On May 18th, 2018, a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas ended with ten people dead and thirteen injured. Eight students and two teachers were killed. The suspected shooter was taken into custody and later identified by police as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at the school. He is charged with capital murder of multiple persons and aggravated assault against public servant. He is being held without bail and if convicted, faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life.
The incident occurred in the school’s art complex which consists of four rooms connected to one another with interior hallways, and other rooms. Witnesses said the two targeted classrooms are connected by a ceramics room the shooter accessed by damaging a door window. The shooting began around 7:30 a.m., when Pagourtzis entered the school armed with a shotgun and a .38 revolver, both guns legally belonged to his father. Witnesses say the shooter entered the art classroom first where he fatally shot students. One wounded victim told reporters the shooter walked into the classroom and pointed at another person, saying “I’m going to kill you”.
According to a witness, students barricaded themselves in the art classroom storage closet and the shooter shot through the door with a shotgun. He left the art room briefly, causing students to leave the closet and attempt to barricade the art room door but he pushed the door open. Upon spotting a student he knew, he said “Surprise!” and shot the student in the chest.
Law enforcement received the first calls at 7:32 a.m., according to an affidavit filed in Galveston County court and officers engaged him within four minutes and allowed for the safe evacuation of other students and faculty. The first one to confront Pagourtzis was the school’s police officer John Barnes, who tried entering the art complex looking for the shooter. Pagourtzis appeared to be ready for Barnes and fired at him, hitting him in the upper arm. Barnes was listed in stable but critical condition at University of Texas Medical Branch. Other law enforcement officers arriving at the scene exchanged a volley of gunfire with the suspect.
Authorities say at around 8:02 a.m. — 30 minutes after the shooting started — Pagourtzis exited one of the art classrooms and surrendered after being injured during the shoot-out with police. It’s unclear how long Pagourtzis was actively shooting students and teachers inside the school. Authorities recovered several homemade explosive devices at the school, inside Pagourtzis’ vehicle and in his home.
Investigators offered no immediate motive for the shooting but said the shooter stated he intended to kill everyone he shot and wanted to spare the students he liked, so he could “have his story told.” He also stated to police that he had planned to kill himself but he did not have the courage to take his own life. Eight students and two teachers were killed in the shooting. The victims were identified as Jared Black, 17; Shana Fisher, 16; Christian Riley Garcia, 15; Aaron Kyle McLeod, 15; Angelique Ramirez, 15; Christopher Stone, 17; Kimberly Vaughan, 14; Sabika Sheikh, 17; Cynthia Tisdale, 63 and Glenda Anne Perkins, 64.
The mother of 16 year old victim Shana Fisher said her daughter had repeatedly turned down the shooter’s advances in the last four months, including a public confrontation that occurred one week before the shooting. The high school junior allegedly told her parents Pagourtzis told her he was going to kill her after the confrontation.