Funerals for Nashville school shooting victims start with service for 9-year-old Evelyn Dieckhaus
A funeral was held Friday for 9-year-old Evelyn Dieckhaus, one of three children and three adults killed in Monday's shooting at The Covenant School 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.
In their obituary, the Dieckhaus' family described Evelyn as "whip smart," a "world class snuggler" and "everyone's safe space."
"Evelyn was a very special little girl," Clay Stauffer, senior minister at Woodmont Christian Church in Nashville, where Friday's service was held, told CBS News. "She was a shining light, a beacon of joy."
Funeral guests were 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.
Funeral services will also be held Saturday for 9-year-old Hallie Scruggs and substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61. A service will be held Sunday for 9-year-old William Kinney.
Services for custodian Mike Hill, 61, and head of school Katherine Koonce, 60, will take place next week.
"The way that we've been moving forward is by coming together, loving each other and supporting each other," Stauffer said. "Crying with each other and praying with each other. And we're gonna get through this."
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. He was a father of seven and grandfather of nearly a dozen grandchildren. Bachmann told "CBS Mornings" on Wednesday that Hill knew everyone at the school.
"Everybody loved Mike. Mike knew the kids in the school, knew their names, and took a personal interest in them," 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.
In preschool, Evelyn "would often position herself between two younger babies, intuitively offering comfort by patting their backs," her obituary read. 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.
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