Pakistani exchange student among Texas school shooting victims

J.J. Watt offers to pay for Santa Fe funerals

Pakistani exchange student among Texas school shooting victims

Funeral prayers are offered for Pakistani exchange student Sabika Sheikh, who was killed in the Santa Fe High School shooting, during a service at the Brand Lane Islamic Center Sunday, May 20, 2018, in Stafford, Texas.

The girl's classmate, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, armed with a shotgun and a revolver, opened fire in the school premises. But here there was no incident expect for one, at an army school.

Sheikh was a part of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has arrived at Arcadia First Baptist Church in Santa Fe, where he hugged grieving parishioners reeling two days after a teenage gunman killed 10 people in his high school.

Jaelyn told the mourners that she had been homeschooled up until this year and when she enrolled at Santa Fe High School, Sabika, who had yet to move into the Cogburn home, was the first friend she made.

"We were on the ground, all piled up in random positions", he said.

Tension descended over the entire home situated in Gulshan-e-Iqbal neighbourhood of Karachi. She wasn't returning his calls and neither were her friends.

Sheikh mustered courage and called Sabika's host parents in the U.S. who received the call and were crying.

"Once the scene was somewhat secure I was contacted by my father who could not get reach my mom", Recie said.

"She was the most handsome, loving person I've ever met", said Jaelyn Cogburn, whose family took in Sabika six months ago as part of the Youth Exchange and Study program sponsored by the U.S. Their country's Co-coordinator Farah S Kamal also refused to comment on the issue when approached by The Express Tribune.

American Councils for International Education Program Manager Megan Lysaght in a letter to the YES program students said, "It is with the greatest sadness in my heart that one of our YES students, Sabika Sheikh of Pakistan [is no more] ..." Cynthia and her grandaughter often met up in the mornings, said Recie, who is a League City police detective who responded to the shooting scene shortly after it had been neutralized. "We will have a moment of silence in her memory today". "YES also has "Religious Advisors" if preferred".

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The Embassy in Pakistan has confirmed that the foreign exchange student died.

"She has been like family in her stay here, attending baby showers, bridal showers and wedding with us".

"The other night we were going to our friend's house in a vehicle and I was thinking about how she was about to go back to Pakistan and I was crying".

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Sabika's family and friends", Pakistani ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said. "Vivacious", the family said.

Sabika was fond of reading love stories. "We all loved our mother very much". Two teachers, Glenda Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale, 64, were also killed. The side tables are cleaned and the bedsheet properly tucked as if she is coming back tomorrow.

Tisdale's niece, Leia Olinde, said Tisdale was like a mother to her and helped her shop for wedding dresses past year. Her family in Pakistan says they are mourning the loss of the other students and unable to come to terms with how and why this could happen.

The father and the daughter daily used to talk over the phone.

She had been staying with a host family in the Santa Fe area.

She said Tisdale was married to her husband for close to 40 years and that they had three children and eight grandchildren. No one is able to console him.

"I called her but she did not reply". Her mother, Rhonda Hart, announced on Facebook that her daughter was one of the children who did not make it.

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