National News

Santa Fe School Shooting Victims: Here Are Their Stories

Posted May 20, 2018 2:38 p.m. EDT

One student was busy planning for his 17th birthday party. Another, an exchange student from Pakistan, was preparing for her return home, asking that her mother cook her favorite dinner. Others had ordinary teenage plans ahead — for Xbox and tennis games, for bickering with siblings, for a new bedroom.

After the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, relatives and friends were mourning the loss of 10 people — eight students and two teachers — and preparing for funerals and memorials.

Lost, too, were all the plans.

“She should be worrying about getting her driver’s license, making plans for summer break, maybe start thinking junior year and making plans for college and what she wants be when she grows up,” Ericha Fisher Farris, an aunt of Shana Fisher, who died in the shooting, wrote on Facebook. “She should be at home rolling her eyes from fighting with her little sister.”

Cynthia Tisdale, one of the teachers who died, had planned one day to retire and be a “full-time grandmother,” John Tisdale, her brother-in-law, said.

“It will never happen.”

Here are the stories of the people who perished at Santa Fe High School.

Jared Black

Jared Black’s favorite class was art, his family said, and that was where he was Friday morning. He had turned 17 earlier in the week, and he couldn’t wait for his birthday party Saturday.

Elizabeth McGinnis, a family friend, said Jared’s father, Robert Black, had wondered aloud how this could happen to someone like Jared. “He would never hurt anyone,” she recalled Jared’s father saying.

Nick Black, Jared’s half brother, said he wished he could see him one more time.

“My brother loved to play ‘Minecraft’ on Xbox, play ‘Pokemon Go’ on his cellphone, and loved art,” Black said, in a statement he wrote with a close friend. “We miss him so much.”

Shana Fisher

Shana Fisher, who was also in the art room at the time of the attack, had just turned 16.

The family waited and searched and hoped, all of Friday.

Shana’s mother, Sadie Rodriguez, told The Houston Chronicle that Shana was shy, loving and devoted to her dog, Kallie.

Tammy Fisher Whalen, an aunt, wrote that Fisher was “one of the sweetest kids you would ever meet.”

“Shana I love you sweet girl,” Whalen wrote. “I’m sorry we couldn’t help you.”

Christian Riley Garcia

Christian Riley Garcia, 15, wrote a message a few days ago on the door frame of what was going to be his new bedroom. A photograph of a house under construction showed Christian, in sunglasses, beside the message — a scripture passage that read, in part, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”

A Texas pastor, Keenan Smith of Crosby Church, posted the image on Facebook. He said he had baptized Christian years ago and that Christian had grown up in the church.

“Tonight we all mourn,” the pastor wrote, “because of the senseless unexplainable loss that sweeps through our nation, and certainly our area.”

Aaron Kyle McLeod

Aaron Kyle McLeod, a 15-year-old freshman whose friends called him Kyle, had the sort of cheery kindness about him that crosses generational lines. Other teens saw it, but so did adults.

Cassandra Garza, 16, had played tennis with him. He was “so sweet, so considerate,” she said.

Kyle’s next-door neighbor Harry Monych, a retired newspaper editor and publisher, said Kyle was always quick with a wide smile.

“I always saw him get off the bus every day, and I’d see him wave at us,” Monych said. “He’s a great kid, a very friendly person.”

A multicolored bouquet and a cluster of red, white and blue flowers sat on the sidewalk outside Kyle’s house over the weekend, along with two candles.

Glenda Ann Perkins

Glenda Ann Perkins was a substitute teacher at Santa Fe High School — which meant, in a way, that she was everybody’s teacher.

“She really connected with the kids,” Kyle Harris, a sophomore, said. “She was an absolute angel.”

Zachary Muehe, another sophomore, said Perkins was “everyone’s favorite substitute,” even among students who had graduated.

Muehe was in art class Friday morning when the shooting began, and he said he saw Perkins in the classroom next door as he tried to escape.

Angelique Ramirez

Family and friends called Angelique Ramirez compassionate and funny, a loving older sister with a contagious smile.

“With a broken heart and a soul that just can’t process all this right now, I have to announce my niece was one of the fatalities,” her aunt, Sylvia Pritchett, wrote in a Facebook post. “Please keep all the families in your thoughts, and hug your children tightly.”

Sabika Sheikh

Sabika Sheikh, 17, was supposed to return home to Pakistan in a matter of weeks. After months at Santa Fe High School as part of an exchange program sponsored by the State Department, Sabika had asked her mother to cook her favorite meal when she was to get back on June 9. She had asked her younger brother, Ali, to straighten up her room for her arrival. She had spoken to her younger sister on the telephone just hours before the shooting started.

“She was thinking big, at such a young age,” her father, Abdul Aziz Sheikh, said from his home in Karachi. “Sabika was a very talented and obedient child.”

He said he learned of his daughter’s death after seeing news reports and trying — again and again — to dial and text his daughter’s telephone. “There was nothing I heard back from her,” he said.

Sheikh eventually heard from exchange program leaders that his daughter had died in the shooting. He called on American officials to enact stronger gun regulations, and said he hoped no other family would have to experience such pain.

“I knew the pain of losing a child,” he said, “and pray to God, no parent would go through this situation.”

On the Pakistani Embassy in Washington’s Facebook page, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States expressed condolences to families of the victims.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Sabika’s family and friends,” the ambassador, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, said.

U.S. officials said Sabika had been part of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program. A State Department official said the department extended its deepest condolences to Sabika’s family and friends, and that David Hale, the ambassador to Pakistan, was reaching out to her family.

“As an exchange student, Sabika was a youth ambassador, a bridge between our peoples and cultures,” Hale said on Facebook on Saturday. “All of us at the U.S. Mission in Pakistan are devastated by and mourn her loss. We will honor her memory.”

Christopher Stone

At 17 years old, Christopher Stone was the baby of the family, the youngest of three siblings. But he still played the role of protector to his sisters, Angelica and Mercedez, as if he was the oldest, said his father, who is also named Christopher.

“Being a brother was his best job,” Stone said. “He was always there if someone needed someone to listen or some cheering up.”

Chris was adventurous beyond his years, the life of the party, up for any thrill. He hiked mountains in Colorado. Zip-lined in Alabama. Parasailed in Mexico.

He was a football player for Santa Fe High School. Not the biggest guy on the team, his father said, “but he had lots of heart.”

On Twitter, Chris’ friends mourned his death, remembering his easy charm and happy nature. At a quinceañera, one friend wrote, Chris danced up a storm. “We both had two left feet,” she wrote. “You were always smiling.”

Cynthia Tisdale

Tisdale, a teacher, was a member of Anchor Bible Baptist Church in Pharr, Texas, her family said.

John Tisdale, her brother-in-law, asked friends to pray for Cynthia Tisdale’s husband, the Rev. William Recie Tisdale, and their children.

“We never know when our death will come,” he wrote.

Kim Vaughan

Rhonda Hart wrote on Facebook that her daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, was one of the victims, a student in first-period art class.

She hashtagged her message with #fightforkim and #oneof10.

“Folks — call your damn senators. Call your congressmen,” she wrote. “We need GUN CONTROL. WE NEED TO PROTECT OUR KIDS.”