A gunman carrying a shotgun and a revolver opened fire at a Houston-area high school Friday, killing 10 people, most of them students, authorities said. It was the nation’s deadliest such attack since the massacre in Florida that gave rise to a campaign by teens for gun control.
The suspected shooter, who was in custody, also had explosive devices, including a molotov cocktail, that were found in the school and nearby, said Gov. Greg Abbott, who called the assault “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools.”
The assailant intended to kill himself but gave up and told authorities that he did not have the courage to take his own life, Abbott said.
Abbott said investigators also found explosive devices, including a Molotov cocktail, in the school and nearby.
Another 10 people were wounded at the school in Santa Fe, a city of about 13,000 people roughly 48 kilometers southeast of Houston. One hospital reported treating eight wounded patients. Six were treated and released. One was listed in critical condition, and another in fair condition.
Michael Farina, 17, said he was on the other side of campus when the shooting began and thought it was a fire drill. He was holding a door open for special education students in wheelchairs when a principal came bounding down the hall and telling everyone to run. Another teacher yelled out, “It is real!”
Students were led to take cover behind a car shop across the street from the school. Some still did not feel safe and began jumping the fence behind the shop to run even farther away, Farina said.
A law enforcement official identified a person in custody in the shooting as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, also 17.
The official was not authorized to discuss the shooting by name and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.
The suspect used a shotgun and .38-revolver obtained from his father, who owned them legally, Abbott said. It was not clear whether the father knew his son had taken them.
One or two other people of interest were being interviewed about the attack, Abbott said.
Earlier, President Donald Trump said the situation was “not looking good.”
“School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!” Trump tweeted.
School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
A gunman opened fire at a Texas high school on Friday, wounding an as yet unknown number of people before the situation was “contained,” officials said.
The incident took place at Santa Fe High School in the city of the same name, located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Houston in Galveston County.
“There was someone that walked in with a shotgun and started shooting, and this girl got shot in the leg,” an eyewitness identified as Nikki told local television station KTRK.
Suspect in custody
The suspect was in custody, the school’s assistant principal, Cris Richardson, told CNN.
“This morning, an incident occurred at the high school involving an active shooter. The situation is active, but has been contained. There have been confirmed injuries,” the Santa Fe school district said in a statement.
“Law enforcement will continue to secure the building and initiate all emergency management protocols to release and move students to another location.”
Other schools in the district were not affected, it added.
The shooting was the latest in what has become an all-too-familiar situation in American schools, with shootings a near-daily occurrence.
Earlier this year, 17 students and staff were killed in a shooting at a Florida high school -- a massacre that prompted survivors to launch a grassroots campaign against gun violence.
In Texas, the eyewitness, Nikki, said students fled the school in a panic, and several other students told local media they heard multiple gunshots.
Parent Richard Allen told KTRK he arrived at the school soon after the shooting and reported seeing a number of victims being taken away in ambulances.
“My son said someone went into the art room and started shooting a lot of the kids,” Allen said.
Student Paige Curry told local media that she heard gunshots and then a fire alarm, after which students were taken out by teachers to a nearby gas station.
“I saw some girl -- she had, you know, she got shot in the kneecap, I guess. So she had a bandage around it. She was limping and then the firemen came and got her,” another student, who gave his first name as Tyler, told CBS.
A large contingent of police as well as agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were responding to the incident.
Television footage showed students being led out of the school. Some students were evacuated to a nearby auto shop, where parents were picking up their children, according to KHOU TV.
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