Mourners honor Pakistani student killed in Santa Fe High School shooting

The Texas community rocked by Friday’s mass school shooting that killed eight students and two teachers came together to celebrate the life of Sabika Sheikh, a 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student who had been studying in the U.S. through a State Department-sponsored program. 

Mourners, including her host family, the mayor of Houston and Santa Fe High School classmates, gathered at a local mosque on Sunday for the first funeral for those who were slain. 

“I always told her, ‘Sabika, you have a warrior’s heart,’” Joleen Cogburn, Sheikh’s host mother, tearfully told the crowd. Her host father, Jason Cogburn, told mourners how much they loved and cared for Sabika

Just weeks from completing her school year and returning home, Sabika had dreams of one day working as a diplomat to help her country, her father Aziz Sheikh told Reuters. He spoke of how grateful she was to be studying in America.

These are the victims of the Santa Fe shooting: 

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Victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting
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Victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting
Cynthia Tisdale 

Cynthia's brother-in-law posted on Facebook that she "planned on one day retiring and being a full-time grandmother."

(Photo: John Tisdale/Facebook)

This is Sabika, she’s a friend of ours and she’s an exchange student from Pakistan. Today, she was killed in the sc… https://t.co/oPGdU29Apx
A tough update to bring you. @abc13houston has learned Chris Stone was one of the students killed at Santa Fe High… https://t.co/jfGERVXh4s
Family confirms this is Angelique Ramirez, one of several people killed in the shooting at Santa Fe High School. 💔… https://t.co/wm2p2bG30V
Shana Fisher’s aunt Candi Thurman confirmed on Twitter her niece didn’t survive the shooting
The family of Kyle McLeod, a student at Santa Fe High School, confirmed to ABC News that the young man was killed during the shooting.
Kim Vaughn’s mother, Rhonda Hart, said in a Facebook post earlier Friday that her daughter was in first-period art class at the time of the shooting. Her family later confirmed to ABC News that she had died.
Jared Black had just turned 17 the week he was killed. His birthday party had been planned for Saturday, but now his parents must make arrangements for his funeral.
Substitute teacher Ann Perkins was one of two adults killed in the shooting. She was often affectionately referred to as “Grandma Perkins,” CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
Christian Garcia, 15, loved riding Jet Skis and night fishing with his family, The Washington Post reported.
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“Sabika’s case should become an example to change the gun laws,” her father added. “I want this to become a base on which the people over there can stand and pass a law to deal with this. I’ll do whatever I can.”

He learned of her death from turning on the television after iftar, the meal Muslims eat to break the daily Ramadan fast, he told The Associated Press. He had been calling and messaging her without a reply.

The assumption that life is America is safe and secure is clearly untrue, he said. Attacks in the U.S., he noted, are “rampant.”

Abdul Khatri, one of the mosque’s worshippers, agreed. “People come here because they are told there is peace here,” he told The Washington Post. “You have the right to be protected here. It’s why I came. But to have this happen not in India or Pakistan, but here? We have gotten off track. And it’s been going on too long.”

Other local congregations paid their respects to school shooting victims on Sunday as well. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) attended morning prayers at a Baptist church near Santa Fe High school, during which the pastor, the Rev. Jerl Watkins, blamed the shooting on a Godless, technology-obsessed society. 

“It seems to me, since the 1960s in this country, we’ve begun to think technology and other things can replace our God, and we’ve taken God out of the schools, and social media has taken togetherness out of the family,” Watkins said. “Many of these video games and movies our children are exposed to on a daily basis is all about thrill and killing and destruction. We’ve slaughtered millions of unborn children for the sake of convenience, and we twisted the sanctity of morality.”

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said he plans to pay for all 10 funerals, describing the massacre as “absolutely horrific.”

Sabika’s body will be flown to Pakistan for a traditional burial.

The investigation of the shooter’s motivation continues. The governor said the suspect wrote in a journal about carrying out a shooting and then committing suicide. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

25 PHOTOS
Aftermath of deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas
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Aftermath of deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas
SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: Friends and family attend a vigil held at the First Bank in Santa Fe for the victims of a shooting incident at Santa Fe High School where a shooter killed at least 10 students on May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High school. Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Students embrace during a vigil held at the Texas First Bank after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
A young boy prays during a vigil held at the Texas First Bank after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
People during a vigil held at the Texas First Bank after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
People gather in prayer during a vigil held at the Texas First Bank after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: Friends and family attend a vigil held at the First Bank in Santa Fe for the victims of a shooting incident at Santa Fe High School where a shooter killed at least 10 students on May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High school. Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Two young girls pray during a vigil held at the Texas First Bank after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
People console each other during a vigil held after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during a press conference about the shooting incident at Santa Fe High School May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High school. Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Young girls place a rose on a table during vigil held at the Texas First Bank after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
Associate Pastor Clint Detroot (C) of Dominion Church, speaks as Texas Governor Greg Abbott (L) and Texas Senator Ted Cruz join mourners during a vigil held at the Texas First Bank after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
Students light candles during a vigil held after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
Mourners bow their heads in prayer during a vigil held after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
Pastor Lucas Campbell (C) of Santa Fe Baptist Church speaks as Texas Governor Greg Abbott (L) and Texas Senator Ted Cruz join mourners during a vigil held at the Texas First Bank after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
People gather during a vigil held at the Texas First Bank after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
People gather with candles during a vigil held after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
People gather with candles during a vigil held after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Trish Badger
SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: Texas Governor Greg Abbott holds hands with family and friends at a vigil held at the First Bank in Santa Fe for the victims of a shooting incident at Santa Fe High School where a shooter killed at least 10 students on May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High school. Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: Friends and family attend a vigil held at the First Bank in Santa Fe for the victims of a shooting incident at Santa Fe High School where a shooter killed at least 10 students on May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High school. Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: A bible,; rose and a candle sit on a table during a vigil held at the First Bank in Santa Fe for the victims of a shooting incident at Santa Fe High School where a shooter killed at least 10 students on May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High school. Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: Friends and family attend a vigil held at the First Bank in Santa Fe for the victims of a shooting incident at Santa Fe High School where a shooter killed at least 10 students on May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High school. Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: Friends and family attend a vigil held at the First Bank in Santa Fe for the victims of a shooting incident at Santa Fe High School where a shooter killed at least 10 students on May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High school. Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: Friends and family attend a vigil held at the First Bank in Santa Fe for the victims of a shooting incident at Santa Fe High School where a shooter killed at least 10 students on May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High school. Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: Friends and family attend a vigil held at the First Bank in Santa Fe for the victims of a shooting incident at Santa Fe High School where a shooter killed at least 10 students on May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High school. Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: Dr. Leigh Wall, Superintendent of the Santa Fe school district speaks during a vigil held at the First Bank in Santa Fe for the victims of a shooting incident at Santa Fe High School where a shooter killed at least 10 students on May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. At least 10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High school. Police arrested a student suspect and detained a second person. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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