NASHVILLE (LifeSiteNews) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is not treating the shooting at a Nashville Christian school by a gender-confused woman as a domestic terror attack, the agency said in statements made to the Daily Wire.
In response to comment from the outlet, Elizabeth Clement-Webb, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Memphis field office, said “If it was terrorism, we would have federal jurisdiction. Given that Nashville metro is leading the investigation, I think you can take a lot from that.” She added that the FBI is in an “assistance role” and that local police are currently leading the investigation.
“I think we’ll learn more over time, but at this time it does not appear to be federal,” she continued. When asked if the agency was monitoring “radical trans activists” as a source of potential domestic terrorism, she responded in the negative.
On Monday, Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old woman who identified as male, shot and killed three children and three adults at the Covenant School, a Presbyterian private school in Nashville, before being fatally shot by police responders. Hale, a former Covenant student, was a “lone zealot” with a “manifesto” laying out her “resentment” of the school, according to Nashville police chief John Drake.
The manifesto further included detailed maps of the school, and noted specific parts of the school Hale intended to target specifically, with specific actions Hale would take to carry out an attack, Drake noted.
Nashville police have elected not to release the manifesto, a spokesperson for the department told the Daily Caller, citing an ongoing investigation into the shooting. The spokesperson further stated that it is uncertain if Nashville police would release the manifesto in the future after the investigation.
LGBT activist groups, meanwhile, have advocated that the department withhold the manifesto, calling instead for a focus on gun control regulation, with some fearing that publication of the manifesto could lead to a “glorification” of the event.
The attack further comes as the Trans Radical Activist Network (TRAN) announced in early March that it would be holding a “Trans Day of Vengeance” from March 31 to April 1 outside of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.
“Like the Stonewall Riots the gays and lesbians were experiencing what the trans community is facing now,” TRAN said. “This cycle of hate needs to end[,] in fact it must. Allies, siblings[,] we need you now more than ever.”
In response to the Daily Wire’s request for comment, the FBI’s Washington, D.C. field office declined to say if the agency was monitoring the upcoming event, or if it was studying “radical trans activists” as a potential source for domestic terrorism. The field office further directed the outlet to the FBI’s National Press Office.
In response to the outlet’s request for comment, the National Press Office said “membership in a group is not illegal in and of itself. In fact, it is protected by the First Amendment. The FBI will never open an investigation based solely on protected First Amendment activity. We focus on individuals who commit or intend to commit violence and criminal activity that constitutes a federal crime or poses a threat to national security.”
The FBI has, however, been subject to scrutiny for apparently prosecuting and investigating conservative Catholics and pro-lifers for exercising their First Amendment rights, including with the arrest of Catholic pro-life speaker Mark Houck and an FBI memo leaked last month saying that the agency was spying on “radical” Latin-Mass Catholics. The agency retracted the memo after receiving severe backlash.
Shortly after the shooting, Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley wrote a letter to FBI director Christopher Wray and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas demanding that the federal government treat the shooting as a hate crime directed against Christians.
Further, Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Mary Miller of Illinois sent a letter to Wray asking if the FBI was treating the shooting as a potential domestic terrorist attack, and if so, what organizations could have motivated Hale to perpetrate the shooting. The letter further asked if the agency was going to investigate any individual or organization that inspired the attack as well as organizations like TRANS, and if Hale was on any “gender” or mental health medications.
Meanwhile, Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy asked Attorney General Merrick Garland if the shooting was being investigated as a hate crime during a Senate hearing Tuesday. Garland responded claiming that as no motivation for the shooting had been established, it could not be deemed a hate crime.