NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It was a phone call that changed everything. 

“Well, it takes your breath away. It took my breath away. I was rattled. Your heart feels real heavy, and you realize you don’t get to talk to him again until you see him in eternity.”

Mike Hill
Mike Hill (Courtesy: Jim Bachmann)

Jim Bachmann now faces that reality after the death of his beloved friend and custodian, Mike Hill.

“Salt to the earth kind of fellow,” Bachmann said of Hill, one of the six victims in the Covenant School shooting Monday morning. “He didn’t deserve this; he was a sweet man.”

“He’s called ‘Big Mike’ – a big strong fellow,” Bachmann said, with a big heart to match. “He would know the kids by name.”

It was a deep bond the 61-year-old and Bachmann shared over the last 15 years.

“If we ever needed some heavy lifting done, I’m too old to do it. We’d call Big Mike and he always would,” Bachmann said.

“I gave him my car, to show you how much I love him; I just gave him my car,” he added.

Not only was Bachmann close with Hill, he says he unfortunately knows a second victim.

“I know Chad Scruggs; He’s a good man – he lost his precious little 9-year-old daughter,” Bachmann said.

Bachmann, a former pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church, remembers shooter Audrey Hale attending the school.

“My wife was a substitute teacher back in 2004 when Audrey was in the second grade,” Bachmann said.

All too familiar with the church, school and community, he says this hits too close to home.

“It’s been a little bit since my time there; it could have been my son he went to school there [in] second, third grade, and I know that hallway, and I know that office suite,” Bachmann said.