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Girl who survived Texas family shooting is "hero," grandfather says

The Stay family, victims of Wednesday's mass shooting in Spring, Texas.

Last Updated Jul 11, 2014 9:23 AM EDT

HOUSTON - The 15-year-old Texas girl who survived the slaughter of her family by playing dead is "our hero" for alerting authorities in time to prevent more killings, her grandfather said Thursday.

Cassidy Stay and her family were tied up and shot execution-style Wednesday in their home in Spring, a Houston suburb. Police say the shooter, Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, was the ex-husband of Cassidy's aunt.

When the Stays refused to tell Haskell where his ex-wife was, police say he shot them all. Only Cassidy survived.

The teen's head was grazed by a bullet. She pretended to be dead until the shooter left the house, then called 911, police said. Authorities said she was able to identify the attacker and warned police that he was looking for more members of the family.

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

Cassidy's parents, Stephen Stay, 39, and Katie Stay, 33, were killed along with their four younger children. Neighbors identified the children as Bryan, 13; Emily, 9; Rebecca,7, and Zach, 4, the Houston Chronicle said.

Cassidy, the eldest child, "is expected to make a full recovery," said Lyon, the father of Katie Stay.

He said the Stays were "an amazing and resilient family."

"They lived to help others, both at church and in their neighborhood. We love them beyond words," he said. "We are shocked and devastated by this tragedy that has taken these precious souls away from us."

A divorce decree issued in February shows Haskell and Melanie Kaye Haskell, Katie Stay's sister, were married in 2002 in Orange County, California. They separated in June 2013. A judge granted joint custody of the couple's four children, ranging in age from 3 to 11, with Haskell's wife getting primary custody.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story identified Ronald Lee Haskell as the ex-husband of Katie Stay, one of the victims. He is the ex-husband of Stay's sister, Melanie Kaye Haskell.

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