As federal investigators search for a motive in the deadly attack, hundreds of people also attended an emotional funeral service in Texas for a Pakistani exchange student, one of 10 people killed in Friday's rampage.
The rituals and religious traditions may have been strikingly different, but a Methodist memorial service and Islamic funeral prayers held in two Houston suburbs on Sunday shared a profound anguish at the lives lost to high school gun violence in Santa Fe, Texas.
Those attending both events expressed a sense of bewilderment that a place of education for young people had once again been transformed by the kind of carnage that has grown increasingly commonplace in the United States.
The two services unfolded a day after authorities officially released the names of the eight students and two teachers slain on Friday at Santa Fe High School, marking the fourth deadliest shooting at a public school in modern US history.
The gunman has been identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student who is alleged to have used his father's shotgun and revolver to kill fellow classmates and two teachers.
TRT World's John Brain reports.
At Arcadia First Baptist Church, Texas Governor Greg Abbott hugged survivors of the shooting and their parents and urged them to stay strong.
"We're here to support you," Abbott said.
Some 500 congregants bowed their heads as interim Pastor Jerald Watkins offered prayers.
"It's time like this when all of us realise how fragile our lives really are," he said.
Santa Fe 10th grader Joshua Stevens, 15, said he was glad to see the governor in attendance, adding, "It's important that after a tragic event like this we just come together and worship."
Abbott later went down the road to the school itself and placed a wreath on the front lawn. Students and residents also have placed flowers, messages and stuffed animals in honor of those who died there.
"We come here today with hearts that are aching, knowing that there are parents today without children," he said.
Texas Muslims mourn slain Pakistani exchange student
Houston's Muslim community also gathered to offer prayers Sunday at the funeral service for a 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student who was among those killed in the mass shooting
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 AFP 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 traditional 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 Ramadan.
"It's a shock, it's so sad," said realtor Ike Samad, 67, who was born in Pakistan but has lived here most of his adult life and raised his children as Americans.
"I came here just like her, as a student," he recalled. "God forbid that could have happened to me when I was here. As a parent, it is just devastating."
Samad also addressed the painful irony that a young woman from a country that many Americans associated with the war on terror in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington was killed in a country that millions around the world see as a bastion of freedom.
The attacks were a "tragedy, and tragedy sometimes teaches you life," he said. "But it also revisits, and in this case very close to here."
Several Pakistani-American youths also attended the funeral service, including Danyal Zakaria of nearby Sugar Land, Texas.
The 17-year-old said it was "truly mind-blowing" that an exchange student his age could be cut down in cold blood at a US school.
"This nation is known to be safe," he said. "If America is not safe, then where is?"
As southeast Texas grieved, the political talk shifted toward how to better protect citizens and facilities like schools in a country where guns have become an inextricable part of the fabric of American life.
Speaking at the high school, Abott pledged "swift and meaningful action" to prevent future school massacres.
He hopes roundtable discussions set to begin on Tuesday, with both supporters of gun rights and advocates of stricter controls, can "build a pathway to reforms so that other students will not have to live through a nightmare like what these students had to go through."
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick made the case for boosting security at schools by arming teachers, something US President Donald Trump advocated after a shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead.
"We need armed teachers - trained, of course, not just anyone who has a gun, trained how to handle active shooters in the schools," Patrick told CNN.
"We need to harden the target. We need to get down to one or two entrances into our schools."
Monica Bracknell, 18, said she and other seniors were allowed in to the school Saturday to retrieve their belongings, and were "shaken up" by the condition of the hallways and classrooms.
"There's drywall and stuff all over the ground," she said.
After meeting with Abbott at the church, she stressed that reaction to the shooting should focus less on gun rights and more on improving security.
"This kid is obviously unstable and he knew that there were flaws in the school system to get into the rooms," Bracknell said.
Capital murder charges
Pagourtzis is being held on capital murder charges and could face the death penalty.
"We are as shocked and confused as anyone else by these events," his family said in a statement. "What we have learned from media reports seems incompatible with the boy we love.
"We are gratified by the public comments made by other Santa Fe High School students that show Dimitri as we know him: a smart, quiet, sweet boy."
Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, who denied bail to Pagourtzis, noted that the suspect "said in his statement he acted alone." The case will go before another judge Monday.
The New York Times cited an affidavit written by one investigator as saying the suspect had confessed and said he spared "students he did like so he could have his story told."
J.J. Watt, a defensive end with the National Football League's Houston Texans, has told authorities he will pay the funeral expenses of those killed, NFL officials confirmed.
Calls for gun reform are less likely to resonate in the gun rights bastion of Texas after the Santa Fe murders, as they did after Parkland three months ago.