SANTA FE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Authorities in southeast Texas responded to Santa Fe High School on Friday morning after reports of an active shooter on the campus. The situation erupted shortly before 8 a.m. at the high school, located between Houston and Galveston, and at least ten people are dead and ten were wounded.
Law enforcement confirmed the suspect in custody is 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis.
Eleventh grade student Christopher Kurrass told CBS11 News Pagourtzis wasn’t an outsider but he wasn’t a really popular student either.
“He was actually a pretty nice kid,” said Kurrass, who was working on school project in his first period class when the fire alarm went off. “Nobody was expecting this… nobody.”
Governor Greg Abbott confirmed Pagourtzis used a shotgun and .38 revolver in the shooting that belonged to his father.
Investigators also found information online and in Pagourtzis’ personal belongings that shed light on his state of mind.
“We also know information already that the shooter has information contained in his journal and cellphone that he said that not only did he want to commit the shooting, but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting. As you probably know, he gave himself up and admitted at the time that he didn’t have the courage to commit the suicide that he wanted to take his own life earlier,” said Abbott.
According to assistant principal Dr. Cris Richardson a second person was detained, according to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, but that individual’s connection to the shooting has not been released.
Police have not released the name of the 18-year-old student who was detained.
“The campus has been cleared of all students and staff members,” said Santa Fe ISD Police Chief Walter Braun.
Leila Butler is a student at the school. She told KTRK-TV in Houston that fire alarms went off and students exited from their classrooms. That is when some students reported hearing gunfire. Butler was sheltered with teachers and other students near the campus when she spoke with the television station.
“As soon as the alarms went off, everybody just started running outside,” said student Dakota Shrader. “And next thing you know, everybody looked and you hear ‘boom, boom, boom,’ and I just ran as fast as I could to the nearest floor so I could hide, and I called my mom.”
Other witnesses told KTRK-TV that the shooting happened in an art class, and one student told the television station that a girl was shot. “There was someone that walked in with a shotgun and started shooting,” the student said, “and this girl got shot in the leg.” That student did not get a good look at the shooter, because she was running to hide.
“A kid came out. He had a black-like trench coat on, a sawed-off shotgun with a pistol grip, and I seen something sharp on his chest,” recalled student Damon Rabon. “Then, he turned, and instead of looking our way, he just grabbed the backpack and went right back into the art room.”
“We shut the door in our classroom, turned off all the lights, did everything we could to get the students safe,” continued Rabon. “Then, the teacher actually ran and pulled the fire alarm, because we had no service to call 911 to let anyone know that there was a shooter.”
Tyler Turner knows the person who pulled the fire alarm. “He saw a guy walking with a gun, so he pulled the fire alarm,” the student said. Turner reported hearing seven gunshots before running to a nearby car wash and meeting his mother. Turner also saw a girl with a bandage around her kneecap get taken away by firefighters.
Another student told KTRK-TV that he heard as many as 15 to 20 gunshots.
“I heard so many people saying there were gunshots and that people were dead,” added student Megan Hunter.
A police officer with the Santa Fe ISD Police Department is among the wounded.
Paul Reyes is a spokesperson for UTMB. He explained that three people are being treated at his hospital. That includes the officer in critical condition with a gunshot wound to his arm, a middle-aged female who is in good condition with a gunshot wound to her leg, and a 16-year-old male who is also in good condition with a gunshot wound to his leg.
Dr. David Marshall, chief nursing officer with UTMB, spoke to the media Friday afternoon. He turned visibly emotional when speaking about this incident. “There are a lot of personal feelings that people are having,” Marshall said. “As the father of a 16-year-old at Friendswood High School, this hurts.”
Another eight students were being treated at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, said medical director Dr. Safi Madain, all suffering gunshot wounds. Six of those patients have already been discharged, and one is in fair condition. Meanwhile, two more patients were treated at Mainland Medical Center in Texas City. They have already been released.
CNN reported that Pagourtzis was also among the injured. Investigators have no record of him purchasing any guns.
President Donald Trump addressed the Santa Fe shooting before a speech on Friday morning. “This has been going on too long in our country, too many years, too many decades now,” he stated. “We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack to the students, families, teachers and personnel.”
“We’re with you in this tragic hour, and will be with you forever,” the President added.
Cameras caught children limping away from the school building. Police officers could be seen escorting a line of students away from the campus. Kids were handing backpacks over to authorities. Teachers were loading children into school buses and taking them to the school district’s Alamo Gym to meet up with parents.
A statement from the Santa Fe Independent School District said that the campus was involved in an active shooter incident and had been placed into lockdown. Although the suspect has been taken into custody, law enforcement officials continue to conduct an investigation inside of the building.
The school district and police later confirmed that authorities found suspicious devices in and around the campus. “There have been explosive devices found in the high school and surrounding area adjacent to the high school,” Braun said Friday morning. “Community members should be on the lookout for any suspicious items.”
Law enforcement sources told CBS News that the devices included pressure cookers and pipe bombs.
“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,” said Dr. Leigh Wall with the Santa Fe ISD on Friday morning. “We are grieving the loss of members of our Santa Fe ISD family.”
Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered Texas flags to be flown at half-staff in memory of those who died in Friday’s shooting.
This is the third school shooting in eight days, and the 22nd in the United States since the beginning of the year. An attack in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead in February, and ignited a larger push for gun control as surviving teens launched a national grassroots movement calling for reform.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings had harsh words for federal lawmakers who have been commenting on the Sante Fe shooting, which he shared in a Friday morning tweet. “History will not look kindly upon those elected officials who failed to act in the face of repeated mass murders of our children,” he said. “Spare us your thoughts and prayers and do your job.”
KTRK-TV reported that a similar incident happened at this same campus back in February. Students then reported hearing popping sounds coming from outside of the school building. Police were called to the high school, but determined that the situation was a false alarm.
Pagourtzis is being held on Capital Murder with no bond. Additional charges may follow, according to the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.