Nashville victims: Governor Bill Lee reveals his wife lost ‘one of her best friends’ in Covenant shooting
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee addressed Tennesseans in a video Tuesday night after a shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville the day before left six people dead. Among the victims was 61-year-old substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, who was a close friend of his wife, Maria.
In the video, Governor Lee, a Republican, described Monday’s shooting as “an incomprehensible tragedy” and said he – like many others across the state – woke up Tuesday morning feeling ” emptiness, a lack of understanding, a desperate desire for answers, [and] a desperate need for hope.”
“Maria woke up this morning without one of her best friends, Cindy,” he said, noting the couple had planned to host Peak for dinner the same day she was shot and killed. .
“Cindy was supposed to come to dinner with Maria last night after being a substitute teacher yesterday at Covenant,” Lee added. He said his wife, Cindy, and Dr. Katherine Koonce, another victim who served as the school’s principal, were “all teachers at the same school and have been friends of the family for decades.”
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Lee acknowledged that other Tennesseans have woken up missing a friend, family member, teacher, spouse or loved one.
“Like many of you, I experienced a tragedy in my own life and lived through the aftermath of that tragedy. All of Tennessee was hurt yesterday, but some parents woke up without children,” he said. he continued. “Children woke up without parents, without teachers. Spouses woke up without loved ones.”
Lee also recalled the bravery of Metro Nashville police officers who rushed into the school and arrested the shooter.
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He also urged the community to pray for everyone involved and promised further action.
“The struggle is against evil itself. We are called to love our enemies,” he said. “There is hope amid the tragedy. May we grieve in the days ahead, but not without hope.”
The governor’s remarks come as the community grapples with what the Covenant School has also called a “terrible tragedy”.
“Our community is heartbroken,” school administrators said in a statement late Monday. “We mourn a tremendous loss and are in shock as we emerge from the terror that destroyed our school and our church. We are focused on loving our students, families, teachers and staff and on the beginning of the healing process.”
The statement continued: “Law enforcement is investigating, and while we understand there is a lot of interest and there will be a lot of discussion and speculation surrounding what happened , we will continue to prioritize the well-being of our community.”
“We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received, and are extremely grateful to the first responders who acted quickly to protect our students, faculty and staff,” he added.
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Park Cities Presbyterian Church (PCPC), a sister church to Covenant Presbyterian Church – where the Covenant School is held, also said the community is left with “unimaginable grief” and mourns together.
PCPC also confirmed that one of the three children killed in the shooting, 9-year-old Hallie Scruggs, was the only daughter of the current senior pastor of the Covenant Presbyterian Church, Chad Scruggs.
“We love the Scruggs family and mourn with them their precious daughter Hallie. Together we trust in the power of Christ to come close to us and give us the comfort and hope we so desperately need,” the senior pastor said. of PCPC, Mark Davis, in a statement.
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The sister church held a prayer service on Tuesday, March 28 for the community.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.