'A shining light': Evelyn Dieckhaus remembered after The Covenant School shooting

Posted at 6:05 PM, Mar 28, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Next door to Woodmont Baptist Church is Woodmont Christian Church in Green Hills.

Staff members there helped reunite parents with their children at the baptist church on Monday after a mass shooting occurred at The Covenant Church. Six victims died at the school in addition to the shooter. Of those victims, three of them were 9-year-old children.

But this particular church had a special connection to one those kids: Evelyn Dieckhaus.

"9-year-olds don’t see the place where they’re going to go to school and not come home," said Clay Stauffer, senior minister of Woodmont Christian Church. "That’s what’s so sad. They go to school and think: I’ll see my family this afternoon. Not just Evelyn’s family, but all of them. Those folks didn’t come home, and it’s tragic and terrible.”

Making sense of this school shooting is tough for many, particularly when a person's faith is tested.

"These are the types of situations in life where it does cause us to question and doubt our faith. But I also tell them in these situations as horrible as they are, I believe God shows up in the community," Stauffer said.

Stauffer said Woodmont Christian Church is home to many of the children who The Covenant School.

"These families are just heartbroken and trying to forward the best they can," he said.

That heartbreak compounds when it's also a member of their congregation.

"Evelyn made an impact on this world, and she will continue to," he said.

Stauffer said her mom and dad, Mike and Katie Dieckhaus, are completely broken.

"They’re being surrounded by their family and friends," he said. "Their daughter Evelyn was a shining light and an amazing person. She was loved not only by her family not just by her church. We’re surrounding them and picking them up — helping them move forward.”

On Monday, March 27, six people were shot and killed by a gunman at The Covenant School.

Police received the 911 call for the shooting at 10:13 a.m. Within 14 minutes, Metro Police were able to take down the shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale.

Hale gained access to the building through a side door that they shot through. From there, the shooter went upstairs and shot at police through the windows.

Two members of an officer team fired on Hale. Those two officers are officer Rex Englebert, a four-year MNPD veteran, and officer Michael Collazo, a nine-year MNPD veteran.

Who died in the shooting?

  • Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9
  • Hallie Scruggs, 9
  • William Kinney, 9
  • Cynthia Peak, 61
  • Katherine Koonce, 60
  • Mike Hill, age 61

The shooter was a 28-year-old Nashvillian who lived in the Belmont-Hillsboro neighborhood.

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