Nashville police have identified the six people, three young children and three adults, who were killed in a shooting at a Christian school Monday.
Below are the victims of the Nashville school shooting:
- Evelyn Dieckhaus,
- William Kinney, 9
- Hallie Scruggs, 9
- Mike Hill, 61
- Cynthia Peak, 61
- Katherine Koonce, 60
The victims were shot and killed when Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a 28-year-old transgender former student of The Covenant School, entered the premises with two “assault-type rifles” and a handgun and began firing, police said.
The shooter was killed by responding Metropolitan Nashville Police Officers Rex Englebert and Michael Collazo.
Numerous local churches held prayer vigils Monday evening and several more are scheduled in the coming days to pay respects to the victims and offer the community’s support for their families, according to local FOX affiliate WZTV.
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“My heart goes out to the families of the victims,” said Mayor John Cooper. “Our entire city stands with you.”
The following is what is known about the victims so far.
Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, was a third grader at The Covenant School.
Her older sister, a fifth grader, spoke at a vigil for the victims held Monday night at Woodmont Christian Church, where the family attends worship services.
Evelyn’s sister cried as she said, “I don’t want to be an only child,” according to The Tennessean.
“One of the 9-year-old victims of the Nashville school shooting goes to my church,” Woodmont church member Sarah Drury wrote on Facebook. “Her name is Evelyn Dieckhaus. She was adorable. I taught her equally angelic big sister in Sunday school.”
“Her mom Katy volunteered in our children’s ministry… such a sweet Christian family,” Drury continued. “We had a prayer vigil tonight at our church. We are, the whole city, saturated in grief. Now. It’s time to marry prayer and grief with action.”
“It has been a hard day,” Woodmont Baptist Church senior pastor Nathan Parker said. “We are sad. Sad for the families who came rushing to our church. Sad for those whose lives will never be the same because of the trauma inflicted on them. Sad because we live in a world broken by sin, suffering and death.”
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William Kinney was a 9-year-old student at The Covenant School.
Hallie Scruggs was the 9-year-old daughter of Chad Scruggs, the senior pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church, the pastor told local news station WKRN.
“We are heartbroken. She was such a gift. Through tears we trust that she is in the arms of Jesus who will raise her to life once again,” the girl’s father said.
The Covenant School operates as a ministry of Nashville’s Covenant Presbyterian Church.
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Dr. Katherine Koonce, 60, was the head of The Covenant School.
Her niece, Heather Benge, wrote on Facebook that Koonce “was a kind person and a fearless teacher and I can see by the pure amount of love being shown towards her (and our family) right now that she touched the lives of many.”
“She was a beacon of light, a faithful servant and will be missed greatly,” Benge wrote. “Please keep my family in your prayers as we navigate the coming days and also for the families of the other victims. School shootings MUST stop. NO ONE deserves to feel the pain so many of us are feeling tonight.”
In a statement on the school’s website, Koonce described the mission of Covenant School as “more than simply educating our students.”
“We are participating in the miracle of their development and seeing them transform into who they will be,” Koonce wrote. “Impactful teaching methods and programs, daily all-school chapel, and school-wide service-learning are the backdrop for the real work — helping children become who God intends them to be.”
Before coming to The Covenant School, Koonce was Academic Dean at Christ Presbyterian Academy for seven years and Director of Learning Services at the school for 8 years prior. She held a doctorate degree in education from Trevecca Nazarene University, a master’s degree from Georgia State university, and a bachelor’s degree in education from Vanderbilt University, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Emily Anderson, a pastor at New Providence Presbyterian Church who says she was friends with Koonce for more than four decades, wrote in an online tribute that Koonce “died rushing in to protect children.”
“I don’t know that I’ve ever met a more purely decent and loving human being. Certainly no one who was more passionate about children and education,” Anderson wrote on Facebook.
Cynthia Peak, 61, was a substitute teacher working at the school.
Michael Hill, 61, was a custodian at the school, according to police.
Tim Dunavant, a pastor at Hartsville First United Methodist Church who knew Hill, said he hired Hill at The Covenant School 13 years ago when he was in charge of the school kitchen.
“I don’t know the details yet. But I have a feeling, when it all comes out, Mike’s sacrifice saved lives. I have nothing factual to base that upon. I just know what kind of guy he was. And I know he’s the kind of guy that would do that,” Dunavant wrote in an online post. “Goodbye Mike, I’m going to miss those encouraging texts out of the blue from you.”
A GoFundMe page for the Hill family was set up by Nashville resident Anne Puricelli. The page states that Hill was the “beloved father of eight children,” and was known as “Big Mike” to students of The Covenant School.
The Hill family said Mike took great pleasure and found tremendous joy in his job and through those students. Money raised by the GoFundMe page will be put toward funeral services and other expenses, according to the fundraiser.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Source: Fox News