The city of Nashville mourns as funeral arrangements are made for the six victims of the mass shooting at the Covenant School. The children are identified as nine-year-olds Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney. Also killed were the Head of School, Katherine Koonce, 60, Mike Hill, 61, a custodian, and Cynthia Peak, 61, a substitute teacher.
AP NEWS: Funerals set for Nashville school shooting’s 6 victims
By Travis Loller & Adrian Sainz; March 31, 2023
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Funeral arrangements were disclosed Thursday for the six people killed in this week’s school shooting in Nashville, as the grieving city mourns the victims of the horrific attack that transformed what should have been a normal day of school on a bright, sunny morning into wrenching tragedy.
Heartbreaking new details continued to emerge about the lives of the three adults and three 9-year-old students who police say were killed during the shooting Monday at The Covenant School. The children have been identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney. Also killed were Katherine Koonce, 60, the head of the school; Mike Hill, 61, a custodian; and Cynthia Peak, 61, a substitute teacher.
A funeral service for Evelyn was scheduled for Friday at Woodmont Christian Church in Nashville, with a private reception to follow, according to an obituary provided to The Associated Press by a family friend. Funeral guests are invited to wear pink or other joyful colors “in tribute to Evelyn’s light and love of color,” according the obituary. She will be laid to rest on Saturday in a private family burial.Hallie’s family planned a private funeral for her Saturday at Covenant Presbyterian Church, where her father is the lead pastor. On Thursday, members of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, including the girl’s grandparents, were planning to pray the rosary for Hallie and for all those affected by the shooting, according to a Facebook post from the church.
Hallie’s family planned a private funeral for her Saturday at Covenant Presbyterian Church, where her father is the lead pastor. On Thursday, members of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, including the girl’s grandparents, were planning to pray the rosary for Hallie and for all those affected by the shooting, according to a Facebook post from the church.
The funeral for Hill has been set for Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. at Stephens Valley Church in Nashville, with visitation beginning at 10 a.m., pastor Jim Bachmann said.
A visitation for Koonce was scheduled for Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church, with a service the following day at 1 p.m.
The service for Kinney was set for 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Christ Presbyterian.
Peak’s visitation was scheduled for Saturday at 10:30 a.m., also at Christ Presbyterian, with a service at noon.
The funeral plans were announced as new information about Evelyn and some of the others was released.
In the obituary given to the AP by a family friend, Evelyn was described as “a constant beacon of joy” who loved art, music, animals and snuggling with her older sister on the couch.
“With an unwavering faith in the goodness of others, Evelyn made people feel known, seen, but never judged,” the obituary said. “Her adoring family members agree that ‘she was everyone’s safe space.’”
Prayer vigils held for victims in school shooting
A reeling city mourned during multiple vigils Monday evening. At Belmont United Methodist Church, teary sniffling filled the background as vigil attendees sang, knelt in prayer and lit candles. (March 27)
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In preschool, Evelyn “would often position herself between two younger babies, intuitively offering comfort by patting their backs.” She would greet people with open arms and an infectious laugh, the obituary said.
Evelyn enjoyed crafting and drawing, and her teachers “would observe Evelyn studying the world around her with curiosity, eagerness, and clarity,” according to the obituary.
She also liked to sing along to tunes by Taylor Swift and from the Broadway show “Hamilton.” She also loved her dogs, Mable and Birdie, and wanted a rat for her 10th birthday present.
“Strong but never pushy, she had self-composure and poise beyond her years,” the obituary said. “This girl ‘could read a room.’”
As Evelyn’s loved ones prepared for her funeral, William Kinney’s youth baseball league was taking steps to remember a teammate and friend.
The night after the shooting, a coach at the Crieve Hall Baseball park led a prayer and a moment of silence for the boy. The tribute was posted on the park’s Facebook page.
William had played baseball at the park in the past and his team this season was the Reds, said Steve Cherrico, director of Crieve Hall youth athletics. Players and their families have been encouraged to wear red in the field and in the stands, and red ribbons have been placed at the field where William played.
“We’ve covered everything in red,” Cherrico said. “We have put plenty of memory pieces on the ballpark itself.”
Cherrico said league members were heartbroken at the loss of William and the others who were killed. Cherrico said it was not the first time that Crieve Hall has lost a player.
“The league has always stepped up and come together as a family,” he said.
In response to the park’s tribute, Major League Baseball’s Cincinnati Reds posted the following on Instagram: ”“Sending all of our love from Cincinnati,” with a heart emoji at the end.
Photo: AP Photo/Wade Payne