GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Just days after a 12-year-old student was fatally shot at Tanglewood Middle School, the school community came together to heal.

“This is what community is – coming together, encouraging one another and loving one another through these broken moments,” explained Washington Avenue Baptist Church Pastor Bob Whitehead.

Students, staff and alumni united in song and prayer during a vigil Sunday. Some left balloons and flowers at the front door of the school. Others wrote notes for their friend Jamari Jackson, who was killed.

“We’re going to ask the Lord for healing,” said Reconcile Community Church Pastor Will Broadus. “We’re going to ask the Lord for protection.”

“This was a horrific event,” added Tabernacle Baptist Church Pastor Byron Battle. “But, this community is a strong community. This school is a strong school.”

That strength is what teachers, like Carpee Hall, are leaning on.

“There’s just something about this school that pulls you in, and you feel that sense of family,” explained Hall. “I love these kids, faculty, staff and my principal.” 

Hall is a seventh grade science teacher. She taught both Jackson and the suspected gunman. She said the shooting does not define the school.

“It’s one of those things that could have happened anywhere. You don’t think it will happen, but it can happen anywhere.”

Hall said it will take time to heal, but she and the faculty will welcome students back Monday with open arms.

“I’ll be here bright and early in the morning waiting on them [students] to come through the door and give them hugs and whatever else they need.”