Cassidy Stay, the only member of her family to survive a Texas shooting, thanked her community for their support Saturday. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala spoke with a family friend who is leading the effort to help the girl.
The 15-year-old girl who was the sole survivor of a deadly Texas shooting thanked her community for their support Saturday and said she has found comfort, knowing she'll see her family again.
Cassidy Stay survived the massacre that killed her four siblings and parents, who once lived in San Diego.
Authorities have said Ronald Lee Haskell, 33 of San Marcos, California, was searching for his ex-wife, Katie Stay's sister, when he came to the home in the northern Houston suburb of Spring, Texas.
He tied up the Stay family and put them face-down on the floor before shooting each in the back of the head, according to investigators.
The family had refused to say where Haskell could find his ex-wife.
The victims have been identified as Katie, 33, and Stephen Stay, 39; two boys ages 4 and 14, plus two girls ages 7 and 9, a Harris County Sheriff's Department official told the Associated Press.
All but 15-year-old Cassidy Stay died of their wounds.
On Friday, hospital officials reported that Cassidy was discharged in good condition and was expected to make a full recovery, NBC News reported.
Hundreds gathered in the quiet Houston suburb Saturday to mourn those killed and to celebrate the bravery of Cassidy, who called police and warned that her grandparents may be in danger.
Taking the stage herself, Cassidy thanked first responders and the hospital staff who took care of her.
She said she is on the path to healing and that she has found comfort.
"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," said Cassidy.
Hospital staffers were touched by Cassidy's "resilient spirit, inner strength, and hopeful heart."
A friend of the Stay's, Jody Dellinger, set up a Go Fund Me account to post prayers and thoughts and raise donations for Cassidy and other family members. The account has raised more than $223,000.
Dellinger told NBC 7 if donators can set Cassidy up for life, that's exactly what they're going to do.
A family friend who didn’t want to be identified told NBC 7 the pain of what happened to Katie and Stephen Stay is being felt thousands of miles away in the North County.
"It's surreal. It doesn't even seem like it's real,” the woman said.
"They were great people,” she said. “They were very family oriented."
Stephen and Katie Stay grew up in San Marcos and both attended San Marcos High School. Stephen Stay graduated from Cal State San Marcos and went on to launch his own real estate company.
“We were devastated, my ex-husband and I. It hit us hard. It's hit a lot of people in San Marcos hard that grew up with these girls,” said
The family friend shared a picture of the Stays taken in 1999 right after Cassidy was born.
“People need to pray for the poor girl,” the family friend said.
The community that is mourning the Stays is also learning another one of their own is the accused of killing the family.
NBC 7 has learned that in addition to the restraining order filed against Ron Haskell by his mother just six days before the shooting, he was charged with assault and family violence in Utah and received a probated sentence in 2008.
"I feel sorry for my neighbors. I mean I can't imagine that any of this was going to happen. I'm sure it's devastating to know your son has done anything like this,” said neighbor Nicole Whadford.