NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Families of the six victims in a mass shooting at the Covenant School in Green Hills Monday morning are mourning their losses, with several funeral services planned in the coming days.
Three children, Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all 9 years old, and three staff members, Cynthia Peak, 61; Dr. Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61, were all killed after the shooter opened fire on the second floor of the private Christian school.
Their friends and family have honored their lives by telling their stories and leaning on the community with moments of prayer and several vigils held in the days following the shooting.
Many people have also placed flowers, stuffed animals and balloons at the school’s entrance in honor of those who were killed. On Thursday, March 30, members of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, including Hallie’s grandparents, prayed the rosary for her and for all those affected.
Her family and others have planned funeral services for this weekend and next week. While William’s family has asked for privacy, more details regarding funeral arrangements can be found below.
In her obituary, Evelyn was described as a “light” and a “constant beacon of joy to her family.” She loved animals, art, music and cherished time with her parents, sister, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.
In preschool, Evelyn would “would often position herself between two younger babies, intuitively offering comfort by patting their backs,” the obituary said. Many recall that Evelyn was the first to greet them with “wide open arms” and an “infectious laugh.”
“Evelyn Marie Dieckhaus blessed us all with her glorious light. She loved well and was easy to love. Her legacy will forever remind us to follow the example she set: shining light and love to others, always,” the obituary said.
Evelyn’s funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 31, at Woodmont Christian Church with a private reception to follow. In tribute to Evelyn’s light and love of color, funeral guests are invited to wear pink or other joyful colors.
She will be laid to rest the following day in a private family burial.
In lieu of flowers, people are asked to consider a donation to the Evelyn Dieckhaus Shining Light Fund, a charitable fund set up to support the causes that were closest to her heart. For more information, click here.
In a statement sent to ABC News, Chad Scruggs said he and his family are “heartbroken” over the loss of 9-year-old Hallie.
“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,” he said.
Hallie’s family has planned a private funeral for her Saturday, April 1 at the Covenant Presbyterian Church, where her father is the lead pastor.
In a statement Thursday, Peak’s family said their “hearts are broken” after learning she was among the six shooting victims.
Peak was working as a substitute teacher at the Covenant School on Monday, March 27 and was known as a “pillar of the community” who was beloved by all her students.
She also taught at Christ Presbyterian Academy as well as various other schools, including her own homeschool pod named Peak Academy.
“She reflected the love of the lord Jesus she followed. And to me and that’s the legacy she leaves behind—I’m grieving for Cindy’s husband, and her children, her brothers and sister, and all of her extended family. They are really all I think about right now,” said Charles Owen, a family friend.
Her family will be holding a funeral service this weekend. Visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 1, at Christ Presbyterian Church, located at 2323 Old Hickory Blvd.
Celebration of Life will be held at noon Saturday at Christ Presbyterian Church, with Lance Brown officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to WhoUWith? Ministries by clicking here. Checks can also be sent to 2900 Vanderbilt Place Suite 101, Nashville, TN 37212.
Koonce, the headmaster of the Covenant School, was remembered by her friends as selfless, courageous and full of grace, especially during her last moments.
“I guarantee when it was time to spring into action, she did because she wanted to protect those kids and her teachers,” said Jim Lee, a close friend and former co-worker of Koonce. “That was her job and she knew it. I’m sure she did not hesitate for a second.”
A visitation for Koonce is scheduled for Tuesday, April 4, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church, with a service the following day at 1 p.m.
In a statement, Koonce’s family said:
“Katherine was 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. It is our privilege to honor Katherine’s legacy and to celebrate her remarkable spirit. We are grateful for the prayers of many on our behalf, and we pray for the families of the six others who died.”
Jim Bachmann, a former pastor at Covenant School, remembered Hill as a “salt to the earth kind of fellow” with a big heart.
Staff at the school would call on Hill, who they called “Big Mike,” anytime they needed some heavy lifting done, and Bachmann shared a close bond with Hill for the last 15 years.
“He didn’t deserve this; he was a sweet man,” Bachmann said.
The funeral for Hill has been set for Tuesday, April 4, at 11 a.m. at Stephens Valley Church in Nashville, with visitation beginning at 10 a.m., according to Bachmann.