‘Stay strong,’ says 15-year-old survivor of Houston-area shooting

Los Angeles TimesJuly 12, 2014 

— The 15-year-old lone survivor of a shooting at a suburban Houston home that left her parents and four siblings dead spoke tearfully at a memorial service for her family Saturday, saying they were “in a much better place.”

Cassidy Stay thanked first-responders, the community and hospital staff who cared for her after she was wounded in the shooting and urged listeners to “stay strong” during a service at Lemm Elementary School in Spring, Texas.

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light,” Cassidy said in televised comments, quoting Hogwarts Professor Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books.

Tearing up, Cassidy said she knew that her parents, two brothers and two sisters “are in a much better place” and that she would “be able to see them again one day.”

Cassidy was discharged in good condition from Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital on Friday and is expected to make a full recovery.

Ronald Lee Haskell – accused of killing Cassidy’s parents, Katie and Stephen, and siblings, whose ages ranged from 4 to 14 – collapsed Friday morning in court, where he faced murder charges.

Haskell showed up at the Stay home Wednesday looking for his estranged wife, Melannie Lyon, the sister of Katie Stay, police say. When Cassidy refused to open the door, Haskell broke it down and tied up the children until their parents arrived, police said.

After they got home, the parents were also tied up, police said.

When the family didn’t tell him where his estranged wife was, he shot each of them in the back of the head, police said.

Cassidy has been hailed a heroine for playing dead after she was shot, then calling 911 after Haskell left. When authorities arrived she identified Haskell as the attacker and told them that he planned to attack other relatives.

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