April Salinas, others from the right, her daughters Meah, 1
SANTA FE, Texas – Congregations in this deep religious community near Houston gathered Sunday for their first worship services since a teenager with shotguns broke into a gymnasium's classroom and killed 10 people – eight students and two teachers.
Dayspring church, where one of the slain students Angelique Ramirez participated in services, provided a licensed advisor for members who needed to talk about the death.
"Our goal as a church is to offer hope and healing as we understand only comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ, said senior pastor Brad Drake.
Church leaders had green T-shirts with gold letters – the colors of Santa Fe High School – spelled out a verse from the Corinthians in an overview of the state of Texas: "we are hard pressed on all sides but not crushed; confused, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but did not destroy. "
" Ramirez was a member of the Church Ministry of Youth, said Drake.
"She was a sweet young lady, had a style all her own," he said. "She almost always had a new haircut."
In the The first baptist church in Arcadia hugged Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sad congregations when they arrived. Among them was Monica Bracknell, an 18-year-old senior who survived shooting. She stopped telling the governor that the attack would not be turned into a political battle on gun control
Surrounded by television cameras, photographers and reporters, she said that Abbott weapons would not blame.
"People make this a political question," she said she told him. "This is not a political issue. It's not a weapon question. "
It was not the first time believing Santa Fe has been tested with the whole country to watch. In 2000, the city was 13,000 people at the center of a landmark US Supreme Court ruling prohibiting students from leading pregame prayer over speakers.  The court ruled 6-3 that the school district's policy to allow student-led prayers at campuses violated constitutionally required separation of church and state. Justices said giving the students a public forum for prayer was effective sponsorship of the message.
Even Sunday, Texas demanded Lt. Gov . Then Patrick a "hardening" of the nation's school buildings in the wake of the attack by a 17-year-old student who killed 10 people at high school near Houston.
Patrick, a republic, blamed for a "violence culture" saying that more must be done for to keep shooters from students, such as restricting school entrance and armor teachers.
"When you face someone who is a Active shooter is the best way to take the shooter down with a gun. But even better than there are four to five guns to one, he told CNN's "Union State".
At ABC's "Week", Patrick said he supports background checks for gunmen but stressed that "gun rules start at home."
The first funeral of a shooter was set on Sunday. Services for the 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student Sabika Sheikh would take place in a mosque in suburban Houston.
Her father, Abdul Aziz Sheikh, described her daughter as an accomplished student who sought to work in civil servants and hoped one day to join the Pakistani Foreign Ministry. Her body will be returned to her family in Karachi.
The suspect on Friday's attack started by shooting a shotgun through an art class door, crushing a glass window and sending panic students to the entrance to prevent him from entering, the witnesses said.
Dmitrios Pagourtzis fired again through the wooden part of the door and badly struck a student in his chest. He then stayed for about 30 minutes in a four-room warren, killing seven more students and two teachers before replacing a shot with police and abandoning officials said.
Newman Abel San Miguel saw his friend Chris Stone killed at the door. San Miguel was buried on his left shoulder by another volley of shot. He and others survived by playing dead.
"We were on the ground, all put up in random positions," he said.
Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, the county's chief administrator, said he did not believe Friday's attack was a 30-minute constant shooting, and that assessment was consistent with other officials who said law enforcement contained the shooter quickly. But the authorities did not release a detailed timeline to explain exactly how the events evolved.
In his first statement since the massacre, Pagourtzi's family said on Saturday that the bloodshed "seems incompatible with the boy we love".
"We are so shocked and confused as any of these events," said the statement, which offered prayers and compassion to the victims.
Relatives said they remained "mostly in the dark of specific" of the attack and shared "the public's hunger for response."
The 17-year-old suspect has been imprisoned for murder charges. His lawyer, Nicholas Poehl, said he was investigating whether his client excluded any "teacher-on-student" bullying after reading reports of Pagourtzis being abused by football coaches.
In an online statement, the school district said the charges were investigated and "confirmed that these reports were unpleasant".
Poehl said there was no history of psychological problems with his client, although there may be "some signs of family history". He said it was too early to elaborate. 19659035] ___
Associated Presswriter Paul J. Weber contributed to this report.
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