Saturday 23 June 2018

Student in 'Born to Kill' T-shirt shoots 10 dead in US high school

Police at Santa Fe High School after the shooting. Photo: AP, Reuters
Police at Santa Fe High School after the shooting. Photo: AP, Reuters

David Millward

Ten people were killed at a school in Santa Fe in Texas yesterday after an armed student burst into an art class and opened fire.

Police said later the suspect, Dimitrios Pagourtzis (17), was charged with the murders.

According to a local news outlet, witnesses said the gunman wore a 'Born to Kill' T-shirt, a trench coat and army boots as he stormed the building in what is believed to be the 22nd school shooting in the US this year. It is thought most of the victims were students, but adults, including staff, were also said to be among the dead.

Ed Gonzales, the Harris County Sheriff, said in addition to Pagourtzis, a second "person of interest" was being detained.

Seventeen-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who has been taken into custody and identified as the suspect in the deadly school shooting in Santa Fe. Photo: AP
Seventeen-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who has been taken into custody and identified as the suspect in the deadly school shooting in Santa Fe. Photo: AP

After the incident came under control, police said explosive devices had been found at the school and in the surrounding area.

Ten people were hurt in the attack, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said. Speaking to reporters before the teen was identified, Abbott told reporters that the suspect had used a shotgun and a .38 revolver taken from his father.

"Not only did he want to commit the shooting, but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting," Abbott said, citing a police review of the suspect's journals. "He didn't have the courage to commit suicide."

 

President Donald Trump, under pressure for appearing to row back on promises made after the last mass school shooting, said on television: "This has been going on for too long in our country, too many years, too many decades now.

"We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our love and support. My administration is determined to do everything it can to protect our students, to protect our schools and to keep the weapons out of the hands of people who are a threat to themselves and to others."

A man hugs a woman outside the Alamo Gym where parents wait to reunite with their children followingthe shooting. Photo: AP
A man hugs a woman outside the Alamo Gym where parents wait to reunite with their children followingthe shooting. Photo: AP

According to witnesses, the gunman walked into an art class about 8am local time at Santa Fe High School, about 50km south of central Houston, and started firing. Panicked students fled for safety toward a games field.

Angelica Martinez (14) told CNN: "We were all standing [outside], but not even five minutes later, we started hearing gunshots. And then everybody starts running. The teachers were telling us to stay put, but we're all just running away."

Another student told a local TV station her classmates at the 1,400-pupil school for students aged 13 to 18 initially thought it was a fire drill. "Everybody followed normal procedure," one pupil told CNN. "The next thing we knew was that we heard three gunshots."

The president has been under pressure to tighten gun laws and had signalled he was ready to act, but he appeared to row back following a meeting with the National Rifle Association (NRA). In the aftermath of the February 14 attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida, survivors pulled all-nighters, petitioned city councils and state lawmakers, and organised protests in a grass-roots movement. Within weeks, state lawmakers adopted changes, including new weapons restrictions. The move cemented the gun-friendly state's break with the NRA. The NRA fought back with a lawsuit.

 

In late March, the teens spearheaded one of the largest student protest marches since Vietnam in Washington. Parkland survivors took to social media to express outrage and heartbreak over the Texas attack. "My heart is so heavy for the students of Santa Fe High School. It's an all too familiar feeling no one should have to experience. I am so sorry this epidemic touched your town - Parkland will stand with you now and forever," Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Jaclyn Corin said in a tweet.

Texas has some of the country's most permissive gun laws and hosted the NRA's annual conference earlier this month. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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