On Wednesday afternoon, a heavily-armed firearms dealer named Leonard Embody wandered around a Tennessee high school wearing a bulletproof vest, with a loaded rifle strapped to his back. According to witnesses, he may have been carrying a handgun, as well.
A concerned parent requested information from the school district from the open carry incident outside Hillsboro High School and received a response explaining that the school respects “the constitutional rights of all individuals,” but called police and asked that the man be arrested because it was dismissal time.
We have learned this man is a resident of another county who is known to local law enforcement for public demonstrations to exercise his right to bear arms. Courts have upheld this man’s rights and dismissed prior arrests (which were not at our schools). The School Resource Officers at Hillsboro saw him yesterday afternoon and they and patrol officers with MNPD kept him under observation. The sidewalks in front of the school are considered public property; however since it was dismissal and the area is used by students and parents, the school system asked for his arrest. MNPS leadership and MNPD were in constant communication throughout this incident. While we support the constitutional rights of all individuals, we are concerned with the choice this man made to use the front of our school as a place for his demonstration. We hope this was an isolated incident but our school resource and security officers are aware and we will request his arrest if he comes near one of our school campuses with a weapon.
Manager, Customer Service
Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
2601 Bransford Avenue, Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 291-6038 fax
Police chose not to deal with the armed individual, who was continually approaching students with handouts on the Second Amendment.
Embody has a record of creating public concern — so much that someone has set up a blog detailing his shenanigans. At one point, the Criminal Investigator for the Belle Meade Police Department requested that Embody’s handgun carry permit be revoked for “repeatedly” compromising the “safety of the general public, responding law enforcement officers, and his own.”
His permit was, indeed suspended:
Embody sued over the revocation, but his claim was shot down after he “failed to show that his rights had been infringed upon.” Stephanie Lundy of Moms Demand Action told AATTP that the school changed its tune after the Embody situation began to get some attention. In a message to another concerned parent, Executive Principal J. Terry Schrader explained why there was no lockdown or arrest:
We have been working closely with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and MNPS school security. This man thrives on attention. Locking down the school with no intimate threat would have been playing into his hands. He was covered by armed officers the entire time he was in front of our campus, and had he become a threat would have been taken into custody.
All our students were safe, and we did not want this man to get what he wanted (panic and publicity).
I appreciate your concern, and let me assure you that MNPD, MNPS, and HHS were all working together to keep our students safe.
J. Terry Shrader, Ed.D.
Hillsboro High School
An International Baccalaureate World School
3812 Hillsboro Road
Nashville, TN 37215
Embody posted his own video from his “walk” around the school. Lundy noted that “he was armed not only with a loaded rifle but also a loaded handgun as he paced back and forth in front of Nashville’s Hillsborough High School yesterday afternoon. The camera he apparently had attached to his chest over his bulletproof vest records him as he passes right by school buses gathered at the school.”
Watch it below: