SANTA FE, Texas (CBS SF/AP) — A teenage gunman opened fire at a Houston-area high school Friday, killing 10 people, most of them students, authorities said, in the nation’s deadliest such attack since the massacre in Florida that gave rise to a campaign by teens for gun control.
10 other people were injured in the attack at Santa Fe High School, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who called the shooting “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools.”
The shooter was identified as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a student at Santa Fe High School and a member of the school’s junior varsity football team.
Abbott said the suspect had a shotgun and a .38 caliber revolver, both which belong to his father. School district Police Chief Walter Braun said that explosive devices were found in the school and surrounding area. Police found pressure cookers and pipe bombs around the school, one law enforcement source told CBS News.
The governor said the suspect told police he originally intended to commit suicide but gave himself up and told authorities that he didn’t have the courage to take his own life.
Abbott said there are “one or two” other people of interest being interviewed about the shooting.
“We look to God to give the first responders, as well as the victims and the families, the guidance they need in the coming days and weeks,” said Abbott.
Pagourtzis has been booked into the Galveston County jail and is being held on capital murder charges with no bond. Additional charges may follow, according to the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.
The dead include nine students and one teacher, law enforcement sources told CBS News. A school resource officer was shot and injured in the shooting. Another law enforcement officer was also reported injured but was not shot.
Pagourtzis’ social media pages showed multiple images of guns. He recently posted a photo wearing a t-shirt reading “Born to Kill” and there were also photos of a long green jacket with Nazi regalia, KHOU reported. His latest post was April 30, the station reported.
Michael Farina, 17, said he was on the other side of campus when the shooting began and thought it was a fire drill. He was holding a door open for special education students in wheelchairs when a principal came bounding down the hall and telling everyone to run. Another teacher yelled out, “It is real.”
Students were led to take cover behind a car shop across the street from the school. Some still did not feel safe and began jumping the fence behind the shop to run even farther away, Farina said.
“I debated doing that myself,” he said.
The shooting was all but certain to re-ignite the national debate over gun regulations. While cable news channels carried hours of live coverage, survivors of the Feb. 14 attack in Parkland, Florida, took to social media to express grief and outrage.
“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.
She also directed her frustration at Trump, writing “Our children are being MURDERED and you’re treating this like a game. This is the 22nd school shooting just this year. DO SOMETHING.”
In Texas, senior Logan Roberds said he was near the school’s art room when he heard a fire alarm and left the building with other students. Once outside, Roberds said, he heard two loud bangs. He initially thought somebody was loudly hitting a trash can. Then came three more bangs.
“That’s when the teachers told us to run,” he said.
At that point, Roberds said, he told himself, “Oh my God, this is not fake. This is actually happening.”
Friday’s assault was the deadliest in Texas since a man with a semi-automatic rifle attacked a rural church late last year, killing more than two dozen people. The Parkland attack killed 17.
Aerial footage showed students standing in a grassy field and three medical helicopters landing at the school in Santa Fe, a city of about 13,000 people roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston.
One student told Houston television station KTRK in a telephone interview that a gunman came into her first-period art class and started shooting. The student said she saw one girl with blood on her leg as the class evacuated the room.
“We thought it was a fire drill at first but really, the teacher said, ‘Start running,'” the student told the television station.
The student said she did not get a good look at the shooter because she was running away. She said students escaped through a door at the back of the classroom.
Authorities did not immediately confirm that report.
Vice President Mike Pence said he and President Donald Trump were briefed on the shooting. Pence said the students, families, teachers and all those affected should know: “‘We’re with you. You’re in our prayers and I know you are in the prayers of the American people.”
Trump added in a tweet that early reports were “not looking good. God bless all!”
First lady Melania Trump also weighed in on Twitter, saying her “heart goes out to Santa Fe and all of Texas today.”
In the aftermath of the assault on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, survivors pulled all-nighters, petitioned city councils and state lawmakers, and organized 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 National Rifle Association. The NRA fought back with a lawsuit.
In late March, the teens spearheaded one of the largest student protest marches since Vietnam in Washington and inspired hundreds of other marches from California to Japan.
The calls for tighter gun controls that have swelled since the February mass shooting at a Florida high school have barely registered in gun-loving Texas — at least to this point.
Texas has some of the most permissive gun laws in the U.S. and just hosted the NRA’s annual conference earlier this month. In the run-up to March primaries, gun control was not a main issue with candidates of either party. Republicans did not soften their views on guns, and Democrats campaigned on a range of issues instead of zeroing in on gun violence.
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.