Country singer Kelsea Ballerini has opened up about seeing her friend shot and killed when she was 15.
Ballerini and her friend Ryan McDonald both attended Central High School in Tennessee when fellow classmate Jamar Siler shot and killed McDonald.
Ballerini, who witnessed the killing, has written in a poem that as a result of the shooting she is “still scared of loud noises”.
Ballerini writes about the incident in her debut book of poetry Feel Your Way Through. In the collection she writes: “His name was Ryan, and he died on the cafeteria floor from a gunshot wound to the chest. I can’t be too sure, but I think I saw him breathe his last breath.”
She also wrote: “I’m scared of loud noises, I’m triggered by the news, I’m terrified of guns, I’m sensitive in crowds. But I’m alive.”
Ballerini also said in an interview on Monday, 15 November, with CBS Mornings that a lesson she took away from the incident was: “I think I became very aware of [the fact that] life is short.”
The poetry collection also addresses Ballerini’s battles with her body image: “It’s not always easy to just feel good in your skin. It’s a journey, and I just think when you say it out loud, it takes the sting away from it.”
The country singer also released two albums last year – Kelsea and Ballerini – both reached the top 10 on the Country Albums chart in the US.