Los Angeles

‘We Are Broken': Families Remember Saugus High School Shooting Victims at Vigil

The brother of a 15-year-old Gracie Muehlberger shared memories of his sister and the way she always made him smile

Family members of the two students killed when a classmate opened fire at  Saugus High School shared memories of the teens Sunday night at a candlelight vigil.

Thousands of people, many wearing the school colors of blue and silver, listened to heartbreaking tributes, including those shared by the brother of 15-year-old Gracie Anne Muehlberger. Riley Muehlberger talked about his sister's birthday party and how she would talk to him about school.

"You always put a smile on my face," Muehlberger said. "I watched you grow up more and more every day. You said you looked up to me when I graduated from Saugus."

Gracie, 15, and 14-year-old Dominic Blackwell were killed Thursday morning by a classmate who had just turned 16. They were shot by a classmate who pulled a handgun from his backpack and opened fire in the campus' outdoor quad area. Three other students were injured.

Angie Davidson, Dominic's aunt, said his death has devastated the family. Davidson was surrounded by other family members, several who were crying, as she spoke at Central Park.

"He's gone forever. We are broken," Davidson said. "Please remember the two precious lives that we lost."

Dominic was an ROTC student at Saugus HS. Two of his fellow ROTC cadets remembered him as a fun-loving and helpful classmate.

Saugus Principal Vince Perry told the crowd at the vigil that the event was a moment to grieve.

"We are here to grieve the loss of two teenagers, two friends, two students, two siblings and two children," he said

Joann Garcia said she came to the vigil at Central Park shaken but determined to help the community heal from the shooting at Saugus High School.

"It's very hard. We thought that this would never happen here. It has affected everybody," she said. "We are all uniting."

Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean touched on the theme of the vigil in her remarks. "Tonight and every day we are Saugus strong," she said.

Saugus High School will remain closed until Dec. 2, but counselors will be available to help students cope with their grief, said school district officials in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita. On Sunday, therapy dogs visited Central Park, which was used in the hours after the shooting as reunification point for families and students.

A wounded 14-year-old girl was released from the hospital late Friday. A 15-year-old girl remained hospitalized in good condition. A 14-year-old boy was treated and released Thursday.

Detectives were searching for a motive for the killings. The shooter shot five students at random before shooting himself in the head. He died the next day.

After more than 40 interviews and a search of his home, authorities still were in the dark, Capt. Kent Wegener of the Sheriff's Department's homicide unit said at a news conference Friday.

"We did not find any manifesto, any diary that spelled it out, any suicide note or any writings," he said.

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