Jill Biden and Sheryl Crow to attend vigil for Nashville shooting victims

First Lady Jill Biden and Sheryl Crow were among those expected to attend a candlelight vigil Wednesday in memory of the three children and three adults killed in a shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville.

Ms. Crow was scheduled to perform, along with fellow musicians Margo Price and Ketch Secor, the Nashville mayor’s office said in a news release.

The lineup also included civic leaders, including Mayor John Cooper and Police Chief John Drake.

Cooper said the vigil would “honor the lives of the victims and lift the spirits of the survivors and families” of the Covenant School.

Nashville school shooting
People gather to sign wooden crosses placed on a makeshift monument next to the entrance to the Covenant School in Nashville (Mark Zaleski/The Tennessean via AP)

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

In a telegram, the pontiff asked Nashville Bishop J. Mark Spalding to convey the assurance of his prayers.

“He joins the entire community in mourning the children and adults who have passed away and entrusts them to the loving embrace of the Lord Jesus,” said the telegram, which was sent by the Vatican Secretary of State on behalf of the pontiff.

In other developments, Nashville city officials on Wednesday declined to immediately release 911 calls about the shooting because of the ongoing investigation.

Nashville school shooting victim
Michael Hill, center, with his family, was one of the victims of the Covenant School shooting (Family photo via AP)

Police said a 28-year-old former student came to the school Monday morning, shot out the glass doors and shot dead three 9-year-old boys, a janitor, a substitute teacher and the school principal.

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

The dead children were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney. The adults killed were Katherine Koonce, 60, the school’s principal; substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61; and janitor Mike Hill, also 61.

Among the artists featured at the vigil, Ms. Price has been especially vocal about Gov. Bill Lee’s position on state gun laws, tweeting in response to the shooting: “Our kids are dying and getting shot at school, but you They’re more concerned with drag queens.” which smart gun laws? You have blood on your hands.

Nashville school shooting victim
Katherine Koonce, principal of the Covenant School, was shot dead in the attack (The Covenant School via AP)

Lee said Tuesday night that Peak was a close friend of his wife, Maria, and that the two had planned to meet for dinner after Peak’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 with Peak and Koonce. The women, she said, “have been friends of the family for decades.”

The shooting sparked a great deal of prayer and support.

“While pundits and politicians try to make sense of what doesn’t make sense, we’re not really asking why. We know why: we live in a fallen and broken world,” said Pastor George Grant, leader of the Nashville Presbytery, which is connected to the school.

In a blog post published Wednesday, Mr. Grant recounted how notifications about an active shooter at the school disrupted a presbytery planning meeting that included Chad Scruggs, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church and father of one of the victims. of the shooting.

“We walked out into the hallway, distraught, our eyes clouded with disbelief, horror, and pain. Our worst fears came true,” Grant wrote.

Police said the shooter, whom they identified as Audrey Hale, was under a doctor’s care for an undisclosed emotional disorder and was not on police radar before the attack.

Police have given unclear information about Hale’s sex.

During hours of Monday, the police identified the attacker as a woman. Later that day, the police chief said that Hale was transgender.

In an email Tuesday, a police spokesperson said Hale “was assigned female at birth” but used masculine pronouns in a social media profile. The boss then later used female pronouns to refer to Hale.


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