The reported shooter who killed six people at a Nashville Christian school left a manifesto explaining the attack, according to law enforcement officials.
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) has indicated that the shooter’s decision to identify as transgender potentially motivated the killings.
In a press conference, MNPD Chief John Drake confirmed that “She does identify as transgender.”
“We have a manifesto, we have some writings that we are going over that pertain to this date, the actual incident, we have a map drawn out of how this was all going to take place,” Drake added.
“There’s right now a theory that we might be able to talk about later, but it’s not confirmed,” he continued, “but we will put that out as soon as we can.”
When asked if the shooter’s transgender identity had anything to do with the killings, Drake answered, “There is some theory to that.”
Drake further claimed that the available evidence suggested the shooting was a targeted attack.
In a released statement, MNPD explained, “The shooter, Audrey Elizabeth Hale, 28, who attended the school years ago, … was heavily armed with three guns, two of them assault-type weapons, and, as seen in surveillance video, shot her way into the church/school through doors on the side of the building.”
“Writings recovered from Hale revealed that her attack was calculated and planned,” the statement read.
The attack comes as some states, including Tennessee, have passed laws or are considering bills that would prevent sex alteration surgeries or transgender hormone administration for minors. In response to such legislation, pro-transgender groups planned “days of vengeance” in protest.
In now-deleted tweets, the Trans Radical Activist Network promoted a day of vengeance in Washington, D.C., planned for the end of March and the beginning of April.
“The time is now, enough is enough. This country is full of hate and hate is NOT welcomed in this country. We are human beings and we will always exist,” the group’s message read, according to The Daily Wire.
The Virginia chapter of the organization also highlighted a dance party fundraiser held on March 7 to raise money for “Benefitting firearm/self defense training for trans Virginians.”
Kyle Shideler, the director for homeland security and counterterrorism at the Center for Security Policy, explained to The Dallas Express that “it would be worth investigating whether the individual had any association with an Antifa or Trans Liberation style armed group.”
“This is particularly worth looking into because a number of these groups have used social media in recent days to call for a Transgender ‘Day of Vengeance’ promoted as coinciding with the Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31st,” he added.
Furthermore, Shideler noted, “There has been a growing normalization of firearms and threats of armed force among certain subsegments of the transgender movement in recent years, including through the sale of patches, stickers, t-shirts, and the like.”
“This has coincided with a normalization of rhetoric that equates individuals opposing medical transitioning procedures for children, as recently occurred in Tennessee, with ‘trans-genocide,’” he said.
Shideler concluded that “while we shouldn’t make any assumptions about the perpetrator’s motives until additional information is released, I believe there’s good reason to explore those avenues of investigation to determine what associations, if any, the perpetrator may have had.”
The Trans Resistance Network, a pro-transgender activist organization, issued a statement following the attack, claiming “that today’s incident in Nashville, TN, is not one tragedy but two.”
“The first tragedy is the loss of life of three children and adults. We extend our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers to those families dealing with the loss of loved ones,” the group said.
“The second and more complex tragedy is that Aiden or Aubrey Hale, who felt he had no other effective way to be seen than to lash out by taking the life of others, and by consequence, himself,” the statement added.
While explaining that it did not know what motivated the killer, the Trans Resistance Network asserted, “We do know that life for transgender people is very difficult, and made more difficult in the preceding months by a virtual avalanche of anti-trans legislation, and public callouts by Right Wing personalities and political figures for nothing less than the genocidal eradication of trans people from society.”
“Hate has consequences,” the groups suggested. “It is a testament to the inner strength and beauty of transgender people, that despite the overwhelming odds of homelessness, job discrimination, and constant anti-trans bigotry and violence, so many of us continue to preserve, survive, and even thrive.”
The Dallas Express reached out to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department for further information on the reported manifesto and Hale’s other writings.
Kristin Mumford, a public affairs officer for MNPD, told The Dallas Express, “They are still looking into it, and I don’t have a timeline for its release.”