Shawn Johnson and Andrew East are usually known for their funny, lighthearted, and relatable videos on Instagram where they joke about sleep deprivation and picky toddlers. Unfortunately, things got really somber on Monday following the school shooting at Covenant School that killed three 9-year-olds and three adults in their sixties. Johnson respectfully shared the names of the deceased: Evelyn, Hallie, William, Cynthia, Katherine, and Mike.
Johnson and East live in Nashville and rushed to pick up their kids — Drew, 3 and Jett, 1 — when they got a notification that there was an active shooter in the neighborhood. On her Instagram story, Johnson shared that she hasn’t been able to catch her breath since reading the news and getting the call about her children being in lockdown. She said she is praying for the families whose “baby won’t be coming home,” “[those] who have lost a piece of themselves,” and those who “may have witnessed the heinous acts of violence.”
“Shaking. Crying. Heartbroken. Horrific.” she wrote.
“Our babies are now home with us,” the Olympic gold medalist continued. “I feel lucky and blessed but still so incredibly sad. No parent or family should ever have to deal with this. I’ve seen children’s ambulances, countless police cars, buses of children being transported to safety, parents flying down the street, laying on their horns, people springing in and out of churches and schools looking for their kids.”
“Today has changed me.”
She then shared some of her husband’s footage of “all of the babies from the shooting being taken to safety.”
“My mama heart is shattered you guys. You don’t ever fully recover from this. Thinking of these beautiful innocent babies, their families, the first responders, the teachers, everyone affected by today’s heinous acts. Helicopters are still circling. The silence in Nashville is very loud right now.”
The couple is leaning on their faith amidst this tragedy, and followers hope they will channel their grief into advocating for gun control. East shared a tear-jerking reel showing footage of police cars rushing to the scene, community members comforting one another, and the chilling sounds that their family heard all day: sirens, helicopters, fire trucks, and ambulances.
“Too close,” Johnson captioned an Instagram post. “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.”
“Our family is safe but can’t imagine what some other families are going through,” East, a former NFL player, wrote in his reel which includes one especially heartbreaking moment where Johnson is hugging Drew.
“Why are you sad?” the toddler asked her mom.
“I’m just really happy to see you,” Johnson said with a shaky voice.
These celebrity parents have used their platformto speak out about gun law reform.
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