Nashville TV Reporter Recounts How Mother-In-Law, Who Worked Front Desk At Covenant Elementary School, Survived Mass Shooting

As news of the elementary school shooting at the Covenant School in suburban Nashville unfolded, local TV reporter Hannah McDonald was not only trying to report impartially on a local tragedy that took the lives of three students and three adults, she was trying to keep track of more personal developments. She later shared the story on air.

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“My mother-in-law is the front desk…angel,” a smiling, but visibly-shaken McDonald told NewsChannel 5 Nashville viewers. “She was at the school this morning. Diana [presumably her mother-in-law] was, however, able to come out of this safe.”

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She related that her mother-in-law, who is generally the first point of contact for everyone arriving at the school from 7 a.m. on, had stepped away to take a break.

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“And that is why, right now, I am just…” she said pausing seemingly with mixed feelings of joy and sadness, “I’m torn.” McDonald said she had not been able to speak with her mother-in-law, but that her husband had.

Her husband appears to be former Fox 17 reporter Alex Apple, who spoke with ABC News about that conversation with his mother.

“My mom has worked there for 20 years…at the front desk. She lets people in the building. She was away from her desk doing something and was in her car coming back and got alerts…’Take cover. Shelter in place.’ And she got out of her car and heard the gun shots.”

Apple described Covenant, a Presbyterian private school, as “just a beautiful church and a beautiful property” and recalled it as a “simple community full of love” where the custodian is the one who sings the Lord’s Prayer at graduation.

Police said in a press conference that there are usually 209 students at the school and 40-50 staff members on any given day. McDonald shared that she had covered an active shooter drill there just about a year ago.

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