Melissa Joan Hart helped Nashville kids flee to safety amid school shooting

Melissa Joan Hart helped kindergartners cross the street to safety after a fatal shooting in a Nashville school on Monday morning.

The “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” actress, who lives in Nashville with her family, told NewsNation host Ashleigh Banfield that she and husband Mark Wilkerson were driving by The Covenant School when the tragedy took place. And after being redirected by a cop, Hart said she saw little children following their teacher.

Hart got out of the car and started helping the kids cross the street, she said.

“We got them across the street as fast as we could. The teachers didn’t want to make eye contact. I think it’s because they were trying not to break down,” Hart said.

Hart added that she wasn’t sure why the children were being rushed across the street — and additional students were being ushered out of a wooded area, toward the street — but she suspected it was a shooting.

“It was so traumatic, and I was just a bystander, I’m just there trying to help in any way I can,” Hart said. “To know that there were parents last night who went home without their children … it is just unfathomable.”

This isn’t the first time Hart and her family experienced a school shooting nearby. 

Hart previously lived in Connecticut when the Sandy Hook shooting took place, and she recalls running to get her first-grader from a nearby school.

“I said to my 17-year-old last night, I hugged him and I said, ‘I’m sorry this is the second time you’ve been in a lockdown,’ and he said, ‘Actually mom, it’s the third.’ I forgot his school … there was a shooting in the temple next door.”

On Monday, Hart said she saw the same fear across the faces of parents at Covenant. One mom standing nearby told Hart that her children were still in the school. Hart and her husband were able to bring the mom to a fire station, where she was reunited with her children.

“I prayed with her until my husband was able to help her down the hill, I realized she was pregnant. … Looking back, in 2012, I had just given birth to my third child, and I had two kids in school. I’m that mom about a decade before, and I just felt for this woman,” Hart said.

The shooter at The Covenant School fatally shot six-victims, who were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all age 9; Cynthia Peak, 61; Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61.

Police identified 28-year-old Audrey Hale as the suspect who bought at least seven firearms legally from local stores, according to officials.

Metropolitan Nashville Police Department officers responded and neutralized the suspect within 14 minutes. Bodycam footage released by the MNPD on Tuesday shows Officers Rex Engelbert, a 4-year veteran, and Michael Collazo, a 9-year veteran, responding to the alert and navigating through the Covenant campus.