tennessee gov mourns 2 friends killed in nashville shooting but says not time to act

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) said two of the teachers killed in the mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville on Monday were longtime family friends.

In a video shared on Twitter, Lee said Cynthia Peak was due to have dinner with his wife, Maria Lee, on Monday night.

But Peak was killed while substitute teaching at the school. Headteacher Katherine Koonce, also shot dead, was a yearslong friend too, he added.

“Maria woke up this morning without one of her best friends, Cindy Peak,” the GOP governor said. “Cindy and Maria and Katherine Koonce were all teachers at the same school and have been family friends for decades.”

Lee mourned the victims of the “horrific act of violence” by, according to police, a 28-year-old transgender former student who was shot dead by officers.

School custodian Michael Hill and 9-year-old students Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney were also killed in what Lee called a “tragedy beyond comprehension.”

Lee acknowledged it was “a very difficult moment” but suggested it wasn’t the time to act on the violence, just right now.

Watch the video here:

“I understand that there is pain, I understand the desperation to have answers, to place blame, to argue about a solution that could prevent this horrible tragedy,” he said. “There will come a time to ask how a person could do this. There will come a time to discuss and debate policy, but this is not a time for hate or rage. That will not resolve or heal.”

“Everyone is hurting. Everyone,” Lee continued. “Remembering that as we grieve and we walk together will be the way we honor those who we lost. We can all agree on one thing, that every human life has great value and we will act to prevent this from happening again.”

“There is a clear desire in all of us, whether we agree on the action steps or not, that we must work to find ways to protect against evil,” he added.

Lee didn’t talk about potential measures, such as gun control, in his address.

Instead, he called on people to pray for everyone affected by the massacre.

“Prayer is the first thing we should do but it’s not the only thing,” he said, claiming law enforcement and education officials had “for years” worked to strengthen school safety, adding it was a struggle “against evil itself.”

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