New details: Shootout between Texas school gunman and deputies lasted 25 minutes
SANTA FE, Texas — The gunfire tearing through Santa Fe High School didn’t stop for half an hour. And during that time, Texas deputies were in a 25-minute shootout with the gunman, authorities said.
By the end of the melee, eight students and two teachers were killed. The suspect was taken into custody. And once again, the country is grappling with yet another school massacre. New details are emerging about what happened Friday at Santa Fe High, a school of about 1,500 students.
Officers arrived at the school’s art lab section about four minutes into the shooting and engaged the shooter right away, Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset told CNN.
But it’s unclear whether all the victims were shot by the suspect, or whether some were shot by deputies during the crossfire. Trochesset said authorities are waiting for the medical examiner’s autopsies to make that determination.
A “decent amount of cameras in the school” will help investigators piece together a timeline, Trochesset said.
The suspect told an investigator he acted alone and spared people he liked because he wanted his story told, according to a probable cause affidavit.
One of the students killed, Shana Fisher, had rejected the suspect’s advances for months, her mother Sadie Baze said. Finally, about a week ago, she stood up to him in the middle of class to proclaim she would not go out with him.
Baze said she believes the incident embarrassed the suspect so much that he targeted Shana. “One of the shotgun shells was for my daughter,” she said.
Shana had turned 16 days earlier.
Another student killed, Jared Black, turned 17 last week and was supposed to have a birthday party Saturday.
The massacre also claimed the lives of students Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani exchange student; Chris Stone; Angelique Ramirez; Christian Riley Garcia; Aaron Kyle McLeod; and Kimberly Vaughan. Teachers Glenda Ann Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale were also killed.
The people hospitalized included retired Houston police Officer John Barnes, who served as a resource officer at the school and confronted the gunman.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted Friday that he had visited Barnes in the hospital, and he was “hanging in there.”
Authorities identified the gunman as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17. He was armed with a shotgun and a .38 caliber handgun, both legally owned by his father, according to Gov. Greg Abbott.
Pagourtzis is being held without bail and is accused of capital murder of multiple people and aggravated assault on a public servant. He has not entered a plea.
Attorneys Robert Barfield and Nicholas Poehl said they had met with Pagourtzis for two 30-minute visits. Barfield said his client is “not doing well” and is “confused.”
The suspect won’t face the death penalty if he is convicted. Under Texas law, offenders who are under age 18 and charged with a capital offense face a maximum punishment of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.