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A girl who loved the theater and a director who "knew everyone by name": the stories of the six killed in a school shooting in Nashville

2023-03-29T02:25:06.823Z


Three 9-year-old boys and three employees of The Covenant School primary school were killed in a massacre that authorities suspect was carefully planned. This is how their relatives and close friends remember them, who lament the "horrendous tragedy."


A principal who gave her life for her students, a janitor who "loved" his job, a girl who adored the theater and a pastor's "radiant" daughter are some of the six fatalities identified in Monday's massacre at The Covenant School, an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee.

The person who carried out the attack studied at the school, and although it is not yet known what motivated him, the authorities believe that he had "resentment" for having to study at that private Christian school.

Three 9-year-old children and three adults between the ages of 60 and 61 lost their lives

.

Police have said they do not believe any of them were "particularly targeted" by Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old transgender person living in Nashville who was gunned down by police in less than 15 minutes.

These are the stories of the victims, with what is known about them so far.

From left to right: Katherine Koonce, Cynthia Peak, Hallie Scruggs and Mike Hill. Via NBC News / Facebook

Hallie Scruggs

Scruggs, 9, was the daughter of the pastor of the Covenant Presbyterian Church.

"We are heartbroken," lamented her father, Chad Scruggs, in a statement to ABC News.

"Through the tears we trust that she is in the arms of Jesus, who will resurrect her."

[Nashville School Shooting: The Details of a Massacre Police Say Was Thoroughly Planned]

The Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas, where Scruggs previously served, said in a statement that they are devastated by this "unimaginable tragedy" and offered their condolences to the families of the victims.

“We love the Scruggs family and mourn their precious daughter Hallie with them

,” wrote Texas Congregational Pastor Mark Davis.

“We trust in the power of Christ to reach out and give us the comfort and hope we desperately need.”

Scruggs was the youngest of her siblings, all boys, "she was a radiant girl and I think that light was Jesus in her," Davis said.

Evelyn Dieckhaus

Dieckhaus, also 9, was a third-grader, the Nashville Tennessean reported.

Vigils held in Nashville after school shooting that left six dead

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"Evelyn was a shining light in this world," her family wrote in a statement published by CNN affiliate KMOV.

“Our hearts are completely broken.

We can't believe this has happened

. "

According to the local media, the family asked for privacy to be able to mourn their loss, although they appreciated the love and support received.

She was “everything a 9-year-old girl should be,” her neighbor Nick Riegal told NBC News, sister network of Noticias Telemundo, who said Dieckhaus used to play with her children.

He remembered her as a theater lover.

Clay Stauffer, a minister at the church the family attended, said the girl "was full of love" and adored school.

“She was an amazing girl and a beacon of light to her family,” he noted.

william kinney

Kinney was 9 years old and a student at the Covenant School.

For now, no further details about him have been released.

Katherine Konce

Koonce, 60, had nearly two decades of experience working as an educator and, as she wrote on the school's welcome page, believed that the Covenant School's mission was more than contributing to student learning: “We want to capture your hearts in relationships that challenge their thinking and help them learn key skills.” 

For her, they participated "in the miracle of their development and we see them transform into what they will be."

[Nashville school shooter receiving treatment “for emotional problems” but was able to legally purchase seven guns]

Koonce, who had a doctorate in education,

was a "saint"

, the mother of two students at the school told BBC News.

“She did so much for those kids,” she said.

The woman, who was not identified, said that the principal "knew all the students by her name."

The educator was also the author of a book entitled

Parenting the Way God Parents: Refusing to Recycle Your Parents' Mistakes.

In her profile published by the Penguin Random House publishing house, it is detailed that she was a specialist in child development and learning.

Nashville mayor asks community for help with funeral costs for shooting victims

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"She obtained her master's degree from Georgia State University, specializing in learning, behavior and attention difficulties," says the editorial, mentioning that she also participated as a speaker at conferences for parents, professionals and teachers.

Koonce

was married with two children,

with whom she lived in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Emily Anderson, who in a Facebook post said she had been friends with Koonce for 40 years, said the director

"died to protect the children

. "

Anderson wrote that she was furious about the massacre and asked people instead of their prayers and condolences to contact their local leaders or vote for those who might limit access to guns.

Mike Hill

Hill, 61, was a school janitor and died doing the job he "loved,"

his daughter Brittany Hill said in a post on the social network

Facebook .

“Over the years I have watched school shootings and never thought I would lose a loved one to someone who tried to solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution,” he wrote in the post reporting on the murder. his father's.

[Video is released of the Nashville shooter entering the school shooting at the doors]

“He loved the kids at school and they loved him

,” Jim Bachmann, a former Covenant pastor, told NBC News.

According to him, Hill enjoyed wearing a well-polished suit, tie, and shoes to church.

Kristen, Hill's wife, said he would drop whatever he was doing to greet her with a hug when she came home.

"That's how he treated everyone," she recounted.

Hill was a father of seven and a grandfather of 14.

A memorial outside The Covenant School naming the three slain children.BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Tim Dunavant, pastor at Hartsville First United Methodist Church, said he worked at the school and hired Hill 13 years ago.

Quoted by BBC News, Dunavant said Hill used to send him "encouraging" text messages and that he believed he may have sacrificed his life because he was "that kind of person".

Cynthia Peak

Peak, also 61,

She was a substitute teacher and was working at the school on the day of the attack, according to police.

“Her favorite role in life was being a mother of three children, a wife and a teacher.

We will never stop missing her

," her family wrote in a statement to Fox News in which they assured that Peak was "a pillar of the community and a teacher loved by her students" who "never wavered in the faith of she ".

“We know that he is in the arms of Jesus.

Our hearts go out to all the victims of this horrendous tragedy."

It has not been revealed what subject he taught, nor if he had previously worked at The Covenant School.

Source: telemundo

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