Christian Riley Garcia, who died in the Santa Fe High School shooting last week, is being hailed a hero, as he died trying to protect fellow students from the armed assailant.
Last Friday, a shooter later identified as another student opened fire at Santa Fe High School, killing 1o people and leaving at least 13 others wounded.
Chaos took over the school as students ran for their lives, and their worst nightmare came to life right in front of their eyes.
Christian Riley Garcia, 15, did not run from the shooter, but instead braced a door shut, trying to help other students get out of the school alive.
According to Riley’s pastor, Keenan Smith, Riley was a young, fun-loving kid, who loved helping others. He was a typical 15-year-old who loved playing football and spent as much time being outdoors as possible.
Pastor Smith said that Riley was a hero at his church before he died that day protecting his classmates. He was well-loved by everyone in the congregation and was constantly trying to help others in need.
Pastor Smith said that he was with Riley’s parents when they were notified. They were told that Riley died trying to save others around him.
“He was holding a door shut so that he could protect other students that were there,” Smith told KTRK-TV.
“He lost his life when a gunshot came through the door. [The gunshot] took his life but, in the sacrifice of his own life, others were allowed to escape and had some time to get away. We know there were several lives lost but his story is a story of true heroism. He gave himself so others would have a chance,” Smith said.
“That’s a tough one of course,” he added. “You’re honored by that. As the news came in to his mother, I was with her. She broke, of course as you can imagine. Thinking that but yet also proud of her son that he thought outside of himself but also wanting to hold her baby. It’s a difficult thing. At 15 years old, that’s not what you’re supposed to give your life doing.”
Riley’s home church held a prayer vigil at the church Monday at 7 p.m. to pray for Riley’s family and other victims of the mass shooting.