Texas school resource officers are being praised as 'heroes' for quickly confronting the Santa Fe shooter in the middle of the attack

Getty Images/Bob LeveyGalveston County Judge Mark Henry, Sen.Ted Cruz, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speak to the media during a press conference about the shooting incident at Santa Fe High School May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas.
  • School resource officers “stepped up to the plate” and confronted the Santa Fe High School gunman during his attack, Texas officials said Friday.
  • The shooting left 10 people dead and wounded 10 others at the school.
  • The suspect has been identified as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who was arrested and is being held on a capital murder charge.

Several law-enforcement officers were praised on Friday for quickly confronting the gunman who police say killed 10 people at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.

“When you get these calls, every police officer, no matter where you are, has to immediately engage the active shooter, period,” Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told reporters. “There’s no alternative. Because every second means that someone else is going to die.”

McCraw credited two “brave officers” from the Santa Fe Independent School District, who he said “stepped up to the plate” and engaged the shooter.

One of the officers, identified in local media as school resource officer John Barnes, was shot in the arm and is undergoing surgery. David Marshall, the University of Texas Medical Branch’s chief nursing officer, told media that Barnes is now in stable condition, and the bullet damaged a bone in his arm as well as a major blood vessel.

Barnes was the first person to engage the shooter on Friday and was quickly joined by the Santa Fe Independent School District police chief, who managed to pull him to safety, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said.

Santa fe high school shootingThe Houston Chronicle/Steve Gonzalez via Associated PressLaw enforcement officers respond to Santa Fe High School after an active shooter was reported on campus, Friday, May 18, 2018, in Santa Fe, Texas.

A Texas state trooper also joined the scene and engaged the shooter, McCraw said.

“We know that because they were willing to run into that building and engage them right now that other lives can be saved,” he added. “It’s absolutely important.”

Gov. Greg Abbott called the officers “heroes” on Friday and thanked them for confronting the shooter.

“Their action probably ensured that more lives were not lost,” Abbott said.

The suspected gunman was quickly arrested after the officers confronted him, and he has since been identified as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a student at the school.

Pagourtzis is being held at the Galveston County Jail on a capital murder charge, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

The news of the officers’ quick actions on Friday was met with some relief by the law-enforcement officials. Another school resource officer in Parkland, Florida, stood frozen outside the school building during a mass shooting that killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14.

That officer, Scot Peterson, resigned in disgrace and was pilloried in the media by the Broward County Sheriff and many of the shooting survivors and the victims’ families, who said Peterson should have confronted the shooter.

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