This article has been updated.
At least 10 people were killed Friday in a mass shooting at Santa Fe High School, a deadly rampage that has forced the Southeast Texas community to become the latest to grapple with gun violence in the nation’s schools.
They were attending art class during first period — just after 7:30 a.m. — when a teenager with two guns entered the room, yelling “Surprise” and opening fire. Students and teachers scrambled, some out into a hallway and others into a supply closet, shushing each other in an effort to elude detection. Witnesses described a lengthy series of shootings while police tried to intervene; one police officer was shot and critically wounded. Police ultimately got the alleged gunman to surrender, and a suspect has been charged with capital murder.
Jack Roady, the Galveston County district attorney, confirmed the names of those who died in the shooting as teachers Glenda Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale, as well as students Jared Black, Shana Fisher, Christian Riley Garcia, Aaron Kyle McLeod, Angelique Ramirez, Sabika Sheikh, Christopher Jake Stone and Kimberly Vaughan.
Here are their stories.
Christian Riley Garcia would hop on water skis and be pulled by the boat around the lake, ride Jet Skis and stay up late with his family to go night fishing during trips to Crosby, Tex., where the family would vacation in the summers.
His cousin, Ashley Fonseca, 21, said her fondest memories were with Riley at that lake. She recently promised him they would go on a trip to a Six Flags amusement park soon, and he was supposed to meet her brother’s newborn baby.
On Friday, Fonseca saw there was another school shooting and thought “that’s crazy,” before realizing that her cousin was missing. She learned eight hours later that he was among the dead.
“We were supposed to make the trip to go back up there this summer to go to the lake again,” she said, her voice trailing off.
Fonseca tweeted how she was at a loss for words and that her heart “is hurting sooo bad.”
In a picture posted by Crosby Church on Facebook, Riley rested his head next to a psalm he wrote on the door frame of what would be his new bedroom.
The scripture read: “He said, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.’ ”
— Ellie Silverman
Christopher Jake Stone was never the biggest player on the football field. But he was versatile, playing center, guard, defensive tackle and wherever else a coach needed him, said Mercedez Stone, his sister.
There was another quality that made him indispensable: “He had lot of heart,” Mercedez, 19, said in a Facebook message.
Stone, the youngest of three, protected Mercedez and their sister, Angelica Stone, 21, with the ferocity of an older brother. The trio were known as the “three Stones.”
“Being a brother was his best job,” Mercedez Stone said. “He was always there if someone needed someone to listen or some cheering up. Definitely the life of the party, and one of the most understanding, open-minded kids I know.”
He delighted in PlayStation 4 games with his gamer friends and sought adventure — hiking, Jet Skiing, parasailing and zip-lining, Mercedez Stone said.
A week ago, he attended his junior prom.
— Debbie Truong
Cynthia Tisdale raised her children and grandchildren, accompanying and encouraging one granddaughter through physical therapy recently after an accident so that the girl is now able to walk again. She took care of her ailing husband of nearly 47 years, whom she married when she was 17.
“She was a good woman,” William Tisdale said Friday. “She watched out for me.”
This year, because she got so much joy from helping people, she went to work at Santa Fe High School as a substitute teacher for children with special needs.
“She loved to help children,” said her son, Recie Tisdale, a detective with the League City Police Department. “She didn’t have to do it. She did it because she loved it.”
He learned of the shooting on his day off, grabbed his gear and rushed to the school. His own daughter wasn’t supposed to be in school until later that day, so she was safe. But as officers worked to secure the scene, his father reached out: He had not been able to reach Cynthia Tisdale. Recie Tisdale knew that two teachers were among the 10 people killed, and realized that one was probably his mother.
“It was very hard to go from assisting others to being horribly affected,” he wrote. “There are no words to explain how saddened my entire family is for all those involved.” Their prayers and thoughts, he said, are with all those touched by the tragedy.
— Nick Anderson
A family friend confirmed that Angelique Ramirez was killed in Santa Fe High School on Friday. In less than 15 hours, a $10,000 online fundraising goal in her memory was exceeded.
Ramirez was compassionate and caring, Rebecca Ruiz, a family friend, wrote on Ramirez’s GoFundMe page. Contacted Saturday, Ruiz said that Ramirez’s mother, Robin, has requested privacy as the family grieves.
“She brought smiles to those who knew her,” Ruiz wrote. “In losing Angelique, her friends and family lost so much.”
— Debbie Truong
Abdul Aziz Sheikh thought his daughter would be safe in the United States, sending his daughter to a school in Texas as part of a cultural exchange program created by the U.S. State Department to foster understanding. But Sabika Sheikh, 18, was killed Friday while at school.
“We found out about the shooting from a local TV channel, and tried, but failed, to contact Sabika and her friends,” her father said in an interview from Karachi, Pakistan, describing the episode as like a nightmare.
Sabika Sheikh was the eldest of three sisters and had an older brother. Another exchange student, Sayyed Zaman Haider, said Sheikh was about to return home to them: The academic year was ending, so she was almost done with her cultural exchange. Her family said she was due home on June 9, and her relatives had been counting the days, her father said.
She had been hoping to become a social worker to address women’s issues in Pakistan, with an aim of empowering women there, said her uncle, Jalil Sheikh.
Her uncle described her as “very jolly and brilliant” and said she always encouraged and motivated others.
Sabika Sheikh was in Texas with the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program, which was created in 2003 to promote democracy, civic engagement and national security, according to an official with the State Department. More than 10,000 students from approximately 45 countries have spent an academic year at U.S. high schools, living with American families who volunteer with the program. She was one of 72 students from Pakistan this year.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Saturday that “Sabika’s death and that of the other victims is heartbreaking and will be mourned deeply both here in the United States, and in Pakistan.”
David Hale, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, announced early Saturday that he had called her family to offer his deepest condolences.
“As an exchange student, Sabika was a youth ambassador, a bridge between our peoples and cultures,” he wrote on the embassy’s Facebook page. “All of us at the U.S. Mission in Pakistan are devastated by and mourn her loss. We will honor her memory.”
The American Councils for International Exchange, which administered the program for the State Department, said in a statement Saturday that officials there are grieving.
“Exchange is an experience filled with new discoveries and friendship. We are devastated that this tragedy has become part of the narrative for one of our students,” the group said. “We send our deepest condolences to Sabika’s friends, family, and loved ones in the U.S., Pakistan, and around the world.”
— Susan Svrluga and Nisar Mehdi
Jared Black was in his favorite class — art — when he was shot and killed on Friday, family members said. It took 13 hours after the shooting for his father to find out what had happened to him, according to a family friend, Elizabeth McGinnis.
Now, Jared’s father is “broken and devastated,” McGinnis wrote in a statement.
Black recently turned 17 and his birthday party had been scheduled for Saturday.
“We miss him so much,” his half brother, Nick Black, and a close friend wrote in a statement. “We wish we would see him at least one more time.”
Black loved playing Minecraft on Xbox and Pokémon Go on his cellphone, they wrote.
— Ellie Silverman
Shana Fisher doted on her dog Kallie and was a beautiful, smart, funny and talented girl, her mother told the Houston Chronicle. She turned 16 the same month she was killed.
“She had a lot of love in her heart,” Fisher’s mother told the newspaper.
An aunt, Candi Thurman, posted to Twitter in the hours after the shooting, when Shana’s fate was still uncertain: “Still no confirmation on where she is. Please keep praying!” Thurman wrote. On Saturday, she tweeted of Shana: “She should be getting her first car, not a funeral.”
— Debbie Truong
Kandi Hart, a member of Vaughan’s family, told the Antelope County News in Nebraska that Kimberly was in her first-period art class on Friday when she was killed. Kimberly’s mother, Rhonda, “searched for many hours for any information” to find her daughter, Hart said. Kimberly’s family was eventually notified that she had been killed, Hart said.
“We are asking that you keep all of us, especially Rhonda and her son in your prayers,” Hart told the Antelope County News. “Kim is now in heaven with her Lord.”
School shootings were “extremely difficult,” she said, but it was much more difficult when it involved a family member.
“Thank you everyone for your prayers and well wishes this afternoon, it truly helps,” she said.
— Sarah Larimer
Kali Reeves remembered her friend, Aaron Kyle McLeod, as someone who was always joking.
“He was never one to be a sad or down person, he always had to joke or laugh about things,” she told the Associated Press. “He was just outgoing and super sweet. He definitely didn’t deserve this.”
McLeod was a freshman and went by his middle name, Kyle, the Associated Press reported.
— Sarah Larimer
Within hours of the attack, students and others on social media were expressing horror that someone they described as a grandma, a sweetheart and a nurturing angel had been hurt. But the Galveston County district attorney announced Saturday that Glenda Perkins was killed Friday in the Santa Fe High attack.
Most people knew her as Ann — her middle name — Perkins.
A local dance group, TNT Dance Xplosion, asked for prayers for her daughter, who had been with the group, and for her husband: “She was an amazing mom and an adored substitute who was loved by all.”
On Sunday, her family wrote their thanks to law enforcement officers, emergency responders and school district employees who had responded so bravely.
“We know Ann would want the students and faculty of Santa Fe High School, to whom she lovingly dedicated so much of her time, to remember to keep their hearts open, to discuss their feelings with family members, friends, and counselors in order to successfully conquer this tragedy,” the family wrote in a statement.
“Words cannot express how much we will miss our Ann, who was an amazing and devoted daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. “
A fundraising website shared a photo of her with a warm smile, and said she had died trying to protect her students.
— Susan Svrluga
Mehdi reported from Pakistan. Larimer reported from Washington. Brittney Martin, in Santa Fe, Tex., contributed to this report.