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One by one, police escorted the students back into the classrooms they fled when the shooting started. Some returned to pick up their cars.
Republican Congressman Randy Weber, whose district includes Santa Fe, told reporters the shooting was the second tragedy this small community has experienced in less than a year.
“We had Hurricane Harvey end of last August, and now this,” Weber said with a sigh. “We will pull together, we will grieve together, we will love one another, we’ll work together.”
School district officials said students and staff will need support as they process their emotions from the tragedy. They asked for prayers, and for the public to give the victims and their families privacy as they mourn.
Officials said they couldn’t discuss the ongoing investigation into the shooting, but Santa Fe I.S.D. (Independent School District) Police Chief Walter Braun recounted how two officers engaged the suspected shooter “right away.”
“Our officers went in there and did what they could,” he said. “They did what they’re trained for and went in immediately.”
Braun said his officers have been “resilient” throughout the ordeal. “I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet, as to allowing the emotions to take control,” he said.
Santa Fe Independent School District says all schools will be closed through at least Tuesday. Meanwhile, part of Santa Fe High School remains off-limits because of the investigation. The American Red Cross has set up a local crisis center for families and students that need emotional help, food and other services.