10 Killed in Texas School Shooting, Suspect Charged With Murder

Another 10 people were wounded in the attack. The wounded included a school police officer who was the first to confront the suspect and got shot in the arm

A Life Flight helicopter takes off from Santa Fe High School where a shooting took place on May 18, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas
Bob Levey/AFP

Ten people were killed on Friday in a shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, a law enforcement source said, in the latest gun violence in a country still shaken by the massacre at a Florida high school in February.

Another 10 people were wounded in the attack. The wounded included a school police officer who was the first to confront the suspect and got shot in the arm.

Texas officials charged a 17-year-old student with murder in the shooting of 10 people, including fellow pupils, at his high school, located about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Houston. Local media reported at least eight people were killed. 

Undated combination of two selfie photos of old Santa Fe shooting suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis, aged 17
OFF/AFP

Students said a gunman, identified by law enforcement as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, opened fire in a classroom at Santa Fe High School shortly before 8 a.m. CT (1300 GMT) on Friday, and that they fled in panic after seeing classmates wounded and a fire alarm triggered a full evacuation. Ten people were hurt in the attack, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said.

According to Texas authorities, Pagourtzis described planning the attack in private journals, including a plan to kill himself, posted an image on Facebook of a "Born to Kill" shirt and used his father's shotgun and pistol in the rampage.

A motive wasn't immediately clear, but Governer Greg Abbott said Pagourtzis wrote about planning the attack in journals on his computer and in his cellphone that police obtained. That was inconsistent with the portrait painted by his friends — a reserved young man, an athlete who had discussed wanting to own guns but who was said not to have given warning signs of impending violence.

"Not only did he want to commit the shooting but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting," Abbott said, adding that Pagourtzis told authorities he "didn't have the courage" to take his own life.

President Donald Trump ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims and their families.

Pagourtzis was held without bond in the Galveston County jail on charges of capital murder, said the county sheriff, Henry Trochesset. Abbott said the two guns used in the attack were owned legally by the suspect's father. It was not clear whether the father knew his son had taken them.

The governor also said explosive devices including a Molotov cocktail had been found in the suspected shooter's home and a vehicle as well as around the school and nearby.

It was the latest in a long series of deadly shootings at U.S. schools. Seventeen teens and educators were shot dead at a Parkland, Florida, high school in February, a massacre that stirred the nation’s long-running debate over gun ownership.

The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office identified Pagourtzis and said he had been charged with capital murder in a post on its Facebook page. More charges could follow.

U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: "Early reports not looking good. God bless all!" 

The latest shooting at a U.S. school underscored a national debate over gun control and gun rights that has intensified after an assailant killed 17 students and staff on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 

Abbot said at a news conference that "unlike Parkland, unlike Sutherland Springs, there were not those types of warning signs." He was referring to the February 14 school shooting in Florida and one in November inside a church in a town near San Antonio. Abbott said the early investigation showed no prior criminal history for Pagourtzis — no arrests and no confrontations with law enforcement.

That same Facebook profile that included pictures of the "Born to Kill" shirt described Pagourtzis as planning to enter the U.S. Marine Corps next year, but the Marine Corps told The Associated Press it has reviewed its records and found no one by that name as either a recruit or a person in their delayed entry pool.

A woman who answered the phone at a number associated with the Pagourtzis family declined to speak with the AP.

"Please don't call us. Give us our time right now, thank you," she said.
Classmates described Pagourtzis as quiet, an avid video game player who routinely wore a black trench coat and black boots to class. He had played football on the school's junior varsity squad and danced as part of a church group. Those who know him expressed shock he might be involved in the killings.

In addition to Pagourtzis, a second person was detained in relation to the attack. That person was not identified.

Aerial video outside the Santa Fe school broadcast on local television showed police escorting lines of students out ofthe building and then searching them for weapons as many police cars and at least two ambulances with lights flashing stood by. 

Sophomore Leila Butler told the local ABC affiliate that fire alarms went off at about 7:45 a.m. local time and students left their classrooms. She said some students believe they heard shots fired, and that she was sheltering with other students and teachers near campus. 

Another sophomore, Dakota Shrader, told Fox 26 TV her 17-year-old girlfriend told her by phone that she was wounded but was recovering in a hospital. "My friend got injured," said an emotional Shrader. "Her leg, she got shot in the leg." 

Dr. David Marshall, chief nursing officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch, said that the hospital was treating at least three patients - two adults and one person under 18. He said it was not immediately clear if that child was a student. 

In February, Santa Fe High School was placed on lockdown while police investigated a "popping sound" that was feared to be gunshots, but no threat was found, the school district said. 

That was a false alarm, but school shootings have happened regularly in the United States since the Parkland massacre. 

Last Friday morning a 14-year-old boy shot and wounded a student at a Southern California high school before fleeing the scene and being arrested, police said. 

Then on Wednesday a police officer assigned to an Illinois high school shot and wounded a 19-year-old former student who had brought a gun to the school, authorities said.