SANTA FE, Texas (KFSM) — Ten people were killed as a result of a school shooting on Friday morning at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, near Houston, and explosives were found in and near the high school, law enforcement officers reported.
The suspect was identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, of Santa Fe, law enforcement officials said.
U.S. Senator John Cornyn says the 17-year-old student accused in a fatal shooting at a Texas high school used a semi-automatic pistol and a sawed-off shotgun to kill 10 people.
The Republican from Texas says investigators are still determining whether the shotgun’s shortened barrel is legal.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis (Puh-GORE-cheese) has been charged with capital murder in the Friday shooting that also wounded 10 people at Santa Fe High School.
Cornyn says the suspect had a variety of homemade explosives in his car and at the school, including pipe bombs and “pressure-cooker-like bombs” similar to those used in the Boston Marathon attack.
Cornyn says the suspect “planned on doing this for some time, he advertised his intentions but somehow slipped through the cracks.”
CBS showed images Pagourtzis posted to his Facebook page and described some of the posts there, including several firearm-related Facebook groups to which Pagourtzis belonged, but the social media site has since pulled the page down.
CBS News reported that Pagourtzis’ driver’s license address matched the address currently surrounded by authorities about three miles away from the high school.
Santa Fe Independent School District Chief of Police Walter Braun said in a news conference that the campus had been cleared as of 11:30 a.m. At least six were transported to area hospitals, Braun said, including a Santa Fe Independent School District police officer.
He also said explosives were found in and around the school.
“There have been explosive items found in the high school and in the area surrounding the high school,” Braun said. He asked the public to keep an eye out for “any suspicious items” in the area.
A school security officer was shot and injured, along with two students, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
Two students with gunshot wounds to the legs were admitted to an area hospital, a spokesman from the John Sealy University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston said in a news conference.
A middle-aged woman was shot in the leg and was in good condition, the spokesman said. The second student, a male, was also shot in the leg.
A spokesman for Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster, Texas, said the hospital received eight patients from the high school.
Two were taken to the operating room, with one in critical condition and the other in fair condition.
Six were discharged with non-life-threatening injuries, the spokesman said. All of the patients were high school students ages 14-18, he said. All of them were admitted for gunshot wounds, the spokesman said.
Patients began arriving about 8:30 a.m., he said.
CNN reported that two more patients were treated at Mainland Medical Center in Texas City. Their injuries and conditions were unknown.
Gulshan Sharman, a spokesman for UTMB, said a middle-age man was shot in the arm and was in surgery, and it was his understanding that the patient was the school police officer who was shot. The man suffered “significant blood loss, and that’s why he’s in critical condition.”
Cris Richardson, the school’s assistant principal, told reporters that a suspect is in custody.
“We hope the worst is over and I really can’t say any more about that because it would be pure speculation,” Richardson told media outlets at the scene.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the suspect was a male student, and that a second person had been detained as well as a “person of interest.”
Sources told CBS the suspected shooter’s mobile home was being surrounded, and authorities were reportedly sweeping the home for possible explosives. The home being surrounded was located about three miles from the high school.
The FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were among those who responded to the high school. State troopers and the FBI also responded to the home.
Witnesses described students running from the school as they heard gunshots; they also described hearing an alarm at the school, though the sequence of events wasn’t immediately clear.
An armed person walked into an art class at the school and began firing what looked like a shotgun, a witness told CNN affiliate KTRK.
The witness told KTRK she saw a girl shot in the leg.
Aerial video from the scene showed several police officers outside the school. Some were searching students and their backpacks.
Angelica Martinez, a 14-year-old student, told CNN she and her schoolmates were being evacuated at one point “like it’s a fire drill.”
“We were all standing (outside), but not even five minutes later, we started hearing gunshots,” she said.
“And then everybody starts running, but like the teachers are telling us to stay put, but we’re all just running away.”
“I didn’t see anybody shooting, but like (the gunshots) were kind of spaced,” Angelica said, adding she heard about four shots.
The witness who spoke to KTRK also said she heard an alarm. She didn’t specify if that was before or after the gunfire she described in the art class.
She said she couldn’t describe the shooter.
“I didn’t look. I just ran,” she said.
Another student, Dakota Shrader, told CNN affiliate KPRC that she heard gunshots only after hearing an alarm in the school.
“I was in the history hallway, and as soon as we heard the alarms, everybody just started leaving following the same procedure as … (a) practice fire drill,” Shrader said, breaking into tears.
“And next thing you know, we just hear … three gunshots, loud explosions, and all the teachers are telling us to run.”
The entire school district was put on lockdown as soon as the shooting was reported, district officials said.
Damon Rabon, a student at Sante Fe High School, told CBS in a live phone interview the school recently had active shooter training.
The school has three armed school security officers on campus and security cameras, Rabon said.
Rabon said he looked out his classroom door with a substitute teacher after hearing several loud bangs and saw the gunman.
“Black trenchcoat, short kind of guy, had a sawed-off shotgun,” Damon said.
The substitute teacher then pulled the fire alarm in the hopes of alerting students and faculty in other areas of the school and getting them to evacuate.
“Right now, I’m just thankful, and I’ve been praying a lot for the students, especially the ones who have been shot,” Rabon said. “I’m just thankful to be here.”
A letter sent out by the Sante Fe Independent School District after the Parkland, Florida, shooting said the school district’s police department, directed by Chief Walter Braun, “includes seven full time and five part-time officers, all trained in current nationally standardized protocols to respond to emergency and active shooter situations.”
Santa Fe is a city of about 13,000 people roughly 20 miles northwest of Galveston and 30 miles southeast of Houston.
The high school has about 1,400 students, according to GreatSchools.org.
President Trump addressed the shooting during a White House event, saying “This has been going on too long in our country.”
“We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support and love to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack to the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High,” Trump said.
Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued a statement about the shooting late Friday morning.
“My heart is heavy from watching the horrific events that unfolded at Sante Fe High School today.
“My prayers are with each student, parent, educator and first responder impacted. Our schools must be safe and nurturing environments for learning. No student should have to experience the trauma suffered by so many today and in similar events prior. We simply cannot allow this trend to continue.
“Every day, the Federal Commission on School Safety is working to identify proven ways to prevent violence and keep our students safe at school,” DeVos’ statement continued.
“Our work remains urgent. Our nation must come together and address the underlying issues that lead to such tragic and senseless loss of life.”