Tennessee Gov Mourns 2 Friends Killed At Nashville School, But Says Not Time 'For Rage'

Republican Bill Lee's wife had been due to dine with a Covenant School substitute teacher gunned down in the mass shooting.

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.

Peak was shot to death earlier that day while substitute teaching at the school. Head teacher Katherine Koonce, also shot dead, was a yearslong friend, too, Lee 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” that police say was committed by a 28-year-old former student who was shot dead by officers.

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

Lee acknowledged it was “a very difficult moment,” but said “this is not a time for hate or rage.”

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. The shooter, who police have identified as transgender, legally purchased seven guns prior to the attack and was being treated for an emotional disorder.

Lee 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.

He said that law enforcement and education officials had “for years” worked to strengthen school safety, and added that it was a struggle “against evil itself.”

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