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Nashville school shooting: What to know about the 6 victims

The Covenant School

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — The six victims of a fatal shooting at a Nashville elementary school have been identified by police.


Three students and three staff members were shot and killed at the Covenant School in Tennessee’s capital city on Monday morning, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. The Covenant School, a private Christian school for children in preschool through sixth grade, has about 209 students and 40 to 50 staff members.

Police have identified the victims as Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9; Mike Hill, 61; William Kinney, 9; Katherine Koonce, 60; Cynthia Peak, 61; and Hallie Scruggs, 9.

Here’s what we know about the slain so far:

Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9

Evelyn Dieckhaus was a third-grader at the Covenant School, according to her family.

“Our hearts are completely broken,” the family told ABC News in a statement. “We cannot believe this has happened. Evelyn was a shining light in this world. We appreciate all the love and support but ask for space as we grieve.”

Mike Hill, 61

Mike Hill was a custodian at the Covenant School, according to police.

Hill is survived by his seven children — Marquita Oglesby, Brittany Hill, Shakita Dobbins, Ebony Smith, Joshua Smith, Tawana Smith Garner and Jeremy Smith — and his 14 grandchildren, according to his family.

“He liked to cook and spend time with family,” they told ABC News in a statement.

Hill’s family thanked the 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,” they added. “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.”

Katherine Koonce, 60

Katherine Koonce was the head of the Covenant School.

In a statement to ABC News, her family described her as “devoted to her family, her friends and especially the children she cared for.”

“She gave her life to protect the students she loved. We are devastated by our loss but depending on our God for comfort and healing,” the family continued.

“It is our privilege to honor Katherine’s legacy and to celebrate her remarkable spirit,” they said. “We are grateful for the prayers of many on our behalf, and we pray for the families of the six others who died.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said his wife, Maria, was friends with Koonce and Cynthia Peak, who was also killed.

“Cindy and Maria and Katherine Koonce were all teachers at the same school and have been family friends for decades,” Lee said in a video address on Tuesday evening.

Cynthia Peak, 61

Cynthia Peak was a substitute teacher at the Covenant School, according to police.

Peak’s family said their “hearts are broken,” confirming the loss “of our beloved Cindy Peak.”

“Cindy was a pillar of the community, and a teacher beloved by all her students,” her family told ABC News in a statement. “Her favorite roles in life were being a mom to her three children, a wife to her husband, and an educator to students.”

“We will never stop missing her,” they added. “We are grateful for the hope of Heaven. She never wavered in her faith and we know she is wrapped in the arms of Jesus. Our hearts go out to all the victims’ families as we grieve this horrific tragedy.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said his wife, Maria, was “best friends” with Peak.

“Maria woke up this morning without one of her best friends, Cindy Peak,” Lee said in a video address on Tuesday evening. “Cindy was supposed to come over to have dinner with Maria last night after she filled in as a substitute teacher yesterday at Covenant.”

Hallie Scruggs, 9

Hallie Scruggs was a third-grader at the Covenant School and classmates with Evelyn Dieckhaus, who was also killed, according to her father, Chad Scruggs.

Chad Scruggs is the senior pastor at the Covenant Presbyterian Church, which shares a location with the Covenant School. The school was founded in 2001 as a ministry of the church, according to the school’s website.

He described his late daughter as “such a gift.”

“We are heartbroken,” Chad Scruggs told ABC News in a statement. “Through tears we trust that she is in the arms of Jesus who will raise her to life once again.”

ABC News’ Miles Cohen, Duan Perrin, Lisa Siversten and Victor Ordoñez contributed to this report.

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