Suspect Arrested in Deadly Texas School Shooting

Law enforcement officers respond to Santa Fe High School after an active shooter was reported on campus, Friday, May 18, 2018, in Santa Fe, Texas. ( Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via AP)

(CN) – Police have arrested a student suspected of fatally shooting 10 people at a high school near Houston early Friday morning and the school district said possible explosives have been found on and off campus.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said 10 people were killed and 10 more were wounded in a Friday morning shooting at Santa Fe High School, 30 miles southeast of Houston. Most of the fatalities are said to be students.

The suspect in custody has been identified by the Associated Press as 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis. Another person has also been detained in connection with the shooting.

Pagourtzis is being held on capital murder charges with no bond, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office said.

Authorities said Friday afternoon that a shotgun and a pistol were used in the shooting. Pagourtzis’ father owned the weapons legally but police said there was no evidence the father knew the guns were taken.

Pagourtzis had reportedly posted a photo of a shirt that said “Born to Kill” on his Facebook page, along with a military uniform with various symbols on it. His account has been removed by Facebook.

Santa Fe High School shooting suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, is being held on capital murder charges with no bond. Booking photo courtesy of Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.

“This was one of the most heinous attacks in the history of Texas schools,” Governor Abbott said at a press conference. “We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families.”

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican who joined Abbott at this press conference, said “once again, Texas has seen the face of evil.”

Abbott called for measures that would create “speedy background checks” and keep guns out of the hands of “evil individuals.”

The Santa Fe Independent School District said in a tweet that possible explosives have been found at the school and off campus, and that the school has been evacuated.

“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,” the school district tweeted.

The school was scheduled to hold its commencement ceremony on Saturday.

Dakota Shrader, a 10th grader, told Houston’s CBS affiliate KHOU that alarms went off during first period and everybody rushed outside, and as teachers frantically tried to move students to safety, they heard gunshots and everyone started running.

Shrader said her friend, a 17-year-old student, was shot in the leg in a hallway at the school.

“I just ran to the nearest forest so I could hide and I called my mom,” Shrader said.

At least three medical rescue helicopters were on the scene.

Another student told a TV reporter that she was sitting in her geometry class Friday morning when the alarm went off and her teacher said, “There’s not supposed to be a fire alarm today.”

They walked outside and teachers told them to run, she said. They ran across a highway and hid behind a car wash.

People embrace outside the Alamo Gym where students and parents wait to reunite following a shooting at Santa Fe High School Friday, May 18, 2018, in Santa Fe, Texas. ( Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

“It all happened within a matter of 20 minutes. One minute we’re sitting there doing math problems, the next thing you know you’re getting told to run for your life,” the student said.

Local resident Joshua Varney told Courthouse News that his daughter attended the high school until February. He said she had been enrolled in an art class where part of the shooting reportedly took place.

“She wasn’t there today, thank God,” he said.

Varney’s mother, Juanita Martin, said she and the children’s mother went to collect Varney’s other children – all of whom attend other schools in Santa Fe – but had trouble returning to their homes because police had closed Highway 6 amid reports of possible explosives in the area.

Varney’s neighbor, Bernice Charanza, is a senior at Santa Fe High School. She said her brother, Chance Charanza, is a freshman and has been safely accounted for.

“That’s crazy, and it’s just down the street,” said Collette Frysz, another local.

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday, “We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support and love to everyone affected by this horrible attack in Texas. To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High School – we are with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever.”

Later Friday, Trump ordered U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff to honor the victims in Santa Fe.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings posted a statement calling for Congress and Trump to act in light of the nation’s latest mass shooting.

“History will not look kindly upon those elected officials who failed to act in the face of repeated mass murders of our children,” Rawlings said. “Spare us your thoughts and prayers and do your job.”

There were 1,447 students enrolled at Santa Fe High School for the 2016-2017 school year, during which it had a ratio of one teacher for every 17 students, according to the Texas Tribune.

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