SPRING, Tex. (CBS) — The lone survivor of a mass killing in a Houston suburb that took the lives of her parents and siblings thanked her supporters Saturday at a public memorial for her relatives.
“I’m feeling a lot better,” said Cassidy Stay, “and I’m on a straightforward path to a full recovery.”
She spoke to a crowd of cheering hundreds at the memorial at Lemm Elementary School in Spring, where her siblings had attended, CBS affiliate KHOU-TV reports.
“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.
Her grandfather, Roger Lyon, is calling Stay a hero for the actions she took, which likely saved the rest of her relatives.
“We might be mourning the deaths of 20, yes I said 20, people today,” Lyon said, “including myself and nearly all of our children and grandchildren.”
Attendees at the program released 100 balloons in memory of the victims of the shooting. “Stay strong,” she encouraged the crowd.
Stay, 15, was an intended victim of accused gunman Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, but survived when a bullet fired at her only grazed her head. The rest of her family was murdered execution style in their home Wednesday. Killed in the shooting were parents Katie, 33, and Stephen Stay, 39, and their two boys, ages 4 and 14; and two girls, ages 7 and 9.
Haskell had once been married to Stay’s aunt, Melanie Kaye Haskell. Police say he had become angered that he could not find his ex-wife, who had fled to Texas from Utah to get away from him. Prosecutors say Haskell, who had a history of domestic abuse, forced his way into the home of his former sister-in-law and held them hostage until their parents arrived, then tied them all up and opened fire.
Once Haskell left, Stay called police and told them what happened and warned them that he had planned to attack her grandparents next. After a short chase, Haskell was cornered and arrested, police say.
Meanwhile, Haskell’s court-appointed attorney is planning an insanity defense, KHOU reports. The alleged gunman fainted twice during a hearing Friday.
“He’s scared. I think he has a limited mental capacity of what’s going on and I think that’s another thing I need to explore in terms of competency,” the attorney, Doug Durham said.