Students and staff at Riverbank Elementary School in West Sacramento are receiving grief counseling after one their eighth-graders was shot over the weekend.
About 8:50 p.m. Saturday, 13-year-old Alize Valadez was at her grandmother's home watching a movie on the couch when someone fired several bullets at their home. One of the bullets struck Alize in the head.
She was rushed to UC Davis Medical Center -- where she is now on life support.
Despite the tragedy, school must go on.
Students and staff were greeted by St. Sophie the St. Bernard at school, as well as social workers and a community chaplain.
"It's a comfort mechanism for kids. They can feel comfortable. Meet it, pet it," Washington Unified School District spokesperson Giorgos Kazanis said.
"We don't talk at them. We listen to them process and really explain what they're going through and help navigate some of those feelings and emotions," Sacramento County Community Chaplain Angela Kellogg said.
Feelings of confusion, sadness and uncertainty now overwhelm students and their parents.
"You can be in your own home but it's not safe anymore. It gets me sad," Riverbank Elementary school parent Monica Cruz said.
"It's changed a lot for us here in West Sac for the good. It's a good place to raise your kids and everything, but for that to happen ... is just like, wow," Riverbank Elementary school parent Valentino Lopez said.
Alize's aunt, Monica Martinez, told FOX40 that Alize remains on life support. But she did see Alize twitch her fingers a few times since getting out of surgery, so the family is hopeful. They are looking forward to the day she comes back to school.
"She's a good kid here. Good grades, you know?" Martinez said. "She was going to graduate this year. And she ... she is going to because she's going to make it."
With no witnesses or surveillance videos, West Sacramento police are struggling to find answers. They have three detectives assigned to this case.
However, they ask anyone with any information to contact them at (916) 372-3375 or the crime tip hotline at (916) 617-4747.