A Nashville local news reporter opened up to viewers while covering the Covenant School massacre Monday, sharing her own ties to gun violence.
“Many of you might not know this, but I am actually a school shooting survivor,” WSMV4 reporter Joylyn Bukovac told viewers during the live report.
Speaking to the camera a short distance from where a former student opened fire, killing three adults and three children before being shot dead by police, Bukovac shared that the day’s events were “really bringing up some tough memories.”
Bukovac was in Grade 8 at Discovery Middle School in Madison, Ala., in 2010, when a student in the grade above opened fire in a hallway and killed a classmate.
“I was actually in the hallway when the gunman opened fire,” she recounted, adding that it took her two years to eventually open up about the traumatic event.
“I can’t even describe the shock (after the shooting),” Bukovac said, reminding caretakers to be “very gentle” with the survivors of Covenant School, and to “let them talk when they’re ready.”
“I’ve seen exactly what gun violence can do firsthand,” Bukovac said, recounting the fear and shock she experienced while waiting for police to secure the school.
Her outpouring of spontaneous emotion prompted a resident who was listening nearby to give Bukovac a hug.
In a follow-up interview with her station, she told viewers that her own experience left her with PTSD, but it also inspired her to become a reporter.
“If I could (help) just one family, one person … that would make sharing my story worth it,” she said.
Nashville police say Monday’s shooter was a former student of The Covenant School and was armed with two assault-style rifles and a handgun.
Police identified the victims on Twitter as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all age nine; Cynthia Peak, age 61, Katherine Koonce, age 60, and Mike Hill, age 61.