'He died a man': Sister of Santa Fe HS shooting victim advocates for safer schools

By Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter

SANTA FE, Texas - As another school year comes to a close at Santa Fe High School, with it comes a painful memory: Last year's shooting that claimed the lives of eight students and two teachers.

The sister of Chris Stone, one of the shooting victims, opened up recently about her mission of courage and change in the wake of tragedy. She's fighting for safer schools.

Mercedez Stone, 20, will always remember her baby brother as a hero. Chris Stone was 17 when he was killed.

'The definition of Chris'

"Everybody in that closet was doing everything they could to block that door," Stone said. "That's almost the definition of Chris. He was a very selfless, loving man. He died a man."

When the lone student gunman fired shots into an art room on May 18, 2018, Chris Stone was one of 10 who was killed.

Mercedez Stone isn't remembering her brother for his death, though. She says he lives on in many ways.

"He looks just like my dad when he was younger," Stone said. "He was very adventurous and very fun-loving."

He even lives on through the stories of strangers. One woman told Mercedez Stone that Chris stood up for her son who was being bullied.

Strong faith

The Santa Fe High School junior-varsity center was giant but gentle. His sister says he was a steadfast protector with strong faith.

"Soon after the shooting, we found this (a Bible) and it spoke to us in, like, volumes," Stone said.

Chris Stone's Bible has the word 'courage' at the top. The holy verses lent his family the words and strength to create "Chris. Courage. Change," an organization aimed to help make schools safer.

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"Two weeks after (the Santa Fe shooting) I was calling Parkland, I was calling Virginia Tech, I was calling Columbine. I was asking them, 'What procedures do you have in place?'" Mercedez Stone said.

Fighting for change

Mercedez Stone said she won't stop fighting to get answers and trying to make the world a better place. After all, she says, it's what her brother would have wanted.

"I don't want other kids having to go through what Chris went through," Mercedez Stone said.

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