Nashville school head Katherine Koonce was on a Zoom call when the shooting began, city councilman says
The head of Nashville's Covenant School was on a Zoom call when the gunfire rang out, a city councilman said.
Nashville City Councilman Russ Pulley said Katherine Koonce "abruptly ended the call and left her office and took off."
Koonce, 60, was one of six people killed in Monday's mass shooting at an elementary school.
The leader of the Nashville, Tennessee, school where another deadly school massacre unfolded earlier this week was on a Zoom call when the shooting began but hung up and "took off," a city councilman said, citing a witness he spoke to and saying he assumes she ran toward the shooter.
Katherine Koonce, the head of The Covenant School, was on a Zoom call when the gunfire first rang out at the private Christian elementary school on Monday morning, Nashville City Councilman Russ Pulley told Insider.
Pulley, a former FBI agent, said others on the call "heard the noise but didn't realize what it was at the time."
A witness told Pulley that 60-year-old Koonce then "abruptly ended the call and left her office and took off."
Koonce was one of six people, including three 9-year-old children, who were slain by the 28-year-old shooter after the assailant fired through the school's glass doors to enter the building.
Pulley said he's not sure what happened next, but assumes she ran toward the shooter.
"Katherine Koonce and principals — there's nothing in their DNA that would make them get up and do anything but that, because principals, educators — they protect their students," Pulley said.
Pulley also credited Koonce with preparing the school to handle an active shooter using drills and training.
"She hired an excellent group to come in there and train the entire school active shooter protocols. And that kicked in immediately. And there's no question that saved lives," Pulley said.
Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake told reporters on Tuesday that it was "very possible" that Koonce ran toward the shooter, but he could not confirm the detail.
"I do know she was in the hallway by herself," Drake said, explaining, "There was a confrontation, I'm sure, you can tell the way she was lying in the hallway."
A longtime friend of Koonce's told Insider that the school headmaster — a married mother-of-two — was a huge advocate for her students.
"The way that she honored the personhood of everyone in her circle, everyone in her presence, everyone she interacted with, it was so holy, and I don't mean that to sound mystical, it was just really life-affirming, in a way that's rare and precious," Anna Caudill said.
Caudill told Insider that as she was watching the live news footage showing the aftermath of the shooting, she was looking for any sign of Koonce.
"And not seeing her, I kept making excuses like, well, 'She must be, you know, helping the kids get onto the buses so they can go to the reunification point' or 'She must be talking to police' or 'I bet she's helping with the first responders or with the children,' " Caudill said.
"It wasn't until I went to pick up my younger son at the end of the day and my husband called me when I was on the way and said she didn't make it," said Caudill, "And I was just crushed."
The other victims of Monday's school shooting were 9-year-olds Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, and William Kinney, 61-year-old substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, and custodian Mike Hill, 61.
Police ultimately shot and killed the shooter inside the school just minutes after they arrived at the scene.
Update March 30, 2023: Councilman Russ Pulley says he was misquoted by Fox News. Pulley told Insider he "can assume" Koonce confronted the shooter based on a witness he spoke to, but couldn't confirm what happened.
Read the original article on Insider