House holds moment of silence to honor victims of Nashville shooting

A police officer walks by an entrance to The Covenant School after a shooting in Nashville, Tenn. on Monday, March 27, 2023. (AP Photo/John Amis)

The House held a moment of silence on Thursday to honor the victims of the school shooting in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday.

Three students and three adults were killed this week when a gunman opened fire at The Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville that offers preschool through sixth grade. The three students — Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney and Hallie Scruggs — were all nine years old. Katherine Koonce, 60, the head of the school died in the shooting, in addition to Mike Hill, 61, a custodian, and Cynthia Peak, 61, a substitute teacher.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), surrounded by other members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, led the moment of silence on the House floor. Lawmakers stood for roughly 15 seconds.

Tennessee Republican Reps. Tim Burchett and Andy Ogles — both of whom have come under scrutiny in the aftermath of the shooting — were present on the House floor for the moment of silence, and Burchett’s presence in particular was pointed out by Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fla.).

“We were just in there, and there was a moment of silence, which I really respect. But one of the members who were up there during that moment of silence was the same member where a couple days ago, asked about the shooting, said there’s nothing we can do about it,” Frost, who before coming to Congress was the national organizing director for the gun control advocacy group March for Our Lives, told reporters, adding that “a moment of silence is important, but what you do after also matters.”

“Faith without works is dead; without working on this issue our children will also be dead,” he added. “We live in a country where parents are losing their children to being shot up and mowed down by an AR-15 during their school day, dying in a pool of their own blood. And so what we do next matters. It’s not enough to just have a moment of silence, we know about the thoughts and prayers. We need action and we’re gonna do what needs to be done.”

Burchett drew headlines this week when, speaking about gun violence, he told reporters “we’re not gonna fix it.”

“Criminals are gonna be criminals,” he added. The congressman doubled down on his remarks later in the week, telling NBC News “if you think Washington’s gonna fix this problem, you’re wrong. They’re not gonna fix this problem; they are the problem.”

Ogles, whose congressional district includes Nashville, has also been the target of criticism following the shooting after a photo from 2021 resurfaced that showed him and his family wielding firearms.

Cohen delivered remarks on the House floor Thursday honoring the six victims.

“On Monday, the horror and the terror, the insanity of mass shootings came to our capital city, Nashville, Tennessee, and most directly, Covenant Presbyterian School,” he said.

“Six innocent victims passed. Three were children: Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, Hallie Scruggs, all nine years old, all loving students, friends, brothers, sisters, parents. And three adults: Mike Hill, a beloved custodian of 14 years and a father and a grandfather, Katherine Koonce, the headmaster who’s been referred to as a saint, and Cynthia Peak, a substitute teacher who had a light that whenever she appeared,” he added.

In addition to the six individuals who were killed, the congressman mentioned the “other victims” of the shooting, “the classmates, the friends, the staff at Covenant Presbyterian, and the city of Nashville.”

“I ask that we have a moment of silence in their memory and in their honor,” he added.

Tags Andy Ogles Steve Cohen Tim Burchett

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