Texas High School Mass Shooting: 10 Killed, Including Students; Suspect Charged
The Santa Fe Independent School District confirmed on its Facebook page that an incident involving an active shooter compelled a lockdown of Santa Fe High School
Ten people, including students, were killed in a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas on Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced at a Friday press conference.
Abbott said 10 people were also injured in the attack. According to multiple local media reports, nine students and one teacher were killed.
The suspect in the shooting has been identified as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, according to a news release from the Galveston County Sheriff.
Abbott said the suspect allegedly used a shotgun and a .38 revolver, which were owned legally by his father. It is unclear how the suspect obtained the guns.
Abbott said authorities have found explosive devices found in the school and the surrounding area, including a Molotov cocktail, believed to have been made by the suspect.
Authorities have urged community members to be on the lookout for suspicious items.
According to Abbott, authorities learned from the suspect’s recovered journals, cell phone and computers that he allegedly wanted to commit suicide after the shooting. But he allegedly admitted to authorities “he didn’t have the courage [to kill himself],” according to Abbott.
Abbott said that the suspect was not on the radar of law enforcement before the attack, saying “there simply were not the same types of warning signs” as there have been with other alleged mass shooters.
But he said the suspect posted a photo to his Facebook page of a T-shirt that said “Born to kill.”
“That would be … the foremost warning sign,” said Abbott.
The suspect is being held on capital murder charges with no bond in the Galveston County Jail.
According to Abbott, police are also investigating two persons of interest in the case.
Officials at the University of Texas Medical Branch hospital in Galveston tell PEOPLE that John Barnes, a Santa Fe Independent School District Officer, is in critical condition after being injured.
At an earlier press conference, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the shooting began between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. Multiple media outlets report the shooting took place at or around an art classroom.
Santa Fe High is located in Galveston County about 35 miles outside Houston.
Horror Strikes on a ‘Normal’ School Day
Student Angelica Martinez, 14, described to CNN how a seemingly normal day turned tragic.
“So, it was just a normal-like class day. We all were doing our work in first period. And then all of a sudden like it’s a fire drill,” student Angelica Martinez said.
“So we followed the fire drill procedures. And then we went outside. Like we were all standing there, but not even five minutes later, we all start hearing gunshots,” she continued.
At that point, everyone began running, she said, even though teachers told them to stay put. “But we’re all just running away,” she said.
Liberty Wheeler, 14, was in class when she heard five shots ring out near the art room, she told the Chronicle.
Her teacher told them to run toward the theater department’s storage room, where they hid for 45 minutes before being escorted outside by the SWAT team.
“You could smell the gunpowder that came from the gun,” Wheeler recalled as she was escorted out of the building. “We were all scared because it was near us.”
Billie Scheumack, 68, who lives near the school, told PEOPLE, “It’s unbelievable that this happened in our town, in our home. It’s heartbreaking.”
She described a vivid scene of a mother and her son reuniting after the shooting: “I stood out at the end of my driveway and saw a mother coming up the street, walking, and her son coming the other way. And the closer they got to each other, they just ran and embraced. My heart just went out to that mother to think that her child was in that school and she did not know until she saw his face that he was okay.”
President Donald Trump expressed his condolences to the victims, saying, “We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support and love to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack to the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High.”
• With reporting by JEFF TRUESDELL, ELAINE ARADILLAS, CHRIS HARRIS and ADAM CARLSON