Christmas holidays somber for families of Santa Fe High School shooting victims

SANTA FE, Texas (KTRK) -- Ten families are spending the holidays without their loved ones, seven months after a mass shooting at Santa Fe High School.

At Rhonda Hart's home, the tree is up, and ornaments are in place. But it doesn't feel much like Christmas.

"Later on down the road, we want to get her a separate tree, like a white tree, and fill it with her ornaments and Harry Potter things," Rhonda said. "I just haven't found that tree yet."

Hart's daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, was killed in the Santa Fe School shooting. She was 14 years old.

"She was shot four times. Twice with the shotgun and twice with the revolver," Rhonda said. "The first blast from the shotgun hit her in the tummy and the bullets exploded and took out her liver, spleen, a lung, a heart, and most of her intestines."

After Kimberly's death, the family moved out of Santa Fe.
Rhonda, who used to be a bus driver for Santa Fe ISD, hasn't driven a bus since the school shooting. She now home schools her 11-year-old son, Tyler.

Tyler's job this holiday season is taking care of his deceased sister's elf.

"What about the extra stocking and all this stuff? We don't know what to do with it and Kim's not there," he said. "She's not there to cheer me up for Christmas."

For this family, Christmas isn't the joyous season it once was. But, some memories still bring them gratitude.
"Sometimes we would sneak out at night and shake the presents," Tyler said suddenly.

As she stared at her daughter's homemade ornaments, Rhonda laughed. She hadn't known about the her kids' secret holiday tradition.

"I just try to think about all the awesome things that we did," she said. "All the trips that we took."

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