Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson East shared in an emotional reaction on Instagram after a school shooting rocked the Nashville community on Monday morning, saying, “I know prayers can’t take it back but I’m still going to pray like hell.”
Johnson took home the gold medal on balance beam in 2008 — and landed a team silver medal in addition to individual silver medals for her performances in the floor exercise and all-around — and she revealed on social media that she had been just across the street filming when chaos erupted outside The Covenant School.
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Johnson’s post showed only the first names of the six people — three students and three staff members — who were shot to death in the attack. Alongside that image, she shared her thoughts as the situation unfolded.
“Too close. We were literally across the street filming when chaos ensued. When we started getting the calls, heard the sirens, saw the parents flying to get their babies,” Johnson began, adding that when they called the schools to check on their own children, they learned that other schools in the area were also locked down.
“Racing to pick up our own babies just to have them home and close. Hearing the news slowly come in about the 3 beautiful babies and the 3 staff members that were unfairly taken away from our world and their families,” she continued. “We sat in silence yesterday listening to the sirens, the helicopters, the chaos … Too close.”
“I woke up this morning in tears feeling guilt and sadness that we are ok and some families are not. I woke up scared to take our babies back to school or anywhere for that matter. I woke up sad for everyone, for our country, our world,” Johnson added.
She concluded by saying that it was only her faith that was keeping her strong: “I know prayers can’t take it back but I’m still going to pray like hell. I believe our God is good. It’s all I can believe in right now. My faith is all I can lean on right now. God, please save us all from this evil.”