Ten people, most students, killed at Texas high school; shooter arrested

2 years 1 month 3 weeks ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 10:26:00 AM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

SANTA FE, Texas (AP) — A 17-year-old armed with a shotgun and a pistol opened fire at a Houston-area high school Friday, killing 10 people, most of them students, authorities 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.

The suspected shooter, who was in custody on murder charges, also had explosive devices that were found in the school and nearby, said Gov. Greg Abbott, who called the assault "one of the most heinous attacks that we've ever seen in the history of Texas schools."

Authorities offered no immediate motive for the shooting. The governor said the assailant intended to kill himself but gave up and told police that he did not have the courage to take his own life.

The deaths were all but certain to re-ignite the national debate over gun regulations, coming just three months after the Parkland, Florida, attack that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

"It's been happening everywhere. I've always kind of felt like that eventually it was going to happen here too," Santa Fe High School student Paige Curry told Houston television station KTRK. "I don't know. I wasn't surprised. I was just scared."

Another 10 people were wounded at the school in Santa Fe, a city of about 13,000 people roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston. The wounded included a school police officer who was the first to confront the suspect and got shot in the arm.

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.

The suspect was identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis. A woman who answered the phone at a number associated with the Pagourtzis family declined to speak with the AP.

"Give us our time right now, thank you," she said.

Pagourtzis played on the junior varsity football team and was a member of a dance squad with a local Greek Orthodox church. Acquaintances described him as quiet and unassuming, an avid video game player who routinely wore a black trench coat and black boots to class.

The suspect obtained the shotgun and a .38-caliber handgun from his father, who owned them legally, Abbott said. It was not clear whether the father knew his son had taken them.

Investigators were determining whether the shotgun's shortened barrel was legal, Texas Sen. John Cornyn said.

The assailant's homemade explosives school included pipe bombs, at least one Molotov cocktail and pressure-cooker bombs similar to those used in the Boston Marathon attack, authorities said.

While cable news channels carried hours of live coverage, survivors of the Feb. 14 Florida attack took to social media to express grief and outrage.

"My heart is so heavy for the students of Santa Fe High School. It's an all too familiar feeling no one should have to experience. I am so sorry this epidemic touched your town — Parkland will stand with you now and forever," Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Jaclyn Corin said in a tweet.

She also directed her frustration at President Donald Trump, writing "Our children are being MURDERED and you're treating this like a game. This is the 22nd school shooting just this year. DO SOMETHING."

In Texas, senior Logan Roberds said he was near the school's art room when he heard a fire alarm and left the building with other students. Once outside, Roberds said, he heard two loud bangs. He initially thought somebody was loudly hitting a trash can. Then came three more bangs.

"That's when the teachers told us to run," he said.

At that point, Roberds said, he told himself, "Oh my God, this is not fake. This is actually happening."

Roberds said additional gun-control measures are not needed, citing the need for defense against intruders.

"What are you going to do if some guy comes in your house and points a gun at you? You can't do nothing with a knife," he said.

Friday's assault was the deadliest in Texas since a man with a semi-automatic rifle attacked a rural church late last year, killing more than two dozen people.

There were few prior clues about Pagourtzis' behavior, unlike the shootings in Parkland and the church in Sutherland Springs, Abbott said, but the teen wrote in journals of wanting to carry out such an attack and then to end his own life.

"This young man planned on doing this for some time. He advertised his intentions but somehow slipped through the cracks," Cornyn said.

In the aftermath of the Florida assault, 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.

The calls for tighter gun controls that have swelled since February have barely registered in gun-loving Texas — at least to this point.

Texas has some of the most permissive gun laws in the U.S. and just hosted the NRA's annual conference earlier this month. In the run-up to the March primary election, gun control was not a main issue with candidates of either party. Republicans did not soften their views on guns, and Democrats campaigned on a range of issues instead of zeroing in on gun violence.

More News

Grid
List
OSAGE BEACH - The Osage Beach Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-2 for the expansion of the local bar and... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 7:26:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA (Missourian) - Planned Parenthood and Spectrum Health Care in Columbia have joined a network that provides free or... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 7:22:21 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
O'FALLON (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said President Donald Trump is focused on and concerned about the possibility that... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 7:13:06 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Move-in day for many students is only a couple weeks away and some still haven't signed a lease... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 7:03:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- A Covid-19 vaccine developed by the biotechnology company Moderna in partnership with the National Institutes of Health has... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 6:59:12 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The same day that Missouri broke a record for new COVID-19 cases , Governor Parson said the... More >>
1 hour ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 6:49:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
MEXICO - SSM Health, a catholic non-profit that owns St. Mary's Hospital in Mexico has signed a letter of intent... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 6:21:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was being treated for a possible infection and was expected to stay... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 6:03:37 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – The Washington D.C. NFL football team announced on Monday it will retire the teams name and logo. Washington... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 4:44:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Former Mizzou basketball player, Sophie Cunningham, tested positive for COVID-19 on June 18th. The WNBA player explains why... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 4:03:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – The Washington Redskins announced in a press release on Monday the team would be retiring its name and... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 4:00:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
TIPTON – While some schools may not know if the fall will have in-person classes. Some school districts are already... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 3:50:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA (Missourian) - A representative from consulting firm Cooperative Strategies laid out the next steps to the Columbia Board... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 3:27:57 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - The SEC announced Tuesday the start of the soccer, cross county and volleyball seasons will be postponed... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 3:05:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
BOSTON (AP) — The Trump administration has rescinded a rule that would have required international students to transfer schools or... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 2:51:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
MISSOURI — As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Missouri, state and local officials confirm new case counts daily. ... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 2:30:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
(AP) - Tax procrastinators, your time is running out. As the coronavirus pandemic took hold this spring, the federal... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 1:49:16 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed with defensive tackle Chris Jones on a four-year, $85 million... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, July 14 2020 Jul 14, 2020 Tuesday, July 14, 2020 1:44:00 PM CDT July 14, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 85°
9pm 84°
10pm 82°
11pm 81°
12am 80°