Kelsea Ballerini began the CMT Music Awards event on Sunday with a poignant homage to the victims of last week’s murder at Nashville’s Covenant School in Tennessee.
“On March 27, 2023, three nine-year-olds – Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs, as well as Katherine Koonce, Cynthia Peak, and Mike Hill walked into the Covenant School and did not walk out,” Ballerini stated gravely at the start of the performance.
“The community of sorrow over this, and the 130 mass shootings in the United States this year alone,” Ballerini added.
According to officials, a gunman entered the primary school with three guns on Monday and murdered six people before being shot dead by arriving police officers.
The killing was the bloodiest at a school in nearly a year.
Ballerini also discussed her firsthand experience of witnessing a friend perish in a shooting at her Knoxville, Tennessee high school.
“I wanted to personally stand here and share this moment because on August 21, 2008, Ryan McDonald, my 15-year-old Central High School classmate, was killed by a gun in our cafeteria.”
She went on to say that the show on Sunday was devoted to the “ever-growing list of families, friends, survivors, witnesses, and responders whose lives have been forever changed by gun violence.” Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini will emcee the CMT Awards on Sunday.
The CMT Awards are being hosted for the first time in Austin, Texas after previously being held in Nashville.
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