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ABOVE: Parishioners participate in a community vigil at Belmont United Methodist Church in the aftermath of a school shooting in Nashville, Monday, March 27, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

'In the Arms of Christ': Pastor's Daughter Among Children Killed During Christian School Shooting

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As the nation continues to process the horror that unfolded Monday morning at The Covenant School, a Christian elementary academy in Nashville, Tennessee, heartbreaking new details continue to emerge.

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Among the unimaginable stories, a pastor’s young daughter was reportedly one of the six victims killed during the mass shooting.

Hallie Scruggs, 9, was the youngest daughter of Chad Scruggs, senior pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church, the house of worship affiliated with the school, and his wife, Jada, The New York Post reported.

Chad Scruggs previously served as pastor of Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas, for nearly six years, and also worked as a campus minister at Reformed University Fellowship at SMU.

Mark Davis, the senior pastor of Park Cities, told WFAA-TV the Scruggs family is still close with the church community and that members of Park Cities have flown to Nashville to offer comfort during this time.

“They are so deeply connected to this [church] body,” Davis said. “Even now, members of our church are flying to Nashville to be with them. The impact they had here was enormous.”

The family had recently visited Dallas after Scruggs was invited back to preach. Davis said the Scruggs’ four children always seem to have a deep and profound faith as well as a “radiance.”

“All four of their children had that radiance; we talk about the radiance of Christ, even at a young age,” he told WFAA-TV. “They’re gifted children, they really are. But they’re godly children.”

Davis said he spoke with Scruggs just hours after shooter Audrey Hale, 28, allegedly entered The Covenant School and committed the unthinkable.

In addition to hearing despair in the pastor’s voice, Davis said he also listened to the grieving father’s faith shine through amid the onslaught of inconceivable pain.

“I listened to him lament,” Davis said. “I listened to him also say, we know she’s in the arms of Christ and we know he loves her more than we did.”

Tributes to the family continue to pour in on social media, with friends and loved ones speaking about the loving and God-filled nature of the preacher and his wife while also offering heartfelt prayers for healing.

In addition to Hallie Scruggs, Evelyn Dieckhaus and William Kinney, both 9 years old, were killed. Three adults at the school also lost their lives: Cynthia Peak, 61; Katherine Koonce, 60; and Mike Hill, 61.

Please continue to pray for the Scruggs family and the loved ones of all those whose lives were lost and impacted during this senseless act of violence.

Read more about the tragic shooting here.

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