- The Washington Times - Friday, May 18, 2018

A gunman descended on a Texas high school Friday morning and opened fire, claiming the lives of 10 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 accused gunman, identified as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 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.

SEE ALSO: Dimitrios Pagourtzis named as suspect in Texas school shooting

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.

The number of injured is unknown, but CNN reported that three helicopters were in the school’s parking lot, while officials were seen wheeling a stretcher.

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 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.

This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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

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