Ashbey Beasley, a survivor of a 2022 mass shooting during a Fourth of July parade in Chicago, caught the attention of social media on Monday after she commandeered a live-TV broadcast about a Nashville school shooting to rail against gun violence.
Six people — three children and three adult staff members — at the Covenant School in the affluent Nashville suburb of Green Hills were killed Monday by a woman armed with two assault rifles and a handgun. The suspect was killed by police.
Beasley was outside the Covenant school with a mother who lost her son in a different Nashville shooting in 2018 when, exasperated, she interrupted a broadcast to ask the cameras, “Aren’t you guys tired of covering this?”
“[This] keeps happening,” Beasley, a gun-violence advocate, told Rolling Stone outside the media staging area afterward. “I always look for exits, I look for emergency exits, or what I can hide behind — it’s nerve-racking. It happens everywhere.”
Beasley and her son, now 7, fled the 2022 shooting at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois, and were in Nashville visiting family on Monday. She described running from a war-zone-like scene at the Highland Park shooting when her son became “paralyzed with fear” and dropped facedown to the ground, covered his head, and screamed, “I don’t want to die!”
At the time of the Covenant shooting, Beasley was having lunch with Shaundelle Brooks, who lost her son, Akilah Dasilva, in the 2018 Waffle House shooting in the Nashville suburb of Antioch. Brooks’ other son, now 17, survived the attack, which killed four. The two women, introduced last week while lobbying members of Congress for stricter gun-control laws in Washington, D.C., were compelled to attend a press conference close to the Covenant School crime scene.
“It’s like, oh my god, not again! Not again! Here we are. Again,” Brooks tells Rolling Stone. “I know exactly how [the victims’] families are feeling right now, when you get that call saying that your family member didn’t make it.”
She describes feelings of shock and devastation and the anger that comes later. When asked what she’d tell the families of the Covenant shooting victims, Brooks said they need to know they’re not alone. “This club is growing,” she says. “It’s sad because we’re part of a club no one asked to be [in].”