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School Shooting Victims Remembered     05/21 06:04

   SANTA FE, Texas (AP) -- An outgoing and "really funny" student who blocked 
the door to try to prevent the gunman from entering the classroom, an exchange 
student who aspired to work in civil service and a substitute teacher who 
frequently hosted gatherings were among the 10 people killed at a Texas high 
school.

   Family members and friends of the eight students and two teachers fatally 
shot Friday fondly remembered their loved ones. They used such words as sweet, 
hardworking and loving.

   Eight of the 10 were students: Kimberly Vaughan, Shana Fisher, Angelique 
Ramirez, Christian Riley Garcia, Jared Black, Sabika Sheikh, Christopher Jake 
Stone and Aaron Kyle McLeod. The other two, Glenda Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale, 
were substitute teachers.

   At least 13 others were injured in the attack at the high school in Santa 
Fe, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Houston. A 17-year-old student, 
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, is being held on capital murder charges.

   Here are some of the victims' stories:

   GLENDA PERKINS

   Perkins for years had been a substitute teacher at Santa Fe High School, 
where her grandchildren are students.

   Student Jay Mann, a junior, tells the Houston Chronicle she always had a 
smile on her face, took the time to learn students' names and became part of 
the fabric of the school.

   Mann says she had a great attitude and "never got mad at anybody for doing 
something stupid."

   An all-female Galveston Mardi Gras krewe, Tutu Live Krewe, has posted on 
Facebook that Perkins, along with her daughter, was a member of their marching 
group.

   ANGELIQUE RAMIREZ

   The senior pastor at Dayspring Church says Ramirez was a member of the Santa 
Fe church's youth ministry.

   Pastor Brad Drake says she had occasionally accompanied a younger brother to 
the ministry at the church where her parents are among the some 150 people to 
attend Sunday services.

   Drake on Sunday described the 15-year-old as "a sweet young lady, had a 
style all of her own." He says she "almost always had a new hairstyle."

   An aunt, Sylvia Pritchett, said in a Facebook post she has "a broken heart 
and a soul that just can't process all this right now."

   JARED BLACK

   Black turned 17 on Wednesday and was looking forward to a party this weekend 
at his family's just-purchased, above-ground swimming pool.

   An older brother, Anthony, from Odessa, Texas, was planning to visit with 
his wife and kids. Jared also had a younger brother, Houston, 13.

   The Houston Chronicle reports his family now is planning for his funeral.

   His stepfather, Travis Stanich, tells the newspaper Black took daily 
medication for attention deficit disorder and was quiet and kind and loved art, 
video games and sci-fi, wrestling and wolves.

   Stanich called him "a great kid" who was creative, drew cartoons and loved 
people.

   SHANA FISHER

   The mother of 16-year-old Shana Fisher believes that her daughter was 
intentionally targeted by Pagourtzis.

   Sadie Rodriguez said Pagourtzis repeatedly made advances toward Fisher in 
the four months leading up to the shooting. Pagourtzis was an ex-boyfriend of 
Fisher's best friend, she said.

   "He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no," said 
Rodriguez over Facebook Messenger. "He continued to get more aggressive."

   Rodriguez said that the week before the shooting, Fisher "stood up to him" 
by "embarrass(ing) him in class." Rodriguez gave no other details.

   Rodriguez described her daughter as "shy and sweet" with a passion for video 
games. Rodriguez shared a video of Fisher from 2015, in which the teen 
contemplates whether or not she'll continue making gaming videos because her 
computer keeps crashing.

   The day of the shooting, Rodriguez wrote in a Facebook status to "love like 
(you're) getting one more day with them."

   "Anything can happen," she wrote. "I will no longer get to see my baby my 
1st born anymore."

   CHRIS STONE

   Stone was among a group of students who blocked the door to try to prevent 
the gunman from entering their art classroom, freshman Abel San Miguel, who was 
in the class, told The Associated Press. The shooter fired his shotgun through 
the door, though, striking Stone in the chest, he said.

   Stone was outgoing, "really funny" and had a lot of friends, said Branden 
Auzston, a 17-year-old junior at Santa Fe High. He said he knew Stone for about 
three years, and Stone was one of his best friends.

   Auzston's mother, Nicole Auzston, described Stone as a part of her family.

   "We would have done anything for him," she said. "He's just a great kid."

   Robert Stone told the AP by phone Saturday that his family was grieving his 
nephew's death and requested privacy.

   SABIKA SHEIKH

   Abdul Aziz Sheikh was expecting his daughter Sabika to return home to 
Pakistan in a few weeks for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday marking the end 
of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

   Instead, he learned that his oldest child was among those killed in the mass 
shooting at Santa Fe High School, where Sabika arrived as an exchange student 
last August.

   Surrounded by mourning friends and family at his home in Karachi on 
Saturday, Abdul Aziz Sheikh fought back tears as he relived his frantic efforts 
to check whether his daughter was safe half a world away. She wasn't returning 
his calls and neither were her friends. He eventually learned from the exchange 
program that she was among the dead.

   "We are still in a state of denial. We can't believe it. It's like a 
nightmare," Sheikh told The Associated Press.

   He said his daughter was a hardworking and accomplished student who aspired 
to work in civil service, hoping one day to join Pakistan's Foreign Office.

   "One should not lose his heart by such kind of incidents," he said. "One 
should not stop going for education to the U.S. or U.K., or China, or anywhere. 
One must go for education undeterred. But controlling such incidents is the 
responsibility of the respective governments."

   CYNTHIA TISDALE

   Leia Olinde said Tisdale, her aunt and a substitute teacher at the school, 
was like a mother to her and helped her shop for wedding dresses last year.

   "She helped me put it on, she helped fix my hair," Olinde said through tears.

   "She was wonderful. She was just so loving," said Olinde, 25. "I've never 
met a woman who loved her family so much."

   She said Tisdale was married to her husband for close to 40 years and that 
they had three children and eight grandchildren.

   Tisdale's house was the center of family gatherings and she loved cooking 
Thanksgiving dinner and decorating her house, Olinde said.

   Olinde's fiance, Eric Sanders, said of Tisdale that "words don't explain her 
lust for life and the joy she got from helping people."

   AARON KYLE MCLEOD

   McLeod, a freshman who went by Kyle, could always be counted on to make 
light of any situation, said close friend Kali Reeves, who added she wouldn't 
have been surprised if the 15-year-old "made a joke about getting shot" if he 
were still alive.

   Reeves, 15, said she knew McLeod for years and became close friends with him 
in the eighth grade. She said he always had a smile on his face and loved to 
hang out with his friends.

   "He was never one to be a sad or down person, he always had to joke or laugh 
about things," she said. "He was just outgoing and super sweet. He definitely 
didn't deserve this."

   Reeves heard that her friend had been shot as she was evacuating Santa Fe 
High School. She joked to her boyfriend that if she FaceTimed McLeod, he would 
have "made a joke about him getting shot," adding that "he just always looked 
on the bright side of things."

   Reeves said she texted McLeod throughout the day to check up on him. She 
sent him one final text, saying she hopes he "gets better." Shortly after, she 
checked Facebook and learned he was one of the 10 killed.


(KA)

 
 
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