SANTA FE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Residents of Santa Fe, Texas gathered Friday evening for emotional support after a deadly school shooting that killed 10 and injured 10 others.
In a press conference Friday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed 10 people died and 10 others were injured after the suspect opened fire inside Santa Fe High School.
One student who witnessed the gunfire said she went to the vigil to comfort others. But she found herself breaking down as the reality of what happened set in.
The hymns and candles were too much for junior Lauren Severin, who couldn’t grasp the true loss of her friends and a teacher until she attended Friday night’s vigil.
“I didn’t believe it at first, and I couldn’t comprehend it and when we came out here, it was like ‘wow, it really happened,'” said Severin.
She and hundreds of others stood silent and still stunned that a school shooting happened in their small town of only 13,000.
“Most everybody here knows somebody who was touched by this incident,” said Santa Fe Mayor Jeff Trambella.
“We want answers. I want answers. And I’m confident that our law enforcement professionals working this case will provide them in due time,” said Santa Fe Superintendent Dr. Leigh Wall.
Local pastors and state politicians offered words of sympathy.
“The entire state of Texas embraces you, supports you and prays for this entire community,” said Abbott.
But students who survived Texas’ worst school shooting wonder how they will get past their grief.
“I’m going to be fine. I… just feel like it’s never gonna go back to normal. We are going to have it in the back of our minds,” said Severin. “It’s going to be weird to go back to school and see empty desks.”
Severin witnessed the gunfire and knows how fortunate she was to escape.
“I saw the glass shatter, the windows. And I kept hearing gunshots,” said Severin. “I just don’t understand how it’s okay for them to die…”
Severin said she shared a first-period class with the suspect, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, and doesn’t understand why he chose an art class as his target.