Many people in Taft gather for prayer vigil

Taft community staying strong after shooting

TAFT, Calif. -  

A citywide prayer in Taft brought many people together, a day after the small community was rocked by a high school shooting that left one student seriously injured.    


Seth Faagau is staying strong for his classmates, his family, and his community.


“It was shocking, who would have ever imagined that this could happen in Taft?” he said.


Faagau is among the students inside that Taft High School classroom where investigators say a 16-year-old gunman began shooting.


“I was thinking, I was going to get shot. I thought I was going to get shot, but thank God I didn’t. The best I could do is tried to get up and help while the shooter was still in front of the class.  He could have killed me too. But he didn’t.”


Many Taft High School students and their parents, all gathered for a citywide prayer, calling for the violence to end.


“We believe that healing needs to come quickly so, we’ve come out to be a support to the local church here and to see what we can do to bring hope,” said Ray Ballard who helped organize the prayer vigil.


The list of speakers included former students, several parents and teachers who made themselves available for any young person who feels they need someone to talk to about anything.


“Yes, this happened in our community but it doesn’t have to be a negative.  It could be a positive.  I really believe this is an opportunity for Taft to make a difference,” said grandparent Kay Sullivan.


Area veterans are also coming together for the community.  A group called Veterans Against School Shootings is forming and plan to stand post at Taft High School on Tuesday when the students are expected to return to class.


“I really think this event is going to bring our community closer and I think it’s going to bring our school a lot closer and I think it’s going to show everybody that we’re a strong community and we can pull through this,” said student Makenzie Thornsberry.


The group of veterans also plan to stand post at other schools in Taft and the surrounding area.


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