TEXAS: Houston’s Muslim community gathered to offer prayers on Sunday at the funeral service for a 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student killed in a mass shooting at her southeast Texas high school.

About 1,000 people, many with Pakistani roots converged on an Islamic center in Stafford to honor Sabika Sheikh, whose body was brought by hearse to the somber service from Santa Fe, the nearby small rural town where a student murdered 10 people including eight students.

Among the mourners was the late teen’s first cousin who lives in the United States. She said Sheikh’s relatives are completely devastated.

“The family back home, we are in touch with them. They’re crying every moment. Her mother is in denial right now,” Shaheera al-Basid, a graduate student in the US capital Washington, told a local wire service at the funeral service.

“It’s a shock we need our entire life to recover from,” the 26-year-old added.

Men lined up in rows offered mourning prayers as Sheikh’s coffin, draped in the green and white flag of Pakistan, was brought into a small, cramped sanctuary.

Sheikh had been due to return home in mere weeks, in time for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramazan.—INP