Nashville school shooting: Highland Park parade shooting witness, on vacation in Tennessee, rips lack of action on guns

Ashbey Beasley, who was near the scene of the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park, speaks about gun legislation during a press conference in July in Washington. Beasley was in Nashville on Monday when a shooter opened fire at an elementary school killing six.

Anna Rose Layden/Getty

Ashbey Beasley was in Nashville on Monday when a shooter killed three adults and three students at an elementary school.

The attack struck a nerve, bringing back bitter memories of the Highland Park massacre last year, where seven people were killed when a gunman armed with an assault rifle fired from a rooftop at a crowd of people attending a July 4th parade, including Beasley and her son.

On Monday, Nashville police had just finished addressing reporters at a press conference about the shooting at The Covenant School when Beasley spoke up.

“Aren’t you guys tired of covering this?” she asked. “Aren’t you guys tired of being here and having to cover all these mass shootings?”

Speaking to reporters, Beasley said she was visiting her sister-in-law on a family vacation with her son.

Local authorities identified the victims as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all 9 years old, and adults Cynthia Peak, 61; Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61, according to the Associated Press.

The shooter is also dead after being “engaged” by police, Nashville police said via Twitter.

Beasley has become a vocal advocate for gun reform, speaking at a Senate hearing for the potential ban on assault weapons in Illinois and lobbying in Washington.

In an interview with USA Today on Monday, Beasley said she became drawn to activism after seeing how her son was struggling to cope with the trauma of the shooting.

”The activism has sort of become my therapy,” Beasley told USA Today. “There’s no absolute answer that’s going to prevent every single gun death. But we have to do everything in our power to do the things that we know will work.”

But after months of pleas for stricter gun laws, she begged legislators to act following the latest fatal mass shooting.

“These shootings and these mass shootings will continue to happen until our legislators step up and pass gun safety legislation,” Beasley said.

Her impromptu speech was aired on national and local news networks, and she shared details of the shooting on Twitter.

I’m in Nashville on a family vacation and there was a mass shooting at a school. was meeting a friend whose son’s school went on lockdown. I just passed the reunification center for #covenantschooltn and saw parents running in the street.

— Ashbey Beasley (@CampBeasleywood) March 27, 2023

The Covenant School, a private Christian school, teaches students from preschool through sixth grade. Students could be seen holding each other and walking in a single-file line away from the school, waiting to be reunited with their parents following the attack.

At least 129 mass shootings have been reported in the United States so far in 2023, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an incident where at least four people are injured or killed by guns, not including the shooter.

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