Texas High School Shooting

Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via AP

10 Dead, 10 Wounded In Shooting At Texas High School; Teen Charged With Capital Murder

May 18, 2018 - 2:21 pm
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SANTA FE, Texas (WCBS 880/AP/CBS News) -- A gunman opened fire at a Houston-area high school Friday, killing 10 people and wounding 10 others, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. It was the nation's deadliest such attack since the massacre in Florida that gave rise to a campaign by teens for gun control.

Abbott called Friday's shooting at Sante Fe High School "one of the most heinous attacks that we've ever seen in the history of Texas schools.''

"Nothing can prepare a parent for the loss of a child, this will be a long and painful time for these parents as they work their way through what has to be the greatest challenge they've ever dealt with," Abbott said. 

Abbott said the weapons used in the attack were a shotgun and .38 revolver, both belonging to the suspect's father. 

The suspect, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, of Santa Fe, is being held without bond on a capital murder charge in the Galveston County jail.

A woman who answered the phone at a number associated with the Pagourtzis family declined to speak with the AP. She said: "Give us our time right now, thank you.'' Pagourtzis plays on the Santa Fe High School junior varsity football team, and is a member of a dance squad with a local Greek Orthodox church.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis
Galveston County Sheriff's Office via AP

The governor says the suspect said he originally intended to commit suicide but gave himself up and told authorities that he didn't have the courage to take his own life. Abbott said there are "one or two'' other people of interest being interviewed about the shooting.

Abbott 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. 

Aerial footage showed students standing in a grassy field and three medical helicopters landing at the school in Santa Fe, a city of about 13,000 residents roughly 30 milessoutheast of Houston.

Michael Farina, 17, said he was on the other side of campus when the shooting began and thought it was a fire drill. He was holding a door open for special education students in wheelchairs when a principal came bounding down the hall and telling everyone to run. Another teacher yelled out, "It is real."

Students were led to take cover behind a car shop across the street from the school. Some still did not feel safe and began jumping the fence behind the shop to run even farther away, Farina said.

"I debated doing that myself," he said.

Tyler, a senior at the school, told KHOU-TV that his friend saw "some kid" with a gun. A fire alarm was pulled. When teachers and students were outside, shots were fired, Tyler said.

Student Damon Rabon said he was in a classroom one door away from the shooting.

"The teacher actually ran and pulled the fire alarm because we had no service to call 911 to let anyone know there was a shooter because our wing is completely almost separate from the rest of the school," he said.

"As soon as the alarms went off, everybody just started running outside," 10th grader Dakota Shrader told reporters, "and next thing you know everybody looks, and you hear boom, boom, boom, and I just ran as fast as I could to the nearest floor so I could hide, and I called my mom."

Tyler said he ran behind some trees, heard more shots, jumped a fence and ran to a car wash. He said he saw firefighters treat a girl who had a bandage around her knee and may have been shot.

One student told Houston television station KTRK in a telephone interview that a gunman came into her first-period art class and started shooting. The student said she saw one girl with blood on her leg as the class evacuated the room.

"We thought it was a fire drill at first but really, the teacher said, 'Start running,'" the student told the television station.

The student said she didn't get a good look at the shooter because she was running away. She said students escaped through a door at the back of the classroom.

Authorities have not yet confirmed that report. Aerial footage from the scene showed students standing in a grassy field and three life-flight helicopters landing at the school.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was responding to a shooting at the school.

There was a large law enforcement response to the same school in February when it was placed on lockdown after students and teachers said they heard "popping sounds." Santa Fe police swept the campus but found no threat.

President Donald Trump has ordered that U.S. flags fly at half-staff as a mark of "solemn respect'' for those affected by the school shooting in Texas. 

Flags are to be flown at half-staff until sunset on May 22. The order applies to the White House and all public buildings and grounds, military posts and naval stations and vessels, as well as at U.S. embassies, consular offices and other facilities abroad. The flag atop the White House was immediately lowered on Friday.

It was the nation's deadliest school shooting since the February attack in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and re-energized the gun-control movement after surviving teens launched a campaign for reform.

In the aftermath of the Feb. 14 attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, survivors pulled all-nighters, petitioned city councils and state lawmakers, and organized protests in a grass-roots movement.

Within weeks, state lawmakers adopted changes, including new weapons restrictions. The move cemented the gun-friendly state's break with the National Rifle Association. The NRA fought back with a lawsuit.

In late March, the teens spearheaded one of the largest student protest marches since Vietnam in Washington and inspired hundreds of other marches from California to Japan.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press and CBS News contributed to this report.)