The parents of children killed in a March mass shooting at a Nashville, Tennessee, grade school are arguing in a lawsuit that written material by the shooter shouldn’t be released.
Allowing news organisations and others who have sought the records to see the writings would cause “unfathomable trauma” and give the gunman in the shooting, which killed six people, “immortality,” mother Erin Kinney wrote in a filing obtained by CNN.
Ms Kinney, whose son William, 9, died in the shooting, said she hoped to spare survivors and their families from “the unfathomable trauma of encountering sensitive material about the deaths of their siblings, friends, teachers; and most certainly to protect them from ever encountering the hateful, diseased words of the monster who slaughtered six human beings in their school.”
Katy and Michael Dieckhaus, whose daughter Evelyn, 9, was also killed, said they hoped the records wouldn’t be made public as well.
“As one of the families going through such deep grieving of losing their loved one – after simply dropping her off at school, we hope a more respectful, clear view can truly start to occur to help make a change that does not include releasing volumes of leverage for others planning similar devastation in this nation,” the family said in a court declaration.
Multiple, since-consolidated lawsuits, including one by the Nashville Tennessean newspaper, have sought to compel the Nashville police department to release the materials.
The paper argued in its complaint that it is seeking “to bring to light additional facts regarding this incident, societal and mental health issues, and issues regarding firearms more broadly, which have not yet been revealed through other means.”
They added that their access to the materials should be protected by the First Amendment and the state constitution, and argued that the parents don’t have standing.
The police department has denied previous requests to release the writings, claiming they’re related to an ongoing criminal investigation and could also jeopardise public safety.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for 12 July.
The Nashville shooter, a former student at the Covenant Christian grade school where the massacre took place, was killed by police.