Wounded Teen Who Called Police After Family's Mass Murder Called a 'Hero'

Wounded Teen Who Called Police After Family's Mass Murder Called a 'Hero'
Tributes have been left at the Texas home where Cassidy Stay's family were shot and killed
David J. Phillip/AP

updated 07/11/2014 at 01:00 PM EDT

originally published 07/11/2014 05:45PM

A 15-year-old girl who was the lone survivor of a mass shooting of her family is being called a hero after she played dead and later called 911, likely saving the lives of her maternal grandparents.

Cassidy Stay was grazed in the head by a gunman's bullet but managed to contact police to warn them about Ron Lee Haskell, who had entered her family's home in Spring, Texas, on Wednesday and allegedly went on a shooting spree after they refused to tell him how to find his ex-wife, Stay's aunt, who had previously lived there, ABC News reports.

Haskell, who first attempted to enter the home dressed as a FedEx delivery driver – and later returned to kick the door in – allegedly shot and killed Stephen and Katy Stay and four of their children, ages 13 through 4. He wounded Cassidy who pretended she was dead as he tied the family up and headed off to find her maternal grandparents.

Officers, however, got to her grandparents' home first and, after a standoff, captured Haskell, who has been charged with capital murder. He collapsed in a Texas courtroom Friday as charges were read against him. Stay, who sustained a fractured skull, is expected to fully recover as her family honors her strength amid such tragedy.

"We are in awe of her bravery and courage in calling 911, an act that is likely to have saved all of our lives," said her maternal grandfather Roger Lyon in a statement. "She is our hero."

Police also credited Stay's quick thinking with stopping the gunman's violent rampage.

"The surviving victim was able to provide first-responders with information regarding Haskell's whereabouts," a sheriff's office spokesman told ABC News. "They blocked Haskell's car by ramming it with a pair of armored vehicles, and he surrendered after a three-hour standoff."

Stay has remained courageous and thoughtful as her grandparents support her through her loss and injuries.

Her paternal grandmother, Joyce Stay, told KABC after the two spoke by phone: "I said I was so sorry about everything that's happened but I am so thankful you are still here with us," Joyce told her granddaughter. "But she said, 'My mom and dad are in a better place.' "

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