The United States suffered yet another shooting massacre this morning at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas (located about 40 miles south of Houston). Witnesses say the gunman stormed into an art class, yelled "Surprise!" and opened fire. Law enforcement officials say 10 people are dead - eight students and two teachers - and 13 others have been wounded. Reportedly two law enforcement officers were among those injured.
Authorities say two people have detained in the shooting at Santa Fe High School. The Galveston County Sheriff's Office identified the shooting suspect as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old high school junior. Pagourtzis reportedly used two weapons to commit the massacre: a shotgun and a .38 revolver. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said both guns were legally owned by the suspect's father.
Explosive devices were also found at the school and in the surrounding areas, according to Chief Walter Braun of Santa Fe Independent School District Police. These devices included pipe bombs, pressure cookers, a molotov cocktail and a CO2 device. Braun says community members should be on alert for "suspicious devices." He warns, "Anything you see, please do not touch it.”
Gov. Abbot said information on Pagourtzis' computer suggested that he wanted to kill others, and then kill himself. However, in the end, "he gave himself up and admitted at the time he didn't have the courage to commit the suicide." He is currently booked at Galveston County Jail, held on capital murder, without bond. Additional charges may follow.
At 8AM, the sheriff of Harris County tweeted that his officers were responding to a "multiple-casualty incident" and that one suspect was in custody and a second suspect detained. It is also unclear whether the shooter was a student.
The school was put on lockdown after the shooter, reported to be male, walked into an art class with a gun and began firing.
A Santa Fe High School student described the moment that people inside the school heard gunshots, with 14-year-old junior Angelica Martinez reportedly telling CNN: "So, it was just a normal-like class day. We all were doing our work in first period. And then all of a sudden like it's a fire drill. So we followed the fire drill procedures. And then we went outside. Like we were all standing there, but not even five minutes later, we all start hearing gunshots."
Following the incident, the school district issued the following statement:
"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. Details will be released as we receive updated information. Law enforcement will continue to secure the building and initiate all emergency management protocols to release and move students to another location. All other campuses are operating under their regular schedules. At this time, students from the high school are being transported by SFISD transportation to the Alamo Gym located at 13306 Highway 6. Parents may reunite with their students at this location. The district will continue to keep you updated as information is available. Safety and communication are our top priorities."
The Santa Fe Police, Galveston County Sheriff's Office, and other local law enforcement agencies responded to the scene this morning. In addition, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded, according to a statement on Twitter.
Other nearby school districts also put protective measures in place, with Dickinson ISD tweeting that they were in "protect mode" roughly an hour ago, but claiming in a second tweet that this was no longer the case and "normal daily operations" would continue at this time.
A video from the scene appeared to show students from the school being evacuated onto a sports field and emptying their backpacks onto the grass.