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1 week ago · by · 0 comments

FDA Approves First Cannabis Based Drug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a cannabis-based drug.  The drug, Epidiolex, has been approved to treat two types of epileptic syndromes. The drug’s approval comes as an increasing number of states have approved medicinal and recreational marijuana use.  Epidiolex was recommended for approval by an advisory committee in April, and the agency had until this week to make a decision.

The twice-daily oral solution is approved for use in patients 2 and older to treat two types of epileptic syndromes: Dravet syndrome, a rare genetic dysfunction of the brain that begins in the first year of life, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a form of epilepsy with multiple types of seizures that begin in early childhood, usually between 3 and 5.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement “This is an important medical advance because of the adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that supported this approval, prescribers can have confidence in the drug’s uniform strength and consistent delivery.”

The drug is the “first pharmaceutical formulation of highly-purified, plant-based cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid lacking the high associated with marijuana, and the first in a new category of anti-epileptic drugs,” according to a statement from GW Pharmaceuticals, the UK-based biopharmaceutical company that makes Epidiolex.  Justin Gover, chief executive officer of GW Pharmaceuticals, described the approval in the statement as “a historic milestone.”

He added that the drug offers families “the first and only FDA-approved cannabidiol medicine to treat two severe, childhood-onset epilepsies.”  “These patients deserve and will soon have access to a cannabinoid medicine that has been thoroughly studied in clinical trials, manufactured to assure quality and consistency, and available by prescription under a physician’s care,” Gover said.  He said Epidiolex will become available in the fall would not give any information on cost, saying only that it will be discussed with insurance companies and announced later.

Cannabidiol is one of more than 80 active cannabinoid chemicals, yet unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, it does not produce a high.  The FDA has approved synthetic versions of some cannabinoid chemicals found in the marijuana plant for other purposes, including cancer pain relief.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, up to one-third of Americans who have epilepsy have found no therapies that will control their seizures.  With this approval, Epidiolex could be a new option for those patients who have not responded to other treatments to control seizures.

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2 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Maryland Newsroom Shooting

 

 

 

In Annapolis, Maryland, five people were left dead and two others injured after a gunman armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades stormed the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper on the afternoon of June 28th.   The suspect, Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was taken into custody at the scene and was charged on Friday morning with five counts of first-degree murder.  Police say Ramos refused to cooperate with the authorities or provide his name and was identified using facial recognition technology.

The attack was covered in real time by some of the journalists who found themselves under siege. A message saying “please help us” with the address of the office building was tweeted from the account of Anthony Messenger, a summer intern. A crime reporter, Phil Davis, described how the gunman “shot through the glass door to the office” before opening fire on employees.  “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” Mr. Davis wrote.

Davis said during a phone interview that the gunman was silent as he stalked the newsroom, stopping once to reload as journalists huddled in fear under their desks.  Once the police arrived, staff members put their hands in the air and shouted, “We’re not him,” Mr. Davis recalled. The gunman was hiding under a desk as the police moved in. He did not exchange gunfire with officers when he was taken in.

Police say Ramos had a long history of conflict with the Capital Gazette, which produces a number of local newspapers along Maryland’s shore, suing journalists there for defamation and waging a social media campaign against them.  “This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said William Krampf, acting chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department. “This person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm.”

In July 2012, Mr. Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit in Maryland’s Prince George’s County Circuit Court against Capital Gazette Communications, its then editor and publisher and a former reporter, claiming that his reputation had been damaged after the newspaper published a story in 2011 about Mr. Ramos’s guilty plea in a harassment case. Three months later, he filed a fuller complaint alleging invasion of privacy.  The lawsuit was later dismissed by Judge Maureen M. Lamasney after a March 2013 hearing, in which Mr. Ramos, who represented himself, was unable to identify anything that was falsely reported in the July 2011 article nor could he cite examples about how he had been harmed. According to the appellate decision that later affirmed the dismissal, Ramos showed no understanding of defamation law.

During a press conference, Acting Deputy Chief William Krampf told reportrs that the suspect had made violent threats against the paper and the paper had been threatened the day of the shooting.  Krampf could not specifically confirm what the threats entailed or if the shooter targeted anyone specifically but did say the shooting was a targeted attack.  Those killed in the shooting were identified as longtime editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, columnist and editor John McNamara, sales assistant Rebecca Smith and editor and community reporter Wendi Winters.

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3 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Nationwide Outrage Over Family Separations Grows

 

 

 

Nationwide outrage and protests has grown over the practice of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, in violation of international human rights law. At least 3,700 immigrant children have been separated from their parents since October and Border Patrol says it has separated more than 2,300 kids since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy in April.  The separated children have been sent to detention facilities in at least 17 states.

It had long been a misdemeanor federal offense to be caught illegally entering the US, punishable by up to six months in prison.  However, the administration didn’t always refer everyone caught for prosecution. Those apprehended were swiftly put into immigration proceedings and unless they met the threshold to pursue a valid asylum claim, were quickly deported from the country.  The “zero tolerance” policy plan makes no special arrangements for those who claim asylum when apprehended and refers all apprehended for prosecution-thus the increase in family separations.  While they will be allowed to pursue their claims and could eventually be found to have a legitimate right to live in the US, they could still already have a conviction for illegal entry.

Outrage grew as images of immigrant children housed in chain-linked cages covered with foil blankets circulated through social media and news outlets.  Investigative news source ProPublica obtained audio of children desperately crying for their parents at an immigrant detention facility.   ProPublica: “The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard, they can barely breathe. They scream ‘Mami’ and ‘Papá’ over and over again, as if those are the only words they know.”  The audio can be hard to listen to for many and sparked mass outrage from both sides of the political parties.

Governors of eight states—Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, Rhode Island, Colorado, New York, North Carolina and Connecticut—said they would either withhold or recall their National Guard troops from the border, in protest of the practice of separating children.  The resources in question from each state are relatively small, so the actions a more of a strong symbolic political gesture.

American Airlines and United Airlines have asked the administration to stop transporting immigrant children who have been separated from their families aboard their companies’ planes. American Airlines said in a statement, “We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it.”   United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said, “Our Company’s shared purpose is to connect people and unite the world. This policy and its impact on thousands of children is in deep conflict with that mission and we want no part of it.”

On Wednesday, the US President signed an executive order claiming to end the separation of children from their parents at the border, by detaining them together while their legal cases go through the courts. The order does not say where the families will be detained or whether children will continue to be separated from their parents until the facilities are ready.  Critics warn the order will lead to the indefinite detention of entire families.  The order has not outlined any plans for reuniting children already separated from their families.

 

 

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4 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Massachusetts Files Suit Against Oxycontin Makers

 

 

 

 

Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit against 16 top executives of Purdue Pharma, the maker of the popular drug OxyContin, claiming they misled doctors, patients and the public about the dangers posed by the opioid-based painkiller.  Attorney General Maura Healey said “Their strategy was simple: The more drugs they sold, the more money they made—and the more people died. We found that Purdue engaged in a multibillion-dollar enterprise to mislead us about their drugs. Purdue pushed prescribers to give higher doses to keep patients on drugs for longer periods of time, without regard to the very real increased risk of addiction, overdose and death.”  Texas, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee have filed similar lawsuits in state courts against the drug maker, whose headquarters are in Stamford, Connecticut.

The Texas’ lawsuit accuses Purdue Pharma, the privately held manufacterer of OxyContin, of violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by aggressively selling its products “when it knew their drugs were potentially dangerous and that its use had a high likelihood of leading to addiction,” state Attorney General Ken Paxton said.  “As Purdue got rich from sales of its opioids, Texans and others across the nation were swept up in a public health crisis that led to tens of thousands of deaths each year due to opioid overdoses,” Paxton said.

State officials in Arizona, Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia,  — sued various pain-killer manufacturers and distributors for their roles in helping the opioid epidemic grow.  In 2007, Purdue Pharma did not admit wrongdoing when it paid $19.5 million to settle lawsuits with 26 states and the District of Columbia after being accused of aggressively marketing OxyContin to doctors while downplaying the risk of addiction.  Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas were part of that agreement while Florida and North Dakota were not.

Opioids were the cause of nearly 42,250 deaths in 2016, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   Research suggests that since heroin and opioid painkillers, (including prescription ones) act similarly in the brain.  Opioid painkillers are often referred to by some doctors as “heroin lite” and taking one (even “as directed”) can increase one’s susceptibility to becoming hooked on the other.  Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, with opioids as the number-one driver.

Deaths from opioids (including fentynals) have been rising sharply for years with an estimated 100 drug overdoses a day across the country.  Experts say the epidemic could kill nearly half a million people across America over the next decade as the crisis of addiction and overdose accelerates.

 

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Judge In Brock Turner Case, Aaron Persky Recalled

 

 

 

Aaron Persky, the California judge who drew national attention in 2016 when he sentenced Stanford student Brock Turner to just six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, was recalled on Tuesday.  He is the first judge recalled in California in more than 80 years.  Almost 60% of voters were in favor of removing Judge Persky from the Santa Clara County Superior Court, where he had served since 2003. Prosecutor Cindy Hendrickson was elected to replace him.

The recall stemmed from the case of Brock Turner, who was caught sexually assaulting a woman near a dumpster in 2015 after she had blacked out from drinking. In 2016, a jury found the 20 year old Stanford swimmer guilty on all three felony charges against him: sexual penetration with a foreign object of an intoxicated person, sexual penetration with a foreign object of an unconscious person, and intent to commit rape.

The maximum sentence in Turner’s case was 14 years but Judge Persky had sentenced him to six months.  During sentencing Judge Persky said he thought Mr. Turner would “not be a danger to others” and expressed concern that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact” on him.  His decision along with the fact that he did not mention the impact of the assault on the victim, outraged victims’ advocates nationally.

Turner served only three months before being released in September 2016.   He also received three years of probation and was required to register as a sex offender.  Stanford forced him to withdraw and barred him from campus.  His victim, known publicly only as Emily Doe, described her suffering in a more than 7,000-word statement that went viral soon after it was published.  The sentence and resulting backlash, prompted California lawmakers to change the law. Within four months, they enacted mandatory minimum sentences in sexual assault cases and closed a loophole in which penetrative sexual assault could be punished less harshly if the victim was too intoxicated to physically resist.

Talk of a recall campaign began immediately after he handed down his sentence.   The recall campaign was led by Ms. Dauber, whose daughter is friends with Emily Doe — had collected enough signatures to put the question on the ballot.  In a statement, Judge Persky said he had a legal and professional responsibility to consider alternatives to imprisonment for first-time offenders.  LaDoris Cordell, a retired judge and a spokeswoman for Judge Persky, called the recall an attack on judicial independence and said it had “encouraged people to think of judges as no more than politicians.”

Among the effort’s most prominent backers were Anita Hill and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.  Ms. Dauber said the results “demonstrated that violence against women is a voting issue,” and that “if candidates want the votes of progressive Democratic women, they will have to take this issue seriously.”

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Off-Duty FBI Agent Accidentally Shoots Man While Doing Back-Flip

 

 

 

 

A Denver man is recovering after he was shot when an off-duty FBI agent dropped his gun while doing a backflip in the middle of the dance floor at a downtown Denver bar.  Twenty-four year old Tom Reddington, was shot in the leg by the single round of gun fire.  The Denver Police Department is facing criticism because no charges have been filed.  They say they’re still waiting for pending lab results before deciding if the off-duty agent, Chase Bishop, will face charges in connection with the accidental shooting.

Reddington’s lawyer told news outlets that his client could have died if it weren’t for a quick thinking security guard who removed his belt and used it as a tourniquet.  He said the off-duty agent offered no help to Reddington immediately after the shooting and that his client will have to undergo vascular surgery to repair a major artery in his leg.

Bishop, 29, a Washington D.C.-based FBI agent, was visiting Denver for training.  While there he visited Mile High Spirits where he before accidentally fired his handgun after it fell from his holster when he executed a backflip trying to impress a crowd of onlookers.  Video of the incident shows the agent, Chase Bishop, dancing on the outdoor dance floor and then doing a back-flip.  While doing the flip, his gun falls from his holster.  He picks up his gun, which discharged a single round as he picked it up-and puts it back into his holster.

According to military records, Chase is a decorated war veteran who served in the army from November 2011 to February 2017.  He was deployed to Afghanistan in February 2013. He was an Army Intelligence Officer and achieved the rank of captain in October 2016.  Bishop was also twice awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, a Meritorious Unit Commendation and a Global War of Terrorism Service Medal, among others.

Legal experts are outraged that the Denver police and District Attorney have not filed charges in the incident even with video evidence of what transpired.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper also weighed it on the situation.  “Those instances where someone puts the public at risk, should have consequences.  Sources in the FBI have said that the agent will be held accountable and that his stupid actions should not tarnish the reputation of the agency.

Mile High Spirits released a statement in regards to the shooting.   It is shocking that the only shooting to ever occur at our establishment came about as a result of an FBI agent entering our distillery tasting room carrying a loaded firearm without our knowledge, in violation of our rules.”

While it is not illegal for off-duty agents of law enforcement branches to have concealed weapons in establishments that serve alcohol or that do not allow firearms- it is illegal for them to consume alcohol while carrying a weapon.

 

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

ICE Arrests 114 Undocumented Workers at Ohio Garden Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), arrested 114 undocumented immigrants working at an Ohio gardening business in one of its largest workplace raids in recent years.  Tuesday’s arrests targeted employees of Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in Sandusky and Castalia, Ohio.  Those arrested are expected to face criminal charges, including identity theft and tax evasion.

About 200 ICE personnel were involved in the operations, which began at 7 a.m. and continued late into the evening.  Agents surrounded the perimeter of the Castalia locations, blocking off nearby streets as helicopters flew overhead.  Search warrants were served at both locations without incident.  They arrested 114 workers suspected of being in the country illegally and loaded many onto buses bound for ICE detention facilities.

Khaalid Walls, spokesman for ICE’s Northeastern region, said the investigation into Corso’s began in October 2017 with the arrest of a suspected document vendor.  They reviewed 313 employee records and found that 123 were suspicious.  He added that the majority of those arrested were Mexican nationals and some individuals were processed and released for humanitarian reasons.

Authorities are pursuing a bevy of allegations against Corso’s, including allegations of harboring illegal aliens, unlawful employment of aliens, false impersonation of a US citizen, fraud and aggravated identity theft, Walls said.

Steve Francis, special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations said “We are attempting to identify what criminal network brought over 100 illegal aliens to Ohio to work.”  “If your business is operating legitimately, there’s nothing to fear.  If you are hiring illegal aliens as a business model, we will identify you, arrest you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

In October 2017, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan said he ordered the investigative unit of ICE to increase work site enforcement actions by as much as fivefold.  “We’ve already increased the number of inspections in work site operations, you will see that significantly increase this next fiscal year,” Homan said at the time.  Homan also said that those actions would target both the employers and the employees in violation of immigration law.  “Not only are we going to prosecute the employers that hire illegal workers, we’re going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers.  The aggressive efforts are meant to deter people from entering the country illegally and protect jobs for American workers.”

Corso’s employee Salma Sabala told news outlets that undercover officers showed up in an employee break room initially offering to give out Dunkin’ Donuts. Then, they started rounding up workers.  “ They’re armed. They had the dogs. We hear the helicopters on top of us,” Sabala said.  Videos captured by workers and reporters showed immigration agents putting employees in handcuffs and separating authorized U.S. residents from undocumented immigrants. No employees were seen fleeing.

The 114 people arrested were taken to detention facilities in St. Clair County, Michigan; Seneca County, Ohio; and the Youngstown, Ohio, area.  Families of the arrested workers gathered at St. Paul Catholic Church in Norwalk, Ohio, seeking answers as to the whereabouts of their loved ones.

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Thousands Evacuated On Hawaii’s Big Island

 

 

 

FEMA has ordered the evacuation of parts of a neighborhood on Hawaii’s Big Island as fast-moving lava from Kilauea volcano threatens to destroy more homes.  The volcano first erupted on May 3, 2018 and has destroyed over 100 houses.  Since the first eruption, 22 fissure vents have opened on the volcano’s East Rift Zone in the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions.

Hawaii’s Highway 137 has been blocked by lava, cutting off access to Kapoho Bay, Vacationland, Hwy 132 and the Puna Geothermal power plant.  The flowing lava completely filled Kapoho Bay, inundated most of Vacationland and covered all but the northern part of Kapoho Beach Lots.  There are several hundred homes in these two subdivisions. Homes in Kapoho Beach Lots and Vacationland are on smaller lots and are closer together than in other parts of the Puna district.

More than 2,500 local residents have been forced to evacuate the dangerous lava flows and toxic sulfur dioxide fumes that have consumed the neighborhoods.  Officials have warned residents of the threat of toxic gases, choking ash plumes, and volcanic glass falling from the sky.  When the sulfur dioxide from the fissures mix with sunlight and oxygen it forms a type of volcanic smog called “vog,” which can cause pneumonia and bronchitis-like symptoms.

Lava continues oozing from volcanic fissures, burning homes to the ground and turning into rivers of molten rock.  The lava from Kilauea has spread across 2,000 acres of land into the surrounding neighborhoods on Hawaii’s Big Island.  The rate of lava flow in the East Rift Zone has increased, advancing at rates up to 300 yards per hour.  Officials say flowing lava has reached the Pacific Ocean, creating a steam cloud of lava haze commonly called “laze”.  Laze is a mix of hydrochloric acid and fine glass particles.  The laze extends 15 miles west of the Big Island and can cause breathing issues and skin irritation.

On May 29, 2018, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported that an ash eruption at Kīlauea summit occurred overnight at around 2 am.  According to officials, the resulting ash plume reached 15,000 feet and the wind was blowing in the Northwest direction, sending ash fall out into the surrounding area.  A a 4.5 magnitude earthquake was also reported in the summit region of the Kīlauea Volcano at 1:56 a.m.  The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a statement saying that no tsunami was expected.

Hawaii Civil Defense Service officials said they went through the neighborhood to warn residents this was their last chance to evacuate before their final escape route was cut off by lava Some chose to stay in the area, which now has no power, cell reception, landlines or county water, officials said.  Authorities are planning to airlift people out if the lava spreads farther and endangers the dozen or so holdouts.  Hundreds of residents are now living in shelters and emergency tents as local residents provide food and supplies.

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1 month ago · by · 0 comments

Two Journalists Killed Covering Subtropical Storm Alberto

 

 

 

Two journalists in North Carolina died while covering the landfall of Subtropical Storm Alberto, which brought heavy rain and flash flood warnings to swaths of the Southeast.  News anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer of the NBC affiliate WYFF died when a tree fell on their news truck.  Authorities said a tree became uprooted from rain-soaked soil and toppled on the news team’s SUV, killing the two instantly.  “All of us at WYFF News 4 are grieving,” the station said. “We are a family and we thank you, our extended family, for your comfort as we mourn and as we seek to comfort the families of Mike and Aaron.”

Anchor Carol Goldsmith broke the news of their deaths on air “Anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer both had worked in the Greenville market for more than a decade.  Mike and Aaron were beloved members of our team — our family,” Goldsmith said.  McCormick was a weekend anchor for the Greenville station-covering Spartanburg and surrounding areas. He came to the station in April 2007.  Smeltzer had worked in Greenville for more than a decade, winning four Emmys during his career.

The men were driving on U.S. Highway 176 near Tryon around 2pm when the large tree fell on their vehicle, North Carolina Highway Patrol Master Trooper Murico Stephens said.  McCormick and Smeltzer had just interviewed Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant. They told Tennant to be careful with Alberto’s remnants expected to bring more heavy rains and mudslides to North Carolina. He told them to be careful too.

“Ten minutes later we get the call and it was them,” Tennant said at a news conference, his voice cracking.  The fire chief said the roots of a large tree were loosened in ground saturated by a week of rain. The TV vehicle engine’s was still running and the transmission was in drive when crews found it.  Tennant estimated the tree to be about three feet in diameter.

WYFF anchor Mike McCormick, 36, is survived by his parents, his partner, Brian Dailey and Brian’s daughters, Katy and Emma Dailey; brother, Kevin McMullen (Novi); and nieces, Holly and Kaylee.  He is  remembered as a compassionate journalist who knew how to make everyone around him comfortable. McCormick graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in broadcast journalism and theater arts, WYFF said.  McCormick enjoyed cooking with local, fresh ingredients from the Hub City Farmers’ Market, as well as spending time with his family and two dogs.  McCormick started at WYFF in 2007 as a reporter and became a weekend anchor in 2014.

Photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer, 35, is survived by his fiancée, Heather Michelle Lawter of Inman, South Carolina; Mother and Father-in-law, Stephen and Debbie Lawter of Inman, South Carolina; two brother-in-laws, Matt Lawter and his wife Mandy and Chris Lawter and his wife Angel; two nephews, Trent Lawter and Reec` Marlow and his beloved fur babies, Diesel and Mollie.  He is remembered as a talented photojournalist and an unfailingly kind friend that would make you feel like you were his best friend as soon as you met him.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Santa Fe Texas High School Shooting

 

 

 

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.

 

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