Two middle school students in Texas were shot, one fatally, as they walked home from school together, police and relatives said.
Lauren Landavazo, 13, was killed in the shooting Friday, while her 13-year-old best friend Makayla Smith was hospitalized in stable condition, according to authorities.
A 20-year-old man named Kody Lott was arrested Sunday and has allegedly confessed to opening fire on the girls, although his motive is unclear, the Wichita Falls Police Department said in a statement.
Landavazo and Smith were going down an alley after school when they were attacked, KAUZ reports. Landavazo was mourned at a local candlelight vigil Sunday night.
“I was saying a prayer earlier today and asking her to come and help support me,” her father Vern Landavazo said, according to the news station. “And then I realized I don’t have to do that. She’s already here. She’s already what’s helping me stay strong.”
Wichita Falls Independent School District Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said in a statement that the girls attended McNiel Middle School. “As a district, we are saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved,” Kuhrt said.
An online fundraising page set up to help pay for Lauren Landavazo’s funeral has garnered more than $9,800.
The organizer behind the GoFundMe account described the slain teenager as an “angel and beautiful child” who did not get the “chance to experience life.” “She would light up the room with her smile that never left her face,” the page says. “She was loved by everyone. She was energetic, smart, caring, fun loving, and overall an angel. The world will not be the same without her.”
Lott faces multiple charges, including murder, aggravated assault and prohibited weapon, police said. Police pulled him over Sunday after seeing that the vehicle he was driving matched a description of the shooter’s car. Information on his lawyer was not immediately available.