7 Metro Nashville police officers have been placed on leave

Police in Nashville, Tenn., said they assigned seven employees to “administrative duties,” days after writings from a gunman who killed six people at Covenant School were posted online.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department is continuing its investigation into who published the writings, it confirmed Wednesday. A spokesman for the department said it was placing the seven people on leave to “protect the integrity of the active, ongoing investigation.”

All seven employees have full police authority, the spokesman said.

Exterior view of the police headquarters
Nashville Police Department.Google Maps

The move to give the group administrative tasks was “absolutely not criminal,” the spokesperson added. In fairness to these seven people, police are not identifying any of them by name, the statement said.

On Monday, three images purporting to be writings from 28-year-old Covenant School shooter Audrey Hale were posted online by a conservative podcast and YouTube host. The images appeared to show documents relating to the conduct of a school shooting on a specific date.

NBC News has not confirmed whether the documents are authentic.

Hale was killed by police after he opened fire at the private Christian school in Nashville on March 27, killing three children and three adults. The shooter had once been a student at the school.

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell on Monday called for a full investigation into the images and called on Metro Nashville Legal Director Wally Dietz to “initiate an investigation into how these images could have been released.”

“I am deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of the Covenant families and all grieving Nashvillians,” O’Connell said in a statement.

Parents whose children were at Covenant School at the time of the shooting filed a motion to keep the documents secret.

A spokesman for the parents on Monday called the person who publicly posted the images of the papers “a viper” and said the person had “published evidence collected at our most vulnerable moment.”

“You allowed it now [the shooter]who terrorized our family with bullets so that he could now terrorize us with words from the grave,” said spokesman Brent Leatherwood, whose three children were in school and survived.

David Raybin, an attorney for Hale’s parents, said he could not speak about the images shared, citing a court case.

“We’ve never seen a manifesto,” Raybin said. “We are also unable to authenticate these pieces of paper.”

Brian Ashcraft

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