- The Washington Times - Friday, May 18, 2018

A law enforcement official identified the suspected gunman in a deadly mass shooting at a Texas high school Friday morning as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, The Associated Press reported.

The gunman descended on the school and opened fire, claiming the lives of at least eight people, the majority of them students.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said at a news conference that there were between eight to 10 fatalities, but warned these were still initial reports. CNN later reported that 10 people were dead, nine students and one adult.

He also said the 17-year-old gunman was arrested and one person was detained as well. Both were believed to be students at the school, according to the sheriff.

Mr. Gonzalez says the majority of the dead are students.

School officials did not have an exact number of people injured.

Santa Fe Independent School District tweeted that possible explosives have been found in and around the campus. The school has been evacuated.

Police urged people in the area to be on alert for any suspicious devices and to alert authorities if they see anything out of place.

The scene is now considered contained according to Santa Fe High School’s Facebook page.

President Donald Trump tweeted about the situation.

“School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!”

Initial reports said students were conducting a fire drill, but officials say they believe the fire alarm was pulled in the shooting, a characteristic seen in other school massacres. Local affiliate KTRK said the gunman walked into an art class and began firing what appeared to be a shotgun.

Vice President Mike Pence says he and Mr. Trump have been briefed on the school shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston.

Mr. Pence said the students, families, teachers and all those affected should know: “‘We’re with you. You’re in our prayers and I know you are in the prayers of the American people.”

First lady Melania Trump is also weighing on Twitter. She says, “My heart goes out to Santa Fe and all of Texas today.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tweeted that they were responding to the scene.

Santa Fe High School is located outside of Houston in Galveston County.

Gov. Greg Abbott was joined on scene by Sen. Ted Cruz for a briefing this afternoon, and Sen. John Cornyn plans to travel to the area today as well.

Mr. Cornyn said he’s offered any help needed to local authorities, but it’s still an ongoing situation.

“I did talk to the Deputy Sheriff, in the Sheriff’s Office there to try to offer some assistance and to see if there’s anything we can do to help. But until we know the facts and the circumstances, it’s hard to comment on what happened,” said he said at an event in Kileen, Texas earlier in the day.

Mr. Cruz thanked first responders and the officer at the school for acting quickly to help.

“We are so grateful for the first responders who rushed to the scene to protect the safety of the students, and we give thanks for the armed officer who intercepted the gunman and brought the suspect into custody,” Mr. Cruz, Texas Republican, said in a statement.

Mr. Abbott confirmed 10 people have been killed in the shooting and another 10 wounded. He added that he’s spoken to President Trump and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and others in the administration who have offered federal aid.

He said that the suspected gunman carried a .38 revolver and explosive devices were found in his home and around the school. The gun is believed to be owned by his father.

The governor said there needs to be more action than “thoughts and prayers.”

“We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families. It’s time in Texas that we take action to step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again in the history in the state of Texas,” Mr. Abbott said at a press conference. Mr. Cruz also expressed his frustration at the continued violence in the state.

“Texas has seen too many of these,” Mr. Cruz said referring to the bombings in Austin earlier this year and the shooting in Sutherland Springs last fall.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said that parents need to be vigilant about their weapons and make sure their children do not have access to them. He also said that schools need to rethink how they’re designed to prevent easy access to those wanting to do harm.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.

• Sally Persons can be reached at spersons@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide