BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Number of fatalities in Texas school shooting is between 8 and 10: police say

Now Reading:

Number of fatalities in Texas school shooting is between 8 and 10: police say

© Copyright :
HCSO/Handout via REUTERS
Text size Aa Aa

Multiple fatalities were reported at a southeast Texas high school on Friday after a 17-year-old student clad in a trench coat and armed with three weapons allegedly barged inside a classroom and fired several shots, witnesses, police and law enforcement sources said.

Nine students and one teacher were killed in the shooting at Santa Fe High School, according to several law enforcement sources who cautioned that the number could change.

The suspected shooter was identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis and was taken into custody shortly after the shooting, sources said told NBC News.

Sources said that Pagourtzis had at least three weapons with him: a shotgun, an assault-style rifle, and a pistol.

Another student, whom Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez described as a "person of interest" in the shooting, was also in police custody.

Dustin Severin, a 17-year-old student, told local NBC affiliate KPRCthat he saw Pagourtzis in the hallway shortly before the bullets started flying — and that he was wearing his usual outfit.

"He wears a trench coat every day, and it's like 90 degrees out here," Severin said.

Pagourtzis, Severin added, was the victim of bullying — and not just by other students.

"He's been picked on by coaches before, for smelling bad and stuff like that," Severin said. "And he doesn't really talk to very many people either. He keeps to himself."

Among the half-dozen or so wounded was a Santa Fe police officer and "the extent of his injuries are unknown," Gonzalez said. He did not identify the injured officer.

Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, told NBC News, "It does not look good for the officer."

Police reported finding what appeared to be explosive devices both in the school and outside on the campus and were in process of defusing them.

"Possible explosive devices have been located at the school and off campus," the Santa Fe Independent School District tweeted. "Law enforcement is in the process of rendering them safe. School has been evacuated."

Shaken students said they heard a fire alarm go off and then several shots rang out just before 7:30 a.m. local time (8:30 a.m. ET).

"Nobody knew what to do," a weeping student named Dakota Shrader told KPRC. "There was nothing we could do but run."

Other students said the shooting happened in an art class.

"It was very scary," another female student told reporters. "My brother was in the classroom when it happened."

Students evacuated from the school were met outside by tearful and terrified parents while Galveston County sheriff's deputies secured the scene

"I sped down here as fast as I could," Shannon Curry, whose daughter Paige Curry is a junior, told KPRC. "She called me and said there were shots at the school. ... I told her to listen to her teacher, to stay down."

While the drama was unfolding, a flag-toting man wearing a Make America Great Again cap and a pistol by his side suddenly appeared outside the school. He was immediately stopped by police.

"This idiot is walking down the street with a pistol by his side," one outraged man told the local affiliate. "I believe in the Second Amendment. But this is a crime scene. ... This is a slap in the face."

In Washington, President Donald Trump weighed in on the deadly drama.

"This have been going on too long in our country, too many years, too many decades now," Trump said. "We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support and love to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack. "

Santa Fe is a city of 13,000 about 30 miles southeast of Houston and more than 200 miles east of Sutherland Springs, Texas, where a gunman barged into a church last fall and murdered 26 people — almost half of them children — with a Ruger assault-type rifle.

Shrader, the terrified student, said she's not sure if she'll ever be able to walk back into the school.

"This is the place where we're supposed to be safe," she said. "I don't feel safe in this town anymore."