Governor Bill Lee Reveals Two Adults Killed in The Covenant School Shooting Were Longtime Friends of First Lady Maria Lee

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee addressed the state on Tuesday in a video posted to social media just one day after six victims, including three children, were gunned down by 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale at The Covenant School in Nashville.

The governor revealed that two of the victims – Cynthia Peak, age 61, and Katherine Koonce, age 60 – were longtime family friends of First Lady Maria Lee.

In a video posted to social media Tuesday evening, Bill Lee said, “All of Tennessee was hurt yesterday, but some parents woke up without children. Children woke up without parents, without teachers. And spouses woke up without their loved ones.”

“Maria woke up this morning without one of her best friends – Cynthia (Cindy) Peak. Cindy was supposed to come over to have dinner with Maria last night after she filled in as a substitute teacher yesterday at Covenant. Cindy, Maria, and Katherine Koonce were all teachers at the same school and have been family friends for decades,” Lee added.

Bill Lee stated that all six victims were taken in a “horrific act of violence.”

The governor also commended the work of the two Metro Nashville Police officers – Officer Rex Engelbert, a four-year MNPD veteran, and Officer Michael Collazo, a nine-year MNPD veteran – who took down the shooter, calling them “brave Tennesseans whose actions saved lives.”

Bill Lee then called on Tennesseans to pray for the families of the victims, families of the Covenant Presbyterian Church, the officers involved, and even the family of the shooter.

“Prayer is the first thing we should do, but it is not the only thing…There will be a time to talk about the legislation and budget proposals we have brought forward this year. And clearly, there is more work to do.”

“The battle is not against flesh and blood – it’s not against people. The struggle is against evil and self,” Bill Lee added.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Maria Lee” by Maria Lee. Background Photo “The Covenant School Crime Scene” by Metro Nashville Police Department.




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2 Thoughts to “Governor Bill Lee Reveals Two Adults Killed in The Covenant School Shooting Were Longtime Friends of First Lady Maria Lee”

  1. Joanne Bregman

    I saw that Jill Biden and Mayor Cooper were at last night’s vigil. Did the governor and Maria Lee attend out of respect for and to honor her friends that were murdered?

  2. Barry Gregory

    Wow. “Casting down IMAGINATIONS”..”taking captive every thought” this is what the Bible prescribes as our work. May He help us to accomplish that in the days ahead..