Christian Riley Garcia laid to rest, remembered as selfless hero
CROSBY, Texas (FOX 26) - Described as a courageous and noble young man, Christian Riley Garcia, 15, was laid to rest in Crosby on Friday. Riley was one of ten victims who died in the Santa Fe High School shooting on May 18. His friends, pastor and fellow classmates described Riley as a "hero," remembering him as the young man that sacrificed his life to stop the gunman and save others.
During the funeral service at Crosby Church, Pastor Keenan Smith said Riley truly exemplified heroism.
"He used courage in the face of fear," said Pastor Smith. "When evil tried to win, he said, 'Not on my watch.'"
In an honorary military presentation, members of the Crosby High School JROTC saluted the Garcia family, thanking Riley for his bravery and selflessness during the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School.
"He blocked the door, allowing others to escape," added Pastor Smith. "Not only that, but I think keeping the shooter there a little longer, so that he wasn't somewhere else either. Finally, the shooter shooting through the door and taking Riley's life."
Pastor Smith said it was evident that since he was a young boy, Riley's calling was to serve. His lifelong goal was to serve his country in the military, and even in the last moments of his life, Riley did not hesitate to continue living out his purpose.
"I thought it was so fitting that he didn't wait until some day to serve," said Smith. "He served on that day and he paid that supreme sacrifice for others."
While 15-year-old Riley's life may have been taken too soon, it was no doubt a life that many would consider extraordinary.
"It does hit a little more towards home when you see so much potential and so much value; and not just in his life, but in all those young people's lives," said Smith.
For everyone that loved Riley for his kindness and nobility, Pastor Smith said the only measure of peace, comes from knowing that Riley died doing what he loved best.
"He was just 15 years old," said Smith. "That kind of compassion, that kind of love. I think that challenges every one of us to be more like him. Riley was a hero in both life and death."
Following the funeral service, the casket was taken to Sterling White Cemetery in Highlands, Texas, where Riley was laid to rest.