Nashville school shooting: What to know about the 6 victims
Three children and three staff members were killed at the Covenant School.
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 Dieckhaus 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."
In another statement, the family told ABC News that they "are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support."
"It is comforting and uplifting for all of us," they said. "Please continue to respect our privacy as we mourn the loss of our sweet Evelyn."
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.
During a candlelight vigil in Nashville on Wednesday evening, a former local school administrator, Tricia Drake, told ABC News that she couldn't stop thinking about her last conversation with Koonce, who she said had advised her on how to best prepare for an active shooter scenario.
"My last conversation with her, in August, was about who she used for her active shooter training because I know that she would have researched somebody," Drake said in a tearful interview. "We ended up using the same active shooter training at the school where I was also a head. I can't believe that was my last conversation with her."
Drake said she knew Koonce had made her mark when she saw the footage that police released from two of the responding officers' body-worn cameras. One of the videos shows a Covenant School staff member meeting Officer Rex Engelbert at the school's main entrance, telling him: "The kids are all locked down, but we have two kids that we don’t know where they are." She then is seen using a key to unlock the door so officers could go inside.
"Students were in their classrooms, locked up, the professional outdoors to lead the Metro policeman. She had a key, what her headcount was, she knew exactly where the students would be, she was prepared," Drake told ABC News. "I'm sure they had run those drills, and it's because of Katherine and the foresight she had to make sure her staffers were prepared."
Drake, who declined to say the name of the Nashville school she used to work for, said she underwent the same active shooter training that Koonce used and that the key is to adopt a "warrior mentality," accepting injury rather than death. Part of the training, she said, is to throw students out of windows and run away as far as possible. Drake told ABC News that she believes Koonce's preparations saved lives on Monday.
Drake also recalled the moment she realized something might be seriously wrong when news about the shooting at the Covenant School began to spread.
"I texted my sister and friends of mine to say: That's Katherine's school. I know she's going to come out. She's going to come out anytime now and tell everybody that it's under control, that everything's ok," Drake recounted. "And I waited like everyone else for Katherine to come out and I thought it was so strange that she was not visible. She was so professional, so prepared, so committed to her faculty and those sweet children of hers, and it's just such a loss. It is unthinkable that this has happened in our little town."
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, Jaclyn Lee, Duan Perrin, Lisa Siversten, Briana Stewart and Victor Ordoñez contributed to this report.
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