Melissa Joan Hart opens up on helping kids escape Nashville shooting
Sabrina star Melissa Joan Hart on the Nashville shooting
Melissa Joan Hart, 46, and her husband were on their way to a parent-teacher conference in Nashville when a series of unusual events made them realise a school shooting was underway.
The Sabrina the Teenage Witch star revealed that this is the second time her family has been disturbingly close to a tragic scene like this, after living near Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.
On Tuesday, the Hollywood star took to Instagram, explaining that her experience was “too raw to post yesterday”.
She explained in a short clip filmed on Monday: “My kids go to school right next to a school where there was a shooting today.”
The star was visibly distraught as she noted that her family had moved to Nashville from Connecticut after her children “were in a school a little way down from Sandy Hook”, where a devastating mass shooting took the lives of 26 people in 2012.
Melissa quickly noted that her husband, Mark Wilkerson, 46, and their three sons, Mason, 17, Braden, 15, and Tucker, 10, were all ok. Adding that the boys were not in school that day.
Choked with emotion, the actress explained that she and Mark were on their way to a conference at their school when they stopped to help some students escape without really knowing what was happening.
Melissa shed some tears as she shared: “We helped a class of kindergartners across a busy highway. They were climbing out of the woods, they were trying to escape a shooter situation at their school. So we helped these tiny little kids cross the road and get their teachers over there.”
On Wednesday, the actress opened up a bit more about the harrowing experience on her podcast What Women Binge with her co-host and long-time friend Amanda Lee.
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Melissa revealed that while they were driving to the conference, she and her husband spotted a helicopter flying above and then noticed a single police car was directing traffic.
She said: “We turned and the car in front of us stopped and all of a sudden I saw a teacher, this is the part I’ll never forget, a teacher coming out with no abandon. Just walking into the street and stopping traffic. All of a sudden, all these tiny children going, she’s just trying to get them by. The look on her face changed my life. Something is worse behind them than them crossing this street and putting children on the side of a highway.
“It was literally like a mama duck and her ducklings running across the street.”
While Melissa got out of the car to help without quite being sure of the situation, her husband realised what was happening and stayed behind as he “didn’t want to be a strange man in the area”.
Pausing to collect herself, the actress continued: “I picked one (of the children) out of the woods and this little girl looks at me and said: ‘What’s going on?’ and I said: ‘We’re just going to cross the road.’ and I was hoping she didn’t hear the fear in my voice.
“It was the saddest thing I’ve ever witnessed.”
As police arrived on the scene and more people stopped to get out of their cars and help, Melissa heard a devastated voice behind her as a woman revealed: “My children are in that school.”
Another woman overheard and the three ladies sat down and prayed while Mark found out from a nearby officer that parents of children at the school were to go to the local fire station.
Melissa continued, with tears building: “We were the first ones in the fire station and her kids come in from the backroom so she was reunited right there.”
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