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15-Year-Old Sole Shooting Survivor: “Stay Strong!”

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HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) - Mourners released hundreds of balloons in Houston in honor of the family gunned down in their home in Spring, Texas on Wednesday.

They also heard a message of encouragement from 15-year-old Cassidy Stay, the lone survivor of the shooting, who was released from the hospital Friday.

“Thank you all for coming and showing your support for me and my family. Stay strong,” Stay said as she held her arm in the air with her fingers forming the “I love you” sign.

Stay suffered a skull fracture and lost part of a finger trying to protect herself from the gun shots. She survived the shootings by playing dead after her ex-uncle broke into her family’s home and killed both of her parents and all four of her siblings. Saturday, she spoke for the first time since being released from the hospital, quoting Harry Potter.

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. I know that my mom, dad, Bryan, Emily, Becca, and Zack are in a much better place and that I will be able to see them again one day.

The man accused in the family’s death is 33-year-old Ronald Lee Haskell, who appeared in a Harris County courtroom Friday. He’s accused of breaking into the family’s home while searching for his ex wife- then shooting them. Haskell collapsed twice in court as the six capital murder charges were read. He had to be removed from the proceeding in a wheelchair.

While police credit stay for calling 9-1-1 after Haskell left her home and thwarting another potential shooting spree, on Saturday she just wanted to thank the community.

“I’m really thankful for all the people that have been praying for and keeping me and my family in their thoughts the past couple of days. And I’d like to thank all the first responders, nurses and doctors that have taken care of me. I’m feeling a lot better and I’m on a very straightforward path to a full recovery.”

The speech ended with the release of 600 balloons — 100 for each of the victims.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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