Educators who knew the murder victims talk to WAVE 3 - News, Weather & Sports

Educators who knew the murder victims talk to WAVE 3

By Lindsay English

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- The two young victims in Thursday's tragedy were students in the Jefferson County Public School system. WAVE 3's Lindsay English has reaction from those who saw the children nearly every day.

Investigators contacted both schools to confirm whether 10 year old Nikki and 14 year old Greg Coontz where in class Thursday. When they were not, school officials learned the worst had happened.

McFerran Elementary School Principal Carol Miller spoke about 4th grader Nikki Coontz with a smile. But it seemed the tears where just below the surface.

"It is. It's a big tragedy," said Miller.

She describes Nikki as a teacher's dream.

"Everybody loved her. She was one of those, every teacher would like to have Nikki in her class," Miller said.

Miller says she was equally respected and admired among classmates.

"She was so kind and compassionate towards other children and especially reached out to other children who other people might have shunned or didn't want to be around, she took those under her wing," said Miller.

Nikki had recently been certified as a peer mediator, a position that allowed the 10 year old to work on problems involving her fellow students.

"If you snatch my backpack and call me a name and won't give it back, she is somebody that you would go to and she would help you, she had strategies that would help you solve the problem," says Miller.

She says Nikki's mom was involved along the way.

"The mother is, has been very supportive of the school. She's been supportive of Nikki's academics and all the special programs she participated in. She was lovely. She did some volunteer work at the school. Very nice, very kind lady," Miller said of Gail Coontz, who is now charged with Nikki and her brother, Greg's murders.

As the school prepares to help students and staff deal with the loss, Noe Middle School is facing similar grief, over the death of 14 year old Greg Coontz.

"Everybody is shocked because you never want to hear this about one of your students," says Dr. Kathy Sayre, principal of Noe Middle School where Greg was an 8th grader.

Dr. Sayre says she had no indication of any problems at home.

"No, we were surprised. So right now we are just moving forward and trying to help the kids that here deal with the situation," Sayre says.

Confirmation that it was in fact Nikki and Greg Coontz discovered shot to death inside their home came late in the school day on Thursday. So both schools are preparing to help students and staff deal with the loss through counselors and other resources Friday.

Online Reporter: Lindsay English

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway

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