SANTA FE, Texas— Nine students and one teacher were killed, and nearly a dozen more were injured, Friday during a mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Galveston County. The shooter, identified as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, was taken into custody and a second person, 18, has also been detained and believed to be an accomplice.
Pagourtzis, who is being held at the Galveston County Jail, is charged with capital murder and has been denied bond. The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office said additional charges may follow.
“It is with great sadness that I stand here today to share with you that we experienced an unthinkable tragedy at our high school this morning. We are grieving the loss of members of our SFISD family. We have received an outpouring of support from across the state, and we appreciate your continued prayers for our students, staff and community,” said Dr. Leigh Wall, Superintendent of Schools, Santa Fe ISD.
According to Santa Fe ISD officials, there have been explosive devices — including pipe bombs and pressure cookers — found in the high school and surrounding areas adjacent to the high school. Because of the threat of explosive items, community members should be on the look-out for suspicious packages and anything that looks out of place. Officials warn citizens to not touch any items out of place and call 911 as we have agencies that can respond.
Statement by Pagourtzis’ family:
We are saddened and dismayed by yesterday’s events at Santa Fe High School. We extend our most heartfelt prayers and condolences to all of the victims. We also wish to thank all the first responders from all over Texas that assisted in rendering aid and support.
We are as shocked and confused as anyone else by these events that occurred. We are gratified by the public comments made by other Santa Fe High School students that show Dimitri as we know him: a smart, quiet, sweet boy. While we remain mostly in the dark about the specifics of yesterday’s tragedy, what we have learned from media reports seems incompatible with the boy we love.
We share the public’s hunger for answers as to why this happened, and will await the outcome of the investigation before speaking about these events. We have been and will continue to cooperate with the authorities conducting the investigation, and ask for the public’s patience while it moves forward.
We ask the public to please extend privacy, both to the victims and to our own family, as all of us try process these events, and begin the healing process.
The Pagourtzis Family
President Donald Trump expressed support and love for the victims, asking for comfort of the victims and their families.
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The shooting began shortly before 8 a.m. after a fire alarm sounded. The suspected shooter is a 17-year-old male who attends the school, authorities said.
Students reported seeing the suspect wearing a trench coat, a t-shirt with ‘Born to Kill’ written on it and army boots. They said the suspect was quiet and stayed to himself. Some witnesses told the media they believe the suspect had been bullied in the past.
Student said shortly after seeing the suspected shooter, they heard a fire alarm (which was strange to them at that time of the morning) then heard the shots ring out once they stepped into the halls.
Santa Fe Sophomore Dakota Shrader described what she saw unfold.
“I’m still scared, my heart is broken for all these people. It’s just something that I did not want to go through, especially on a Friday,” Shrader said. “As soon as I heard that alarm, it didn’t sound like the fire alarm so I was scared wondering what that alarm was and as soon as we got outside, ‘run, run, run’ is all I heard.”
[Student describes scene at Santa Fe High School]
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At least three people were transported to University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston. Dr. David Marshall, UTMB chief nursing officer, confirmed during a live news conference that two adults and one juvenile were brought in for treatment.
Officer John Barnes, a former Houston police officer currently serving as a Santa Fe ISD officer, was shot in the upper torso near his arm and was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition.
A 16-year-old boy was shot in the leg and is in good condition. The third victim, a middle-age woman, was also shot in the leg and is listed in good condition.
Multiple patients were transported to various hospitals for treatment. Some have since been released.
HCA Healthcare’s Gulf Coast Division’s Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, a Level II Trauma Center, discharged six of the eight patients it was treating from Santa Fe High School, and Mainland Medical Center discharged the two patients it received. One patient is in fair condition and another patient remains in critical condition at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center.
“Our hearts are with the families in Santa Fe right now. We were requested by area facilities to provide platelets and O-negative red cells. Thank you to our Commit for Life donors for making sure we had product on the shelf today. If you would like to donate to ensure we continue to have a constant supply, visit giveblood.org to schedule an appointment,” said Joshua Buckley, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. “It’s a great time to remind the public this is why we always want to have blood of the shelves. A situation like this can happen at any time, which is why the need for blood is constant.”
In addition, a blood donation mobile blood bank, provided by MD Anderson Cancer Center, will be set up in front of Jennie Sealy Hospital, on the west end of the building (near R. Waverley Smith Pavilion) from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, donors can report to the hospital conference room #2 (in the lobby on Level 2, adjacent to the gift shop) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parking will be validated for donors.
After the shooter was in custody, law enforcement thoroughly swept the school searching for victims. Many of the students were hiding in closets and other areas.
“At one point there were students that were coming out from different hiding places, and so our search was continuing to make sure there weren’t other students that were still afraid and may be hiding, or staff, so we don’t know if anybody else was there or if there were additional fatalities or injuries,” Gonzalez said.
We are assisting @SantaFeISD with a multiple-casualty incident at Santa Fe High School. This is no longer an active shooting situation and the injured are being treated. #hounews pic.twitter.com/m7Wuauk9jk
— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) May 18, 2018
Students were transferred to Alamo Gym on Highway 6, where they were released to their parents and guardians.
One mother described the pain she felt when she could not locate her son.
“Kids everywhere and my heart was just broke because I couldn’t get a hold of him and I knew he was inside and there’s no feeling in the world that can describe how I felt. I couldn’t breathe,” the mother explained. “I thank God that he’s here and I feel for every kid and every parent, I don’t even know how this happened. It’s insane.”
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A Santa Fe H.S. pitcher and University of Houston commit, Rome Shubert, announced via Twitter that he was among the injured. He said he was shot in thee back of the head, and was thankful God spared his life.
I’m so greatful and blessed that god spared me life today. Today I was shot in the back of the head but i am completely okay and stable.
— Romeshubert❄ (@rome_shubert17) May 18, 2018
“We have done an amazing job to get these students out of the building safely and to reunite them with parents,” said Santa Fe High School Assistant Principal Dr. Richardson.”Be there for your student to comfort and to keep a good eye on the student and to make sure that if they want to talk about it or get sad or frustrated about the whole situation, just be there for them. This has been very traumatizing for all of our students. ”
Multiple agencies, including the FBI, ATF, Texas Department of Public Safety, were on site to support the district and community.
The shooting comes just three months after the school was placed on lockdown for sounds of shots being fired on the campus following social media threats.
Government officials in Texas and around the nation released statements about the shooting.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick:
“We are mourning the victims of the tragic school shooting in Santa Fe. We are heartbroken and outraged by this loss. Gov. Greg Abbott and I are committed to using every resource we have to respond today and protect our students going forward. We are grateful for the emergency officers and school administrators’ swift action in getting students to safety as well as the exemplary work that is being done now by our law enforcement.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos:
“My heart is heavy from watching the horrific events that unfolded at Santa Fe High School today. My prayers are with each student, parent, educator and first responder impacted.
“Our schools must be safe and nurturing environments for learning. No student should have to experience the trauma suffered by so many today and in similar events prior. We simply cannot allow this trend to continue.
“Every day, the Federal Commission on School Safety is working to identify proven ways to prevent violence and keep our students safe at school. Our work remains urgent. Our nation must come together and address the underlying issues that lead to such tragic and senseless loss of life.”
Senator Boris Miles:
“Enough is enough. It is obvious ‘thoughts and prayers’ aren’t producing the change we need to keep our kids safe. Earlier today, Governor Abbott said he would host ’roundtable meetings’ to discuss gun violence. We have been talking about gun violence and common sense gun legislation for years. We need action and bold leadership to change our laws to prevent another tragedy at our schools. I stand ready to work together with my colleagues in the Texas Legislature so we can prevent another tragedy from ever occurring again. Our children deserve better.”
Governor Greg Abbott ordered Texas flags across the state to be lowered to half-staff in memory of those who lost their lives in the school shooting at Santa Fe High School. Flags should remain at half-staff through sunset on Tuesday.
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) May 18, 2018
My heart goes out to Santa Fe and all of Texas today.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) May 18, 2018
#UPDATE Possible explosive devices have been located at the school and off campus. Law enforcement is in the process of rendering them safe. School has been evacuated. Call 911 if you see any suspicious item. #HouNews #SantaFeISD
— Santa Fe ISD (@SantaFeISD) May 18, 2018
Our hearts are breaking for our neighbors in @SantaFeISD. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the students, staff and families affected by this senseless tragedy. We offer our full support to @SantaFeISD during this difficult time.
— Houston ISD (@HoustonISD) May 18, 2018
@davidhogg111 active shooter reported at SantaFe high school. Texas. I have reports coming in, 4 people shot and his barricaded in a classroom.
— Franca Smecca🌍 (@FrancaSmecca) May 18, 2018
Please pause and say a prayer for the students, faculty, and officers of Santa Fe High School as they are enduring a shooting. #ThingsHaveToChange
— Clements Football (@CHighFB) May 18, 2018
There was a shooting at Santa Fe high school this morning.. an officer down.. praying for the students and staff..
— Iszela Celeste (@Zela_laa) May 18, 2018
Our hearts go out to the nearby Santa Fe community. Our Critical Incident Counseling Team is en route to assist First Responders. #SantaFe.
— FBCSO Texas (@FBCSO) May 18, 2018
Statement from the Tilman Fertitta family: pic.twitter.com/klVAx2oj0A
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) May 18, 2018
— Chris Paul (@CP3) May 18, 2018