UPDATE (Feb. 25, 12:29 p.m): The funeral service for CJH Elementary's Coach Candace McGriff has been rescheduled to Saturday, Feb. 28, 1 p.m. due to winter weather concerns. The funeral will be held at Greenforest Baptist Church, 3250 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. Interment will be at Kennedy Memorial Gardens in Ellenwood
(Feb. 20, 7:08 p.m.) Funeral services for CJH Elementary PE teacher "Coach" Candace McGriff will be held Wednesday, Feb. 25, and visitation will be held Tuesday, Feb. 24
Visitation will be held Tuesday, Feb. 24, noon - 8 p.m., with visitation for family from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Rockdale Chapel of Gregory B. Levett and Sons Funeral Homes, 1999 Ga. Highway 138, Conyers.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Feb. 25, 1 p.m., at Greenforest Baptist Church, 3250 Rainbow Drive, Decatur. Interment will be at Kennedy Memorial Gardens in Ellenwood.
CJH Elementary coach killed in DeKalb home, fiancé charged with murder
(Updated Feb. 20, 12:57 p.m. from original story posted Feb. 19, 8:55 p.m.)
The C.J. Hicks Elementary School faculty, students and staff will have a heavy heart when they return to school next week as they mourn the death of one of their own.
Candace McGriff, a physical education teacher at the school for the last four years, was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon in her apartment located in the 1800 block of Concepts 21 Drive in DeKalb County.
Her 30-year-old fiancé, Antione Hood, was arrested and booked into the DeKalb County jail Friday with the charge felony murder.
DeKalb County Police Department officers responded to the scene around 1 p.m. Tuesday to find 28-year-old McGriff laying face up on the bedroom floor on the right side of the bed with one bullet wound in the middle of her chest, according to the police report. She was pronounced deceased at the scene by medical first responders.
Hood, who had called 911, told investigators that it was a self-inflicted wound.
He was standing outside the apartment talking with a neighbor when first responders arrived.
With a calm manner, he told police that McGriff shot herself because "he was attempting to leave her and she did not want him to leave," according to the report.
A handgun was located at the scene on the right side of the bed surrounded by male clothing, according to the report.
Hood, who was the only person in the apartment with McGriff, was detained by police at the scene. After a few hours of further questioning with detectives at police headquarters, he was released, says DeKalb Police Capt. Steven Fore.
The case is still under investigation.
On Monday when school is back in session, parents and teachers face the difficult task of explaining to C.J. Hicks Elementary students what happened to "Coach" McGriff.
On the homepage of the school's website, underneath a picture of McGriff, some suggestions were posted for parents to help explain the situation to their kids. They also offer the e-mails to two of the guidance counselors at the school.
Superintendent Richard Autry said in an e-mailed statement, "We extend our sincerest sympathy to the family and friends of Ms. McGriff. RCPS will provide the necessary support to the entire C.J. Hicks school community as we return from the break and mourn the loss of a teacher, friend, and colleague."
C.J. Hicks Elementary's principal Nadine Campbell said in an e-mailed statement, "The C.J. Hicks family is heartbroken over the loss of our P.E. teacher, Ms. Candace McGriff. She loved our children, our staff and our school and we loved her."
Campbell says that McGriff, who has been employed at the school since January 2011, will be "greatly missed."
"She led our Fitness Club and taught us all how to build endurance, eat healthy, and lead a healthy lifestyle," she said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with her family as well during this difficult time for all who knew her."