JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Hours after the head of Episcopal School of Jacksonville was shot and killed, hundreds turned out at vigils held in her honor.
Dale Regan was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon by a teacher who had been fired, according to police.
"We have full confidence that Dale Regan is already with God and in heaven with our Lord and savior Jesus, but we ask for your prayers as we mourn this great leader," said the Rev. Kathryn Moorehead, dean of Episcopal Cathedral.
Police said Spanish teacher Shane Schumerth, 28, went on campus with an AK-47 in a guitar case, went to the administrative office, shot Regan several times, then killed himself.
At the first of four vigils to remember Regan, dozens of people attended candlelight vigil at San Jose Episcopal Church.
"It's like a loss, like losing a family member," said Lolita Hill, the school's former basketball coach.
Friends called her a dedicated woman, saying Regan was a well-respected teacher and a dear friend with a giving heart.
"That's what I'll remember from, all the good things she's done for people, and the openness and just having a wonderful heart, and doing things for others," said Hill.
"I'm very devastated by it. Ms. Regan was a wonderful person," said student Sarah Stone, who heard a gunshot and didn't think anything of it.
"Well, we needed to be with people that we loved and that loved Dale Regan, and that love Episcopal School of Jacksonville and you find that all over this community," said Catherine Kilpatrick.
"I don't know how the school will recover. I know it will because it's a strong family, and it has a strong foundation in the church and in Jesus Christ, but it's going to be a different school when March 19th rolls around again," said Donovan Cain, the Associate Reactor at St. Mark's Episcopal Church.
"This is a profound loss for Episcopal, for our community, for our kids," said Suzanne Bass, a parent.
Regan had worked at the school for 34 years and had been head of school for seven years.
"Dale Regan was a joy to listen to. When you heard her speak at the school, you could tell she loved the school, that her whole being was about the students and the school, creating a real sense of community," added Kilpatrick.
Others at the vigil talked about Schumerth. Many were shocked to hear what police accused him of doing.
"It's unbelievable. I hope it's not the person you say it is. That's just unbelievable to me," said Beverly Carter, Schumerth's neighbor.
"If anything, Shane was shy. To have any information that he had interest in weaponry, there was nothing to indicate that," said John Winkler, who knew Schumerth.
One student described him as being quiet, saying he often ate lunch by himself in his own classroom.
A memorial service for Regan will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the school in the Campion Courtyard by Parks and Lastinger Halls.
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