In an emotional video released Tuesday, actress Melissa Joan Hart was still reeling from the impact of a chance encounter with children fleeing from the Nashville school attacked Monday.
Six people, including three children, were killed after a shooter entered The Covenant School and picked off targets until police responded and killed Audrey Hale.
In a video posted to her Instagram account, the former star of “Sabrina the Teenaged Witch” explained that she and her husband were passing the school en route to the school their children attend at the time of the shooting.
“We helped a class of kindergartners across a busy highway. They were climbing out of the woods. They were trying to escape the shooter situation at their school,” the actress said, through tears.
“So we helped all these tiny little kids cross the road and get their teachers over there, and we helped a mom reunite with her children.”
“I just don’t know what to say anymore,” she added. “Enough is enough. And just pray. Pray for the families.”
Hart noted that she and her family had lived in Connecticut near the community of Newtown, which was the site of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“So this is our second experience with a school shooting with our kids being in close proximity. Luckily, we are all OK,” she said.
Others also rose to the occasion on Monday.
Jason Hoffman was driving near the school when he heard gunshots, according to WKRN-TV. His first thought was to take cover in his car. Then a teacher, with children behind her, waved him down.
“When I saw the kids coming out of the woods, it just really hit me,” he said.
Hoffman then played traffic cop on the four-lane road to allow the children to cross.
“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,” he said.
Hoffman watched one teacher hug a child in the middle of the 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,” he said.
As the parent of a 9-year-old, Hoffman said he felt the impact of the shooting even though he has no connection to the school.
“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,” he said.
Nashville fire chief William Swann told ABC that for responders, witnesses and families, “This forever will be with them, the residue of this day.”
He noted that for EMTs and other first responders, “[T]his is unfortunately the nature of what we do. We deal with people who are in distress and we deal with people if there’s a shooting, stabbing or homicide, whatever it may be, we deal with this every day.”
“But being in this field for 28 years, I will tell you there’s nothing more gut-wrenching than responding to a child. Nothing,” he said.
“That moment changes everything for you because we all can relate to the innocence of it,” he said.