- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
As lawyers prepare for a hearing next week on releasing records related to The Covenant School shooting, the school is seeking to intervene in the case and a growing number of Tennessee House Republicans are calling for police to release the records.
The Covenant School and Covenant Presbyterian Church filed motions to intervene in lawsuits calling for the Metro Nashville Police Department to release several records relating to the mass shooting.
The school wrote that the requested records may include confidential information that could endanger its school's students and faculty if released.
"The records sought ... may include and/or relate to sensitive information owned by The Covenant School, including, but not limited to the schematics of school facilities, and confidential information pertaining to The Covenant School employees and students," the school wrote in its expedited motion to intervene, filed Monday. "The release of such information could cause security and safety issues."
The requested documents include the shooter's writings as well as nearly all police communications about the writings, including "emails, texts and other communications."
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch earlier characterized the shooter's writings more as "ramblings" rather than pointing to any clear motive.
Covenant is hoping to argue its motion to intervene at a status conference set for Monday afternoon in one of the lawsuits.
The plaintiff in that case, Clata Brewer, acting on behalf of the National Police Association, didn't object to Covenant's request. Brewer wrote in a response on Monday that she does not oppose the motion to intervene "for the limited purpose of allowing Covenant Church to claim the specific interest it alleges."
Covenant filed a nearly identical motion in another lawsuit seeking the shooter's writings filed last week by the owner of the conservative radio station The Tennessee Star.
Meanwhile, calls for the release of records related to the shooting are growing in the statehouse. On Monday, the House GOP delivered a letter signed by 66 of the House's 74 Republican members to Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake asking that the shooter's writings and "all relevant medical records and toxicology reports" be released. The letter doesn't specify what medical records the legislators consider relevant.
— TN House Republicans (@tnhousegop) May 15, 2023
Republicans argued that the writings are needed to understand the shooter's motives ahead of a special legislative session on gun reform called by Gov. Bill Lee.
"We are united in our shared common goal and duty to protect the safety and wellbeing 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," they wrote.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, responded in a statement that Republicans have refused to reach across the aisle on gun safety legislation because they've been "bizarrely focused on a diary."
“Gun violence is an epidemic plaguing our communities and threatening the safety of 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. Meanwhile, Democrats are researching and drafting potential legislation that an overwhelming majority of Tennesseans support," Clemmons said. "I hope to see as many GOP signatures on our bipartisan gun safety legislation as they got on that letter.”
The legislature will reconvene for the special session on Aug. 21.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee House GOP requests Covenant School shooting records