NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There are many unsung heroes from Monday’s school shooting that left seven dead (six victims and the shooter), including teachers that ushered kids to safety. Some headed through the wood line seeking shelter at the fire department, while others crossed Hillsboro Road, gathering at an apartment until given the clear.
Jason Hoffman was driving down Hillsboro Road when he heard gunfire.
“I think I heard at least maybe 10-15 shots,” Hoffman explained.
He says he hunkered down, seeking cover in his car as he tried to leave the area before a woman, who appeared to be a teacher, jumped out of the wood line, waving him down with dozens of children.
“When I saw the kids coming out of the woods, it just really hit me,” he said.
Without hesitation, Hoffman began stopping traffic on the busy four-lane road.
“As soon as I jumped out of the car and stuck my arms out, people to the left and then in front of me were jumping out, ‘What’s going on?’ But they were concerned about the children and let’s get them across the street to safety,” Hoffman said. “We just heard gunshots right before that as these kids are coming out. I didn’t know if there were still gunshots. I didn’t know if people were gonna shoot at us or at the kids, so the other drivers just quickly helped usher them across the road to get to the other side to make sure they were safe.”
Hoffman captured images of the children as they raced to escape the gunfire, running for their lives.
“They were obviously distraught. They were upset, they were crying,” he explained.
Hoffman also witnessed the heroic efforts of who he believes is a teacher embracing one of the little girls in the middle of Hillsboro Road.
“The teacher was a hero. I was terrified for the rest of the kids that were inside and hoping and praying for the best for them.”
The images are difficult for Hoffman to look at now that he knows what happened Monday morning inside The Covenant School, especially as a father to a 9-year-old.
“It’s very emotional and I see children that are going to remember this day for the rest of their lives and they’re going to be changed by this day forever,” he said. “I’ve cried today. I cried yesterday. I don’t know how many times I cried today. I’m crying right now. It’s going to be something I’ll never forget and these parents…I cannot even put myself in their shoes and even be able to get out of bed. You know, I just don’t understand.”
Hoffman says he feared sending his kid to school Tuesday and does every day, saying he hopes this tragedy causes change across the country.
“I could say increased security would be something I would like to see. Honestly, as a public school parent, increased security would be a great thing but the access to a weapon that you can just walk in and shoot 30 people in about five seconds just blows my mind. I just, I don’t know why…it’s such an accessible thing in our country.”