Solemn memorial service honors victims of Nashville school shooting

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Hundreds of people gathered at a candlelight rally in Nashville on Wednesday to mourn and mourn the three children and three adults killed in a Christian school shooting this week. bottom.

The downtown ceremony for the victims of the Covenant school shooting was mostly gloomy, quiet, and full of young people. Citizen leaders such as

“Just two days ago was the worst day for our city,” Mayor John Cooper said. “We wish we weren’t here, we need to be here.”

Earlier in the day, Pope Francis offered condolences to the city and offered prayers to those affected.

Police said the 28-year-old former student drove to the school Monday morning, shot through a glass door, went inside and began firing indiscriminately.

The deceased were students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all aged nine. Katherine Koons, 60, Principal. Her substitute teacher, Cynthia Peake, 61. Her caretaker, Mike Hill, is also 61.

Authorities have not yet determined the shooter’s motive, but said the attacker did not target a specific victim.

Another performer featured at the memorial service, musician Margo Price, has been particularly vocal about Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s position on state gun laws. Following the shooting, Price tweeted: His hands are full of blood. “

Lee said late Tuesday that Peake was a close friend of his wife, Maria, and the two planned to meet for dinner after Peake’s work that day.

“Maria woke up this morning without one of her best friends,” Lee said in a video statement, adding that his wife once taught at Peak and Koons. We were friends,” he said.

Crowe also pushed for stricter gun laws and released a tribute song to the 20 children and six adults who were murdered in 2012 at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. She responded to a tweet from Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn, who said she and her husband were “heartbroken” by the shooting, and that she and her office were “supportive.” I am ready,” he said.

“If you’re ready to help,” Crow tweeted, “pass sensible gun laws so kids in Tennessee and America can go to school without the risk of being shot. .”

“Parents in our community are heartbroken with pain and grief to learn that today they had to identify the bodies of children who were killed yesterday in a classroom with an assault rifle. said Ketch Seko, another musician who attended Wednesday’s wake.

Cooper and Democratic Rep. Harold Love Jr. have also called for stronger gun control. Republican-led state legislatures have largely turned down such calls.

Nashville Presbyterian leader Reverend George Grant avoided political debate.

“When pundits and politicians try to make sense of nonsense, we’re not asking why. We know why — we’re in a crumbling, crumbling world.” The church associated with the school is a member of the Presbyterian Church, which includes congregations in central Tennessee and southwestern Kentucky.

In a blog post published Wednesday, Grant said the notice about the active shooter at the school led to a Presbyterian planning meeting that included Chad Scruggs, a Covenant Presbyterian pastor, and the father of one of the shooting victims. I explained in detail how it was interrupted.

“We were devastated, blinded in disbelief and fear and sadness and empty in the corridors. … Our worst fears came true,” Grant wrote.

Police said the shooter, identified as Audrey Hale, was being treated by doctors for an undisclosed emotional disorder and was not on police radar before the attack. shot dead.

Authorities have provided unclear information about Hale’s gender.

For hours on Monday, police identified the shooter as a woman. Later in the day, the police chief said Hale was transgender. said to be using

Maria Colomy, a former teacher at Nashville’s Nossi College of Art & Design, remembered Hale as a talented artist when she was a student in Colomy’s social media class in 2017.

She saw a post on Facebook in the past year when Hale wrote about the death of a romantic partner and asked to be called by a male name and male pronouns.

Colomy said Hale was “very openly saddened” on Facebook. “What[Hale]said in his grief was, ‘For the sake of this man’s honor, I want to be who I want to be and be called Aiden.'”

On Hale’s first day at Nossi School, Colomy said she saw Hale become frustrated and start crying as she tried to log into the student portal.

“I went up to[Hale]and said, ‘If you need to take a step, that’s totally fine,'” Colomy said. But then, Colomy said, Hale started feeling safe at school and she “started to feel really good.”

Samira Hardcastle, who attended both middle school and high school with Hale, said Hale seemed sweet and socially awkward. I told him that I had spoken to him, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

As a middle school teacher, Hardcastle said she’s still processing what happened.

“I don’t think irrational behavior can be justified, so I’m just trying to make peace with it,” she said.


Holly Meyer, AP Religious News Editor in Nashville and News Verification Reporter Beatrice Dupuy in New York contributed to this report. Solemn memorial service honors victims of Nashville school shooting

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