NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The head of Covenant School, who was one of six people shot and killed on Monday, went to great lengths to prepare her students and staff for active-shooter situations and took action when a former student became homicidal and opened fire, Fox News reported.
The school’s leader, Katherine Koonce, 60, was in the middle of a virtual meeting when the shooting began around 10:13 a.m., according to Nashville City Councilman Russ Pulley.
“It is my understanding from a witness at the school that Katherine Koonce was on a Zoom call when she heard the first shot. She immediately ended the call, got up and headed straight for the shooter,” Pulley, a former FBI agent, told Fox on Tuesday, although he acknowledged that he did not have specific details regarding the confrontation that subsequently ensued.
“She did what principals and headmasters do; she protected her children,” Pulley said. “In addition, she prepared the school by seeking advanced-level active-shooter training, and from witnesses at the scene, this protocol – details of which I cannot provide – saved countless lives.”
Chief John Drake of the Metro Nashville Police Department said at a press conference on Tuesday that he couldn’t confirm exactly what Koonce did. However, she was discovered in a hallway by herself.
“There was a confrontation, I’m sure – you can tell the way she was lying in the hallway,” Drake said.
Mike Hill, a 61-year-old custodian, and Cynthia Peak, a 61-year-old substitute teacher, were also killed in the shooting.
Hill was gunned down as the suspect let loose a barrage of bullets into the locked glass doors to get into the school, Drake confirmed.
Tim Dunavant, a pastor at Hartsville First United Methodist Church who hired Hill at the Covenant School 13 years ago, believes the investigation will reveal that Hill also died as a hero trying to shield the children.
“I don’t know the details yet. But I have a feeling, when it all comes out, Mike’s sacrifice saved lives. I have nothing factual to base that upon. I just know what kind of guy he was. And I know he’s the kind of guy that would do that,” Dunavant wrote in an online post on Monday.
The slain children were identified by police as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all aged 9, Law Officer reported.
The mass murderer was identified as transgender 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale, who attended the school as a child. The killer was neutralized by Officer Rex Englebert and Officer Michael Collazo, according to authorities.
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