Cassidy Stay is the 15-year-old lone survivor of a massacre that left her parents and four siblings dead, and on Saturday the brave teen stepped forward to thank the community.
Speaking at a “celebration of life” gathering at Lemm Elementary School in Spring, Texas, Stay quoted from Harry Potter to find the positive in the tragedy.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,” Stay told those gathered to remember the family.
Cassidy Stay has been called a hero after surviving the tragedy this week. According to CBS News, Cassidy was at her family home in when her former uncle, Ronald Lee Haskell, pretended to deliver a package and then gained entry to the home.
Haskell reportedly asked all five children along with their two parents to lie on the floor, then demanded to know where his former wife, Katie Stay’s sister, was staying. After telling Haskell that they did not know, he allegedly shot all seven members in the back of the head.
But Cassidy Haskell was only grazed by the bullet, and played dead until Haskell left. She then called 911, warning police that Haskell was coming for her grandparents next.
Police were able to intercept Haskell, capturing him after a nearly four-hour standoff.
“We are in awe of her bravery and courage in calling 911, an act that is likely to have saved all of our lives. She is our hero,” said Roger Lyon, her maternal grandfather.
Roger said Cassidy’s selflessness undoubtedly saved lives.
“Without her courage and quick thinking, we might be mourning the deaths of 20 people today, including us, and nearly all of our children and grandchildren,” Lyons said.
Cassidy Stay is now out of the hospital and starting her recovery process. On Saturday she was embraced by community members, who released 600 balloons, 100 for each of the people killed.
“We’re here as a community to show support,” said Rachel Petrovich, who works at the school where the memorial was held.
Cassidy herself spoke, telling those gathered that she has faith that she will see her family again one day.
“I know that my mom, dad, Bryan, Emily, Becca and Zach are in a much better place and that I’ll be able to see them again one day,” she said.
Cassidy Stay is expected to make a full recovery from her injuries.