Jenna Bush Hager 'Knew of' 9-Year-Old Girl Killed in Nashville Shooting: 'It's Just Beyond'

Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb discussed the Nashville school shooting, in which three adults and three children were killed

Author and "Today Show" correspondent Jenna Bush Hager attends the Like Mother Like Daughter Health Legacy Summit at The Newseum on April 27, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
Jenna Bush Hager . Photo: Paul Morigi/WireImage

For Jenna Bush Hager, Monday's school shooting in Nashville hit close to home.

On Tuesday, Bush Hager told her TODAY co-host Hoda Kotb, "I had a friend in Nashville so I knew of one of the little girls who is 9, who went to school yesterday and who didn't come home."

Bush Hager did not identify the victim of Monday's attack, in which three children and three adults were killed. But she said the shooting, at the Covenant School, a private elementary school, left her profoundly shaken.

"The thought that any of us can send our children on the busses, or walking or drop them off at carpool, and not get to hug them again? It's just beyond," she said.

The fatal victims of Monday's attack were Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, Hallie Scruggs, 9, William Kinney, 9, Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60, and Mike Hill, 61.

The shooter has been identified as Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old former student at the school. Nashville authorities have confirmed the shooter gained entrance to the school by shooting through a glass door before killing six people. Two police officers responding to the scene engaged the shooter on the second floor of the building, killing the assailant.

The Covenant School shooting
Nashville school shooting. John Amis/AP/Shutterstock

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Bush Hager, a mother of three, and Kotb, a mother of two, had an emotional conversation about the shooting, discussing the terror parents feel when they don't know their children are safe.

Said Kotb: "And to imagine those parents lined up going into that school thinking, 'Is my child going to be alright.' There were mothers banging on buses, screaming their children's names. I had a friend who lives in Nashville who was telling me about what she heard about and seen. She said, 'They were screaming cause they had to find their child.'"

Bush Hager, a former teacher, said the United States is failing to protect children "at the place they're most safe, they should be safest."

"Forget politics," she said. "Isn't every mom and dad sitting there thinking, 'What is happening to this?' … Let's not fail our kids."

How to help

You can donate to the families of the victims through the The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. ViVE and VictimsFirst have also created GoFundMe pages for donations. Both fundraisers are verified.

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