Kelsea, 28, was a sophomore at Central High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, when her 15-year-old classmate, Ryan McDonald, was killed

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Country music star Kelsea Ballerini shed tears today on CBS Mornings, discussing a tragic moment she framed: the death of a classmate in gun violence in her high school cafeteria.

Kelsea, 28, was a second-year student at Central High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, when her 15-year-old classmate, Ryan McDonald, then a 15-year-old classmate, was shot in the chest by Jamer Sailor.

She has written about memory in her new book of poetry, Feel Your Way Through: A Book of Poetry, sharing the vivid details of the experience and the impact it has had on her.

Kelsea recalled how she watched him die when he died on the cafeteria floor, and how she carried that memory with him caused her to make loud noises and fears of guns.

Country music star Kelsea Ballerini burst into tears while discussing a tragic moment that set her apart: the death of a classmate in gun violence in her high school cafeteria

Kelsea, 28, was there when her 15-year-old classmate, Ryan McDonald, was shot in the chest by 15-year-old classmate Jamer Sailor.

‘I cry.

Kelsea, 28, was there when her 15-year-old classmate, Ryan McDonald, was shot in the chest by 15-year-old classmate Jamer Sailor.

Kelsea recalled how she watched him breathe when he died on the floor of the cafeteria and how she carried that memory with him

Kelsea recalled how she watched him breathe when he died on the floor of the cafeteria and how she carried that memory with him

‘I cry. I was worried about it, ‘Kelsea told CBS News’ Anthony Mason this morning, her face wrinkled.

‘With this particular scenario, you know, I’ve never talked about it before but I realized that if I was going to talk about the things that made me, as the book evolves, I certainly can’t avoid it. ‘She said.

“I’ve never talked about it before,” he said.

The tragedy made headlines at the time: Ryan, a junior who was living with his grandmother, was one of several students when Jamar was shot dead in the school cafeteria on the morning of August 21, 2008.

According to the AP, Ryan was bullied because he had alopecia, which left him bald.

The cause of Jamar’s firing is unclear, but some reports say he and Ryan disagreed on the bus that morning. His lawyer said he had fetal alcohol syndrome.

Star was a secondary student at Central High School in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2008 when the disaster struck (pictured in 2011)

The star was a sophomore at Central High School in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2008 when the tragedy struck (pictured in his senior prom in 2010).

The star was a sophomore at Central High School in Knoxville, Tennessee (pictured left in 2011, right at her senior prom in 2010) at the time of the disaster.

Junior Ryan, who was living with his grandmother when Jamer was shot in the morning on August 21, 2008, was one of several students in the school cafeteria.

Junior Ryan, who was living with his grandmother when Jamer was shot in the morning on August 21, 2008, was one of several students in the school cafeteria.

Eyewitnesses said Ryan was ‘walking and holding his chest’ before he fell down and there was ‘blood everywhere’.

Jamar later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Kelsea recounts watching the scene that day in a poem in her book, which comes out Tuesday.

“His name is Ryan, and he died on the cafeteria floor by a gunshot to the chest. I’m not so sure, but I think I saw him breathing his last breath,” he writes.

‘I’m afraid of loud noises, I’m aroused by the news, I’m afraid of guns, I’m sensitive to crowds. But I am alive.

And because of a boy named Ryan, I know what a gift it is.

Speaking on television this morning, Kelsea shared what happened: ‘I feel very conscious [the fact that] Life is short. ‘

Speaking on television this morning, Kelsea shared what happened: 'I think I became very aware. [the fact that] Life is short '

Speaking on television this morning, Kelsea shared what happened: ‘I think I became very aware. [the fact that] Life is short ‘

Kelsea owns a book of poetry, Feel Your Way Through: A Book of Poetry

Kelsea owns a book of poetry, Feel Your Way Through: A Book of Poetry

Kelsea owns a book of poetry, Feel Your Way Through: A Book of Poetry

As the epidemic spreads across the US, the country star debated his misfortune last year when he released a new album, Kelsea, on March 20, 2020.

As the epidemic spreads across the US, the country star debated his misfortune last year when he released a new album, Kelsea, on March 20, 2020.

As the epidemic spreads across the US, the country star debated his misfortune last year when he released a new album, Kelsea, on March 20, 2020.

She was on the tour stage before everything was canceled – something she called ‘horrible’ after being on the road for five years.

“It’s not the state of the world that is being released,” he said. ‘Stopping after you run away – it’s like, oh, how am I?’

When she started writing poetry, it became her new book. It dealt with many important issues, including body image.

‘It’s not always easy to feel good in your skin. It is a journey, and when you say it out loud, I hope it removes the sting from it, ”he said.

He tackled many important issues, including body image.  'It's not always easy to feel good in your skin.  It's a journey

He tackled many important issues, including body image. ‘It’s not always easy to feel good in your skin. It’s a journey

‘I’m in a good place, as a woman, especially as a woman in 2021, if you feel good about yourself all the time, I want to read your book.  But I'm honest about it, 'he said

‘I’m in a good place, as a woman, especially as a woman in 2021, if you feel good about yourself all the time, I want to read your book. But I’m honest about it, ‘he said

He also addressed the controversial tweet he shared earlier this year after country musician Morgan Wallen was caught on camera using racism.

He also addressed the controversial tweet he shared earlier this year after country musician Morgan Wallen was caught on camera using racism.

‘I’m in a good place, as a woman, especially as a woman in 2021, if you feel good about yourself all the time, I want to read your book. But I’m honest about it, ‘he added.

He also addressed the controversial tweet he shared earlier this year after country musician Morgan Wallen was caught on camera using racism.

Her tweet read: ‘The news of Nashville tonight does not represent country music.’

Although her intent was to denounce Wallen, her tweet was backfired by people who insisted that her use of slur represented country music – and that racism was not a problem in the community. Not properly addressed.

“I can admit the wrong step,” she said. ‘I’ve learned that sometimes, even with a pure purpose, you have to keep your mouth shut. And I’m doing the same. ‘

“I can admit the wrong step,” she said. ‘I learned that sometimes, even in pure intentions, you have to keep your mouth shut.’

Kelsea, who is on tour with the Jonas Brothers, noted that she thinks she's a writer before a musician.

Kelsea, who is on tour with the Jonas Brothers, noted that she thinks she’s a writer before a musician.

‘I have a small corner of the cancellation culture around it. I am a peace maker by default. I am a long time admirer. I am the only child from a divorced family, am I, like, all good? What do i want

‘So stopping at anything I am crawling out of my skin. But this is the most important thing for me. This is something I am trying to learn, I am in a lot of therapy and I am trying to do better and better and more fluent as I get older, ‘he said.

Kelsea, who is on tour with the Jonas Brothers, noted that she thinks of herself as a writer in front of a musician, which gives her a sense of comfort that she’s still doing what she likes if fame ever goes away.

‘One day when the radio stopped playing me, it was inevitable, I would still be a songwriter. It brings me so much peace, at the end of the day, when all the glitter fades, it’s my favorite part and I’ll do it forever, ‘he said.

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