Families Return to Santa Fe High School to Collect Belongings

Heartache started to set in Saturday for those in Santa Fe and the surrounding areas, but the community is stepping up to meet victims' needs.

Saturday, buses brought people back to the scene of the shooting that left 10 people dead and 13 injured.

Officials escorted parents, students and staff, one by one, inside Santa Fe High School to retrieve the personal items they left behind Friday when they ran for their lives.

By 1 p.m. Saturday, officials said 50 people had been admitted.

The process played out in front of well-wishers who left flowers and stuffed animals on the edge of the school grounds. The campus remained blocked off Saturday.

"You don't send them to learn how to defend themselves you send them to learn," Georgia Garza, whose daughter is a student at the school, said.

Garza said her daughter, Cassie, was at school when the shooting happened.

Cassie’s tutor and substitute teacher Cynthia Tisdale didn't survive.

"She [Cassie] says I'm not good at chemistry. I'm not good at math, but Mrs. Tisdale made it possible for me to understand," Garza said through tears.

Since the shooting, hundreds of people across the Houston area have lined up to give blood at donation drives in honor of the victims.

Many supporters shared their feelings visually, by lowering flags to half-staff or by posting roadside signs to "Pray for Santa Fe."

Sandy and Lonnie Phillips said they have seen the aftermath of a mass shooting far too often.

Their daughter Jessi Ghawi died in the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, which killed 12 and injured 70.

"Since then we've been to nine mass shootings," Sandy Phillips said. "That this is a generation that has been hiding in closets and behind desks their entire school lives makes me sick."

The Phillips now travel the country to console survivors of mass shootings, each time hoping the latest tragedy is the last.

Classes at Santa Fe ISD are canceled through at least Tuesday, with graduation scheduled for June 1.

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