At least 10 killed in high school shooting in Texas

Gunman named as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a student at the Sante Fe school

Multiple people were killed on Friday in a shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. Video: Reuters

 

At least 10 people have died after a 17-year-old student opened fire at a high school in Texas on Friday, in the latest in a series of school shootings in the US this year.

The gunman was named as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a student at Santa Fe high school. He was charged with capital murder on Friday. Police also detained two people in connection with the incident.

Shooting suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis (17). Photograph: AFP/Galveston County Sheriff’s Department
Shooting suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis (17). Photograph: AFP/Galveston County Sheriff’s Department

Two weapons were used in the attack – a shotgun and a .38 revolver. The weapons were owned by the suspect’s father, Texas governor Greg Abbott said.

Search warrants were issued for two residences, Mr Abbott said, and explosive devices were found at the school and other locations.

The attack at Santa Fe high school took place shortly before 8am on Friday. The gunman opened fire in a classroom shortly after the school day had begun.

Nine students and one teacher were killed in the attack, according to local sheriff Ed Gonzalez. Ten people were injured and were being treated in local hospitals. About 1,500 students attend Santa Fe high school, which is located about 50km south of Houston.

According to Mr Abbott, the suspect had intended to take his own life, but in the end changed his mind during the attack.

‘Determined’

Speaking at an event in the White House shortly after the shooting, president Donald Trump said his administration was “determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools, and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others”.

“This has been going on too long in our country. Too many years. Too many decades now,” he said. “We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support and love to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack. To the students, families, teachers, and personnel at Santa Fe High: We’re with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever.”

US president Donald Trump said the shooting in Texas was heartbreaking. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
US president Donald Trump said the shooting in Texas was heartbreaking. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

But despite pledges to tackle gun laws after February’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, very little has been done at federal level to tighten gun legislation. The president and vice-president Mike Pence addressed the annual conference of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Dallas earlier this month, pledging to protect the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms.

Democrats and gun control activists urged congress to respond to the latest gun attack. “Every day that we fail to act on gun violence, we are failing our children,” former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Twitter. “This should be a day for soul searching across America – and that soul searching should be matched with legislating to begin dealing with this national shame.”

Sutherland Springs

Friday’s shooting was the second major mass shooting to take place in the state of Texas in the last six months. In November, a 26-year-old opened fire in a church in Sutherland Springs near San Antonio, killing 26 people. Speaking at the scene on Friday, senator Ted Cruz recalled the events in Sutherland Springs in November. “Once again Texas has seen the face of evil. What happened today in Santa Fe defies words,” he said.

Mr Abbott pledged to hold a series of round-table discussions next week to discuss the issue of gun crime and “make sure this tragedy is never repeated again”.

He said that while he would continue to protect second amendment rights on gun ownership, the aim was “to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose an immediate danger to others”. Among the measures to be considered are a strengthening of background checks, greater resources for school safety, and additional funding for mental health services in schools.

Mr Abbott directly addressed the parents who lost children in the attack. “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 through what has to be the greatest challenge they have ever had to deal with,” he said.