Teen Boy Suspected of Texas School Massacre Had Planned Suicide But 'Gave Himself Up' Instead: Gov.
Seventeen-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis has been identified as the suspected gunman in Friday morning’s mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, PEOPLE confirms.
Pagourtzis is a junior at Santa Fe, according to the Houston Chronicle. As a freshman, he played on the school football team’s defensive line, according to an online roster.
The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office confirmed his identity in a news release on Friday afternoon, when they announced he was being held without bond in the county jail on suspicion of capital murder.
More charges were possible, the sheriff’s office said.
Friday’s attack killed 10 people and wounded another 10, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The shooting was first reported just after 7:30 a.m., according to authorities. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the dead included students and school staff.
Also at a news conference Friday afternoon, Abbott described the suspect as someone who until the shooting hours earlier had not been on the radar of law enforcement.
The governor said the suspect’s “slate is pretty clean” and that he did not have a criminal history or previous run-ins with police.
According to Abbott, authorities learned from the suspect’s recovered journals, cell phone and computers that he allegedly planned to kill himself after the mass shooting but “gave himself up” to authorities after he realized “he didn’t have the courage.”
Abbott did not name Pagourtzis specifically.
“We have what are often categorized as red flag warnings, and here the red flag warnings were either nonexistent or very imperceptible,” Abbott said.
He said that most disturbing, perhaps, was the fact that the suspect had previously posted a T-shirt to his Facebook page that bore the phrase “born to kill.”
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Multiple media outlets report the site of the shooting as at or around an art classroom. Santa Fe High is located in Galveston County about 35 miles outside Houston.
One student at Santa Fe, 17-year-old Dustin, told local TV station KTRK the suspected shooter “didn’t have a lot of friends” and was the object of scorn from some students and coaches.
“The coaches would bully him and call him names. … I believe one of the kids he shot bullied him also,” said Dustin, whose last name was not given.
An unidentified student who said he played football with the suspect told KTRK, “He had a few friends but never really talked to too many people … For him to do something this catastrophic, it’s just crazy.”
The student described the suspect as “very quiet,” saying he “stuck to himself [and] wasn’t a very social person.”
“I [saw] the shooter before he even got to the art classroom,” Dustin told KTRK. He said the gunman “was wearing a trench coat and big boots.”
Abbott said Friday afternoon that the suspect had allegedly constructed an as-yet-unknown number of explosive devices, some of which were recovered from the school after the shooting. Among them was a Molotov cocktail.
He said the two weapons used — a shotgun and .38-caliber revolver — were legally owned by the suspect’s father, though it was unclear if the dad was aware the guns had allegedly been taken by his son. The suspect allegedly carried in the shotgun under his trench coat on Friday morning, Abbott said.
He said two other people of interest were being investigated but declined to specify their possible connections to the shooting beyond noting that one of them was present at the school and had seemed suspicious.
It is unclear if Pagourtzis has retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf. It appears he has not yet been in court.
A woman who answered a phone linked to Pagourtzis’ family asked for privacy, according to the Associated Press.
“Please don’t call us,” the woman said. “Give us our time right now, thank you.”
Anyone with information about the shooting or suspect is asked to call 409-927-3310.
• With reporting by HARRIET SOKMENSUER and JEFF TRUESDELL