Senator Hawley Calls for DOJ Investigation into Nashville School Shooting as a Hate Crime

Republican Senator Josh Hawley (MO) has called on the Department of Justice to investigate Monday’s shooting at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee as a hate crime.

The attack left six people dead, including three children and three adults.

Sen. Hawley argues that the shooter, Audrey Hale, a biological female who identifies as transgender, “targeted” Christians, making it a federal hate crime.

He tweeted, “Targeting victims on the basis of religious affiliation is a hate crime. It should be investigated as such.”

The shooting took place at The Covenant School in Nashville, where Hale went on a rampage, killing six people before taking her own life.

A few hours later, Sen. Hawley tweeted he is calling on FBI Director Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas to “open a federal hate crime investigation into the massacre in Nashville – targeting a Christian school.”

He attached to the tweet his letter to Wray and Mayorkas asking the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the shooting as a federal hate crime.

In the letter, Hawley urged them to take immediate action to determine the motive behind the attack.

The Missouri senator cited federal law that explicitly criminalizes acts of violence against individuals based on religious affiliation as hate crimes.

“To be exact, the federal hate crime statute, 18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(1), bars ‘willfully causing] bodily injury to any person . . . because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person,'” he wrote.

Hawley further pointed to Nashville police chief John Drake’s statement that “we have a manifesto, we have some writings that we’re 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.”

Additionally, detectives believe that the shooter had “some resentment for having to go to that school.”

Hawley concluded his letter by calling for a thorough investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.

“The full resources of the federal government must be brought to bear to determine how this crime occurred, and who may have influenced the deranged shooter to carry out these horrific crimes,” he wrote. “Hate that leads to violence must be condemned. And hate crimes must be prosecuted.”