Covenant School shooting: Who are the victims

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Only hours after the shooting in Nashville’s The Covenant School left six people and the shooter dead, the identities of the victims were released.

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But the day after the nation was rocked by this latest round of violence, we are learning more about who the three 9-year-olds and three adults who became the most recent victims of gun violence.

The victims of Monday’s shooting are:

  • Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9
  • Hallie Scruggs, 9
  • William Kinney, 9
  • Dr. Katherine Koonce, 60
  • Cynthia Peak, 61
  • Mike Hill, 61

Evelyn Dieckhaus

Evelyn Dieckhaus was one of the three 9-year-old children who were students at the primary school that had around 210 students and 40 staff members.

WKRN reported that her family released a statement saying: “Our hearts are completely broken. We cannot believe this happened. Evelyn was a shining light in the world. We appreciate all the love and support but ask for space as we grieve.”

The family of Evelyn Dieckhaus released a statement, which reads: “Our hearts are completely broken. We cannot believe...

Posted by WKRN News 2 on Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Hallie Scruggs

Hallie Scruggs was another of the 9-year-old children gunned down. Her father, Chad Scruggs, is listed as the Senior Pastor at the church where his daughter died.

The family released a statement saying: “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,” WKRN reported.

Chad Scruggs was previously a pastor at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas. That church also released a statement, according to CNN.

“We love the Scruggs family and mourn with them over their precious daughter Hallie,” Pastor Mark Davis said. “Together, we trust in the power of Christ to draw near and give us the comfort and hope we desperately need.”

"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...

Posted by WKRN News 2 on Tuesday, March 28, 2023

William Kinney

Friends of the Kinney family remembered William, known as Will, as “unfailingly kind, gentle when the situation called for it, quick to laugh, and always inclusive of others,” according to a verified GoFundMe campaign and the Tennessean.

“Our friends are walking through the unimaginable...losing their son at the Covenant School shooting,” family friend Rachael Freitas wrote on GoFundMe. “(Will) loved his sisters, adored his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and was always excited to host friends of every age. Sweet Will knew no strangers, and our hearts our broken for his family as they try to find their way forward.”

The family and friends asked for privacy in the wake of Monday’s shooting.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Mike Hill

Mike Hill was the school’s custodian, CNN reported.

His family released a statement Tuesday, thanking the community for its thoughts and prayers.

“We would like to thank the Nashville community for all the continued thoughts and prayers. As we grieve and try to grasp any sense of understanding of why this happened, we continue to ask for support. We pray for the Covenant School and are so grateful that Michael was beloved by the faculty and students who filled him with joy for 14 years,” his family said, according to WSMV.

He had seven children and 14 grandchildren, the television station reported.

Mike Hill worked at The Covenant School for 15 years. He tried to know every student by name and met every day with a smile on his face.

Posted by WKRN News 2 on Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Katherine Koonce

Katherine Koonce was the school’s director. On the school’s website, she said, “As we capture our children’s attention and their minds for learning, we also want to capture their hearts in relationships that challenge their thinking and help them learn critical skills. Our graduates attend the finest schools in the Nashville area, where they not only excel academically, but also act with character that comes from authentic faith in Jesus.”

Koonce was from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, according to the Shreveport Times. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday that she had long been a family friend after she and his wife, Maria, taught together years earlier. Cynthia Peak, a substitute teacher who also died in Monday’s shooting, also worked with Koonce and Maria Lee, the governor said.

Cynthia Peak

Cynthia Peak was working as a substitute teacher when she was shot and killed at The Covenant School, according to The Associated Press. Peak’s brother, Bill Broyles, told the Shreveport Times that she “had an unwavering faith in Christ. She was a strong believer. She would want a positive approach on this to help God’s kingdom on earth.”

Friend Chuck Owen told the AP that he grew up in Leesville, Louisiana, with Peak. He described her as “a sweet person from a sweet family.”

“She told me that she got saved in college and that God’s love changed her life,” Owen said, according to the AP.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Peak had been close friends with his wife, Maria.

“Cindy was supposed to come over to have dinner with Maria last night after she filled in as a substitute teacher yesterday at Covenant,” Lee said in a recorded statement posted on social media. “Cindy and Maria and Katherine Koonce were all teachers at the same school and had been family friends for decades.”

Peak is survived by her husband, daughter and two sons, according to the Times.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

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