VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - Shock and disbelief are just some of the words used by Vancleave residents to describe their reaction to the murder of Cliff Stephen Allyn.
On Friday, catching up on paperwork after a long spring break wasn't the only thing on the mind of Vancleave High principal Anthony Gruich. Now, his welcome back for students on Monday will include grief counselors.
"In a small community like this in America, when some of the senseless tragedies occur people turn to three things: their faith, their family and their friends," Gruich said. "And here at Vancleave, there's nothing stronger than those three things."
Gruich says freshman Cliff Allyn made an impression on him the first day of school.
"He was just very well-liked by his classmates, and very well-liked by his teachers," Gruich said. "Just the kind of kid you love to have at a school, because what he brings to the school is just being a good citizen. Good citizenship."
As school officials prepare to help students get through the tragedy, Cliff's death has had a ripple effect beyond the school walls.
The teen shopped at the Fort Ramsay Corner Store the day he disappeared.
"It's just a total shock to the community. It's a total loss," said Julie Valdes. "We should all pray for his family and hold on tight to our children."
Even for those who didn't know him, the news was frightening.
"It was actually very shocking because in areas like this, you wouldn't think that something like that would happen," said resident Courtney Kemp. "It made us worry. Like, what if this was to happen to my nephew, or what if this happens to my child."
Angela Kemp added, "It's sad. You don't know whether to let your kids you know go out and play by themselves 'cause it's frightening."