Another school shooting occurred last week. It is getting so that it barely registered as news anymore. The same script was followed. Thoughts and prayers. We need to do more. Yada yada yada.
It occurred at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, in the Houston metropolitan area, on May 18, 2018. Ten people were fatally shot and thirteen others were wounded. The suspected shooter was taken into custody and later identified by police as Dimitrios Pagourtzis. Among the dead were two teachers and a Pakistani exchange student.
One of Pagourtzis’ classmates who died in the attack, Shana Fisher, “had 4 months of problems from this boy,” her mother, Sadie Rodriguez, wrote in a private message to the Los Angeles Times on Facebook. “He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no.”
Pagourtzis continued to get more aggressive, and she finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, Rodriguez said. “A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like,” she wrote. “Shana being the first one.” Rodriguez didn’t say how she knew her daughter was the first victim.
Fisher’s friends said they could not corroborate the mother’s claims.
The shooter began firing a weapon into an art class at the school at around 7:40 a.m. CDT. One wounded victim told reporters that the shooter walked into the classroom and pointed at another individual, saying “I’m going to kill you.” He then one pumped her.
According to a witness, students barricaded themselves in the art classroom storage closet, and Pagourtzis shot through the door with a shotgun. Pagourtzis left the art room briefly, causing students to leave the closet and attempt to barricade the art room door but Pagourtzis pushed the door open. Upon spotting a student he knew, Pagourtzis said “Surprise!” and shot the student in the chest.
Survivors state that there are two art classrooms that were the target of the shooting that were connected by a ceramics room, that Pagourtzis was able to access by damaging the window in the door and fired into the room.
Police officers stationed at the school engaged with the shooter, with one officer being wounded and admitted in critical condition to a local hospital. After shooting into the ceramics room, Pagourtzis was engaged by officers who attempted to have him surrender peacefully. He reportedly threatened to shoot the officers and repeatedly fired rounds while arguing with the police. Pagourtzis surrendered to the officers after being injured during the shooting. He later admitted in a statement to police that he meant to kill the classmates that he shot while sparing the students he liked, so he could “have his story told.”
According to the probable cause affidavit and complaint filed by law enforcement, Pagourtzis used a pump-action Remington Model 870 shotgun and a .38 caliber handgun. Both firearms appear to have been legally owned by his father. Various types of explosive devices were found at the school and off campus, as well as a Molotov cocktail, and residents in the surrounding area were warned to be aware of all suspicious objects.
Pagourtzis was on the honor roll, and he played on the school football team. Pagourtzis’s journals on his computer and cell phone, found by authorities after the shooting, indicated that “not only did he want to commit the shooting, but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting”, according to Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Abbott said that Pagourtzis “planned on doing this for some time. He advertised his intentions but somehow slipped through the cracks”.
Classmates at a vigil on May 18, recounted how at a water park the day before the shooting Pagourtzis did not show any signs of his plans, and that he seemed friendly and funny.
Being Texas, nobody expects much change in gun control laws, but the Houston police chief Art Acevedo reached his limits and took to Facebook:
A quiet but powerful voice in the neverending debate.