Judge orders FBI to hand over trans school shooter Audrey Hale's manifesto

A federal judge in Tennessee has ordered the FBI to hand over the “manifesto” left behind by a transgender killer who gunned down three adults and three children at the Covenant Christian School in Nashville last year before responding officers put an end to the mayhem.

Audrey Elizabeth Hale, who police said identified as a trans male and went by Aiden, shot her way into the school in March 2023, killing Mike Hill, 61, Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and three 9-year-olds, Hallie Scruggs, Evelyn Dieckhaus and William Kinney.

Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake told reporters that officers recovered a “manifesto” from Hale’s car as well as other documents, including a hand-drawn map of the school. He said last year it would be released, but it has not been.

NASHVILLE AUTHORITIES ‘AWARE’ OF PURPORTED LEAK OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOL SHOOTER’S MANIFESTO

This still image from surveillance video shows school shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale, 28, stalking the hallways of the Covenant Christian School in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 27, 2023. The rampage left three 9-year-old children and three adults dead. (Metro Nashville Police Department)

Even though police shot the suspect dead on the school’s second floor, the FBI has repeatedly refused to release the manifesto, arguing that doing so “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

The parent company of the Tennessee Star, a local newspaper, sued the FBI after the bureau denied its public records request under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Body camera footage shows Nashville Police Department officers fatally shooting 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale on the school’s second floor. (Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)

“It has been long enough, and the public has an urgent right to know why this tragedy happened, how future events may be prevented, and what policies should be in place to address this and other similar tragedies,” lawyers for the newspaper wrote in a federal complaint. “[The] FBI has no right to retain a monopoly on this information.”

Read the judge’s order

NASHVILLE SCHOOL SHOOTER AUDREY HALE: WHO IS 28-YEAR-OLD TRANSGENDER FORMER STUDENT WHO OPENED FIRE AT SCHOOL

The FBI sought to have the complaint dismissed, but Judge Aleta Trauger of the Middle District of Tennessee said the bureau had failed to support its position “with sufficient clarity or detail” and ordered it to submit the manifesto to the court, so she could review the materials.

“The FBI is ORDERED to produce ex parte all documents that are potentially responsive to the defendants’ Freedom of Information Act request for in camera review, with the exception that, based on the plaintiffs’ concessions in this litigation, the FBI need not produce any documents that could not reasonably be construed to bear on Audrey Hale’s motives,” Trauger wrote.

The house of Covenant School shooter, Audrey Hale, is boarded up in Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. Hale was killed by police after shooting six people – three adults and three children – in the school a day earlier. (KR/Mega for Fox News Digital)

AUDREY HALE POLICE BODYCAMS RELEASED

In November, portions of what appeared to be crime scene photographs of a couple of pages leaked, however authorities refused to confirm their authenticity.

The FBI, which has previously declined to comment due to pending litigation, did not immediately respond to questions from Fox News Digital.

Memorials for the six victims who were killed in a mass shooting are placed outside the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday, March 30, 2023. (KR/Mega for Fox News Digital)

When Hale burst in, the first victim, Hill, sustained fatal gunshot wounds in the process. According to city officials, Koonce heard the first shots while on a Zoom call, hung up and confronted the attacker. Police found her dead in the hallway outside her office.

Drake said investigators had not immediately determined a motive but that they believed Hale, a former student, had targeted the school and its affiliated church. One of the child victims, Hallie, was the pastor’s daughter.

Audrey Hale was identified by police as the shooter who opened fire at the Covenant School, killing six people. (Audrey Hale)

The manifesto is expected to reveal more about the killer’s motive and rage. Critics have questioned the motive behind continued delays in its release.

The National Police Association is also suing the city of Nashville for the same documents.

Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports

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