Brent Leatherwood, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), blasted the individual who leaked the Covenant School shooter’s alleged manifesto to the public.
According to Church Leaders, Leatherwood’s three children survived the shooting that took place at their school, The Covenant School, on March 27. At the time, the shooter, a 28-year-old female who identified as transgender, was armed with two assault rifles and a handgun, killing three students and three adults.
The shooter was eventually killed by officers from the Metro Nashville Police Department after firing 152 rounds.
In June, Leatherwood, family members of the victims, and survivors of the shooting filed declarations to prevent the shooter’s manifesto from publicly being released for the sake of protecting their children from further trauma from the writings.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Leatherwood denounced the leaker who posted three pages of the shooter’s manifesto to social media.
“I would challenge him and anyone who amplifies them online: Just be a human for once,” Leatherwood said. Leatherwood also urged others posting the images to “quit seeking clicks, retweets, and platform building.”
The ERLC president contended that any revenue the leaked images create “should go directly to the six families or to The Covenant School to help pay for the security at the school every day. We are trying to make sure our kids are safe.”
He also warned that the release of the shooter’s manifesto could encourage others to copy the attack. Leatherwood noted that when a mass shooter in Allen, Texas, referred to the Covenant School shooter.
Leatherwood also called out the law enforcement officer who leaked the images of the shooter’s manifesto.
“You are a viper,” Leatherwood said.
“You have now allowed this woman who terrorized our family with bullets to be able to terrorize us with words from the grave,” he added. “How could you? What kind of a person does this?”
He also shared that the Metro Nashville Police Department asserted to him that the leaker of the images would be arrested and charged with a felony.
“I will commit to praying for you that you will reveal yourself so that justice may be done,” Leatherwood told the person responsible for the leaked photos. Repentance is key in the life of a Christian, he added, sharing that he is praying that this individual would “turn from the evil that has been perpetrated on our families and realize the wrong that they have committed.”
“My earnest hope is they will find renewal in a person called Jesus Christ,” Leatherwood said.
On Monday, conservative commentator and podcast host Steven Crowder first released the images of the manifesto. Later that evening, Nashville Chief of Police John Drake made a statement to confirm the pages’ authenticity.
“I am greatly disturbed by today’s unauthorized release of three pages of writings from the Covenant shooter,” Drake said. “This police department is extremely serious about the investigation to identify the person responsible.”
“This action showed a total disregard for Covenant families, as well as the court system, which has control of the shooter’s journals at present due to litigation filed earlier this year,” he continued. “It is now pending in Davidson County Chancery Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals. We are not at liberty to release the journals until the courts rule. Our police department looks forward to the ultimate resolution of the litigation concerning the journals.”
Each of the pages featured titles, including “Death Day,” which highlighted how long the shooter planned to go about the attack. Another page, titled “Kill Those Kids,” used explicit language and derogatory hate-speech against the children, and the last one, titled “Death Day,” closed with the phrase “Time 2 Die”.
Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jon Cherry / Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.
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We would do well to consider how biblical patterns might inform our contemporary actions. Read James Spencer’s full article here.
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