First lady visits Nashville during vigil to honor shooting victims
On Wednesday evening, a candlelight vigil brought together the community in Nashville, Tennessee, to commemorate the victims of the shooting at the Covenant School that happened on Monday, leaving six victims dead.
“Our police officers have cried and are crying with Nashville and the world,” said police chief John Drake at the vigil, per CBS News. “I have cried and continue to cry and I have prayed for Nashville as well.”
Attending the event was first lady Jill Biden, who touched the picture of each victim and placed a flower underneath, reported CNN. Also in attendance were singer Sheryl Crow, who sang “I Shall Believe,” along with Margo Price, singing “Tears of Rage,” and Ketch Secor, who left many in tears with “Will the Circle be Unbroken,” reported The Associated Press.
“Violence has visited our city and brought heartache and pain. In the midst of sorrow, we are yet looking for hope,” said Tennessee Rep. Rev. Harold M. Love, Jr. ending the vigil in prayer, per CNN.
What we know about the victims
Three children, all nine years old, were shot and killed during the attack, along with three adult caregivers at the school.
All of the victims were in open spaces where it was difficult to find cover and didn’t seem specifically targeted, reported CNN.
Here are the dead remembered:
William Kinney was a kid remembered for his “unflappable spirit,” by his family, per a GoFundMe page. He was “quick to laugh” and “always inclusive to others,” reads the page.
Hallie Scruggs, who was killed, is the daughter of Chad Scruggs, a previous associate pastor of the Presbyterian church associated with the Covenant School, per Fox4 News. At the vigil, her aunt, Kara Arnold, said she had “a love for life that kept her smiling and running and jumping and playing and always on the go,” reported CNN.
Evelyn Dieckhaus, a student at the school, was “a shining light in the world,” her family said after the incident, per Fox 17.
Cynthia Peak, 61, was substituting in the school at the time. Her brother Bill Broyles said, “she had an unwavering faith in Christ,” reported The Tennessean. She was a “pillar of the community,” and one of Tennessee first lady Maria Lee’s best friends, as described in a video posted by Gov. Bill Lee.
Michael Hill, 61, was a beloved custodian for more than a decade at the Covenant School, reported WSMV4. He was the father of seven children and 14 grandchildren, and a friend to many in the school. On multiple occasions, he was seen interacting with kids and performing small acts of kindness, including for Nikki Roberts, an overwhelmed mother in need with a dead car battery, per WSMV4.
Katherine Koonce, 60, was the head of the school and is thought to have confronted the shooter the day of the attack, as a witness told CNN. She is remembered by one former student as having a zeal for learning and being encouraging, per The New York Times.