What we know about the victims of the Nashville school shooting

Three students and three staff members have been killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Tennessee.

On Monday, 28-year-old suspect Audrey Elizabeth Hale arrived in a Honda Fit car and proceeded towards a Christian elementary school in Nashville, police said.

Armed with two assault-style rifles and a handgun, Hale gained entry into The Covenant School building by shooting through a side door.

Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, all aged nine, died in the shooting.

Katherine Koonce, 60, Cynthia Peak and Mike Hill, both 61, were the adult victims. Hale was also killed at the scene by police officers.

Responding to the Nashville school shooting – the latest to rock America – President Joe Biden has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Friday.

Here’s what we know about the six victims:

Katherine Koonce

According to The Covenant School website, Katherine Koonce worked as the headmistress at the school for seven years.

One parent was quoted as saying by the BBC that Koonce was a “saint”.

“She did so much for those kids,” a parent of a student said. “And now gave her life protecting them.”

Covenant School Headteacher Katherine Koonce (Covenant School)
Covenant School Headteacher Katherine Koonce (Covenant School)

“She knew every single student by name,” she said. “She did everything to help them when families couldn’t afford things, it didn’t matter. She found ways for them to stay.”

Koonce also authored a book titled Parenting the Way God Parents: Refusing to Recycle Your Parents’ Mistakes, which was published in 2006.

Cynthia Peak

Cynthia Peak was a staff member at The Covenant School who was working as a substitute teacher on the day of the attack.

The school is run by a church and does not employ a school resource officer.

Cynthia Peak (centre) in a photo shared by a family friend (Family friend/KALB)
Cynthia Peak (centre) in a photo shared by a family friend (Family friend/KALB)

Mike Hill

Mike Hill was also a staff member at the school. CBS News said Hill worked as a custodian.

A woman who said she was Hill’s daughter said on Facebook that her father “absolutely loved” working at the school.

A GoFundMe described Hill as a “beloved father of eight children”.

“Mike is one who should not be overlooked in the wake of this senseless loss,” the page reads.

“This GoFundMe is started by fellow Nashville parents who live in the community who are dedicated to honoring this hero... Mike’s family deserves peace of mind that his loss was not in vain and that some good can come from it. His legacy can live on through goodwill and love. In the end, love should always win.”

Mike Hill worked as a custodian at the school (GoFundMe)
Mike Hill worked as a custodian at the school (GoFundMe)

Hallie Scruggs

Among the six victims at the Nashville school shooting was nine-year-old Hallie Scruggs, the daughter of a local pastor.

She was the daughter of Chad Scruggs, a senior pastor at the Covenant Presbyterian Church, according to CBS News.

Hallie Scruggs with her local pastor father (Family photo)
Hallie Scruggs with her local pastor father (Family photo)

Evelyn Dieckhaus

Evelyn was a third-grade student at the Christian elementary school.

“I don’t want to be an only child,” her sister, a fifth grader, was quoted as saying by The Tennessean.

“Our community is heartbroken," a statement from the school said. “We are grieving tremendous loss and are in shock coming out of the terror that shattered our school and church.”

William Kinney

William was a student at the school. Not much information is available yet about the nine-year-old boy who was killed in the shooting.

“When I got a call this afternoon to ask me to do this, I sat down to see if there was anything I could say that might rise to the occasion,” said Wade McGregor, part of the leadership team at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

“I sat there for quite a while with my pad of paper, and after I while I looked down at it. All I had written was ‘Pray for us’.”