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Funerals begin for six victims of Nashville school shooting


(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — Mourners will gather on Friday for the first of six funerals in the wake of Monday’s mass shooting at The Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee.

Friends and family of 9-year-old victim Evelyn Dieckhaus were asked to wear pink and green to her funeral service on Friday afternoon.

“Our hearts are completely broken,” the Dieckhaus family said in a statement. “We cannot believe this has happened. Evelyn was a shining light in this world.”

The service for 9-year-old victim Hallie Scruggs will be on Saturday. Hallie’s funeral will be at Covenant Presbyterian Church — the church connected to the school where she was killed and where her father, Chad Scruggs, is a senior pastor.

Chad Scruggs told ABC News in a statement, “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.”

Saturday will also be the visitation and service for 61-year-old Cynthia Peak, who was a substitute teacher at The Covenant School.

Her family called her “a pillar of the community, and a teacher beloved by all her students.”

“Her favorite roles in life were being a mom to her three children, a wife to her husband, and an educator to students,” Peak’s family said in a statement. “We will never stop missing her.”

The service for the third child killed, 9-year-old Will Kinney, will take place on Sunday.

On Tuesday, beloved school custodian, 61-year-old Mike Hill, will be laid to rest.

He was a father of seven and a grandfather of 14.

“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,” his family said in a statement.

Former student Bex Lithgow called Hill “the kindest soul who loved all the students so much.”

The final funeral service will be on Wednesday for 60-year-old Katherine Koonce, the head of the school.

“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,” Koonce’s family said in a statement. “It is our privilege to honor Katherine’s legacy and to celebrate her remarkable spirit.”

A former local school administrator, Tricia Drake, told ABC News that her last conversation with Koonce was in August, discussing companies they used for active shooter training.

Drake said she knew Koonce had initiated her active shooter protocols on Monday when she saw footage police released from two of the responding officers’ body cameras. One of the videos shows a Covenant School staff member meeting an officer 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.” The staffer is then 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 said. “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.”

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