- Ten people were killed and another 10 were wounded in a deadly mass shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, on Friday, authorities said.
- The gunman was arrested and identified as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a student at the school. A court document shows that he confessed to the killings.
- Pagourtzis was allegedly armed with a shotgun and a.38-calibre revolver that belonged to his father, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.
- Multiple explosive devices were also found at the school and off campus, authorities said.
A teenage student fatally gunned down 10 people and wounded 10 others at his Texas high school on Friday, in the latest instance of a deadly mass shooting at a US school, authorities said.
The suspected gunman was arrested and has been identified by authorities as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a student at Santa Fe High School who had few friends and was sometimes bullied, according to his classmates.
Pagourtzis is being held without bond on a capital murder charge, and was in the Galveston County Jail, Sheriff Henry Trochesset said in a statement. A second “person of interest” was detained, and is also a student at the school, authorities said.
Pagourtzis surrendered to police just about 30 minutes after police first responded to the shooting and later confessed to the killings, according to a court document that local news outlets were circulating on Friday night.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the rampage “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools,” and described the suspect as “evil.” None of his victims have been identified yet.
Abbott said Pagourtzis entered the school Friday morning armed with two weapons, a shotgun and a .38 revolver. Both firearms appeared to have been legally purchased by his father, and there was no information to suggest that the senior Pagourtzis knew his son had obtained them, Abbott said.
In another twist, multiple explosive devices were also found at the school and in the surrounding areas, Santa Fe Independent School District Police Chief Walter Braun said. Authorities were “in the process of rendering them safe,” the school district said in a statement.
Students at the school told media that the gunman walked into an art class between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. local time and opened fire with what appeared to be a shotgun.
Another student told the Houston television station KTRK that a teacher had pulled the fire alarm in an effort to get students out of the building. The student said he heard at least 16 or 17 gunshots in total.
“We smelled the gunpowder and you could hear the shots,” he said. “We knew it was the real deal.”
Some of the students who survived the shooting expressed frustration that school shootings were now commonplace, and that they were unable to feel safe in their own classrooms.
When asked by a reporter whether she was surprised that a shooting had occurred at her school, one student said she wasn’t.
“It’s been happening everywhere. I always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here too,” she said.
The shooting comes amid an ongoing national discourse over gun control and mass shootings. A similar high-school shooting occurred in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, leaving 17 people dead and prompting a national debate over US gun laws.
On Friday, Abbott called upon Texans to “step up and take action” to ensure that such a massacre would never occur again. He said roundtable discussions with Texas leaders will begin next week, where stakeholders will “begin to work immediately on swift solutions.”
He said parents, students, teachers, and concerned citizens across the state should come together to help find solutions, such as potential bills that could protect the Second Amendment, keep guns out of the hands of those deemed a risk to the people around them, and address “the mental-health issues behind gun violence.”
‘I shouldn’t be going through this’
One student, Dakota Shrader, was in tears when she told reporters that she shouldn’t have ever had to feel fear while she was at school.
“I shouldn’t be going through this. It’s my school. This is my daily life. I shouldn’t have to feel like that, and I feel scared to even go back,” she said.
Scores of local and federal authorities were at the shooting scene all morning on Friday, including the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, the Santa Fe Police Department, the FBI, and officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Eight patients were sent to the Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, all of them students, an official told media at a press conference. A spokesman for the University of Texas Medical Branch, Raul Reyes, also told reporters that the facility had so far received three patients with gunshot wounds – two adults and one person under the age of 18.
One of the adult patients, a middle-aged male, was in critical condition, Reyes said. The others were a juvenile and a female adult, both in good condition and with gunshot wounds to the legs.
One man prompted further controversy outside the school Friday morning, when he arrived carrying an American flag and a holstered gun on his hip. He told reporters he was there to offer “support.”
“Get to the school – make America great again,” he said, referring to President Donald Trump’s popular slogan.
Trump: Incidents of gun violence have ‘been going on too long’
Trump said Friday that his administration was “closely monitoring the situation” and that such incidents have “been going on too long in our country.”
“We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our love and support to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack,” he said at a White House event. “We’re with you in this tragic hour and we’ll be with you forever.”
Trump drew some criticism for tweeting earlier: “School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!”
Already, the gun-control debate took off in Texas among local officials. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told CBS News he would rather see more security personnel in schools, rather than restrictions placed on gun ownership.
“People like this are not going to follow gun regulations – law-abiding citizens will,” he said. “The more we regulate, the more time we lose and the more people we’re going to lose. I would prefer to have people in place to protect our children, not leave it open for someone who’s not going to follow a gun law to come in and kill as many children as they want to.”
Santa Fe is a city just southeast of Houston, with a population of 13,200, according to the US Census Bureau.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.