A 17-year-old student allegedly opened fire Friday at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, killing 10 people and wounding another 10, authorities said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said police found explosive devices, including a Molotov cocktail, at the suspected shooter’s home and a vehicle, as well as around the Santa Fe High School where the shooting took place.
Law enforcement officials said the suspect, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a junior at the school, was being held without bond on a capital murder charge.
Abbott said the suspect originally intended to commit suicide following the shooting but told law enforcement officials after he was arrested that he didn’t have the courage to go through with killing himself.
The governor said two guns were used in the attack — a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver. He said the suspect’s father legally owned both guns.It was not clear whether the father knew his son had taken the weapons.
Abbott said there were “one or two” other people of interest being interviewed about the shooting.
Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said, “Injured students and staff have been transported to local hospitals.” He also said an officer from the Santa Fe Independent School District was among those shot.
U.S. President Donald Trump described the shooting as an “absolutely horrific attack,” one of many that have “been going on too long in this country.” Trump told the victims and their families that “we’re with you in this tragic hour and we will be with you forever.” He vowed to get guns “out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others.”
An unidentified male student described fleeing the school during an interview with KHOU-TV in Houston. He said that after he heard three shots, “we all took off in the back, and I tried to get into the trees. I didn’t want to be in sight. I heard four more shots, and then we jumped the fence to somebody’s house.”
An unidentified female student said tearfully on cable channel CNN, “Nobody should have to go through this. Nobody should have to feel that pain.”
Pagourtzis had posted an image on Facebook of himself wearing a “Born to Kill” shirt, but the motive for Friday’s attack wasn’t known.
Abbott saidthat unlike previous school shootings, “there were not those types of warning signs” about the Santa Fe suspect. The governor saidthe early investigation had found no prior criminal history for Pagourtzis.
“The red-flag warnings were either nonexistent or very imperceptible,” Abbott said, though he acknowledged Pagourtzis’ posting of the photo on Facebook.
That same Facebook profile described Pagourtzis as planning to enter the U.S. Marine Corps next year, but the Marine Corps told The Associated Press it had reviewed its records and had found no one by that name as either a recruit or a person in their delayed entry pool.
Classmates described Pagourtzis as quiet and 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.
Calls for action
The latest incident came about three months after a shooter with a semiautomatic rifle killed 17 students and school staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It was the third-deadliest school shooting in American history.
The Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said urgent action was needed to prevent gun violence.
“Congress must show as much courage as they have, and act now to ensure that no other community or family must endure the unthinkable horror of gun violence. Our children deserve real leadership: a vote to prevent gun violence now.”
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said Congress must implement reforms that lawmakers recently passed “to make schools safer and keep deadly weapons away from those who should not have them.”
“Our hearts are filled with grief over this horrific loss of life,” he added.
Santa Fe is located in southeastern Texas between the cities of Houston and Galveston.
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Some information for this report came from Associated Press.