive