Witnesses Recount Texas School Shooting

By Chris Jasurek

Survivors of the May 18 attack on a Texas high school spoke about their experiences the day after.

A 17-year-old student from Santa Fe High School brought a shotgun and pistol to school on the morning of May 18.

He entered an art class and opened fire, killing ten people and wounding ten others before being apprehended by police.

There is no known motive for the shooting, though the shooter’s ex-girlfriend was in the classroom where he started shooting, NY Times reported.

The alleged shooter, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, was charged with capital murder of multiple persons and aggravated assault against a public servant, Fox reported.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis (Galveston County Sheriff
Dimitrios Pagourtzis (Galveston County Sheriff’s Office)

Pagourtzis came to school in a trench coat and combat boots, carrying a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol which belonged to his father.

His shooting spree was interrupted by police, including the two school security officers, who rushed to the sound of gunfire. One of them, retired police officer John Barnes, was shot in the arm.

Survivors of the shooting described their experiences afterward.

Some of the students tried to barricade the doors to their classrooms when they heard guns shots. Some played dead, hoping that the shooter would move on to find new targets.

One substitute teacher ran out into the hall to see what was happening, saw the shooter, and pulled a fire alarm.

One student, Paige Curry, told reporters after the shooting that she was not surprised to be part of a school shooting incident.

“It’s been happening everywhere,” she told ABC7. “I felt—I’ve always kind of felt like eventually, it was going to happen here too.”

Students, teachers, and parents lay flowers on a makeshift memorial for the slain students and teachers. (AP screenshot)
Students, teachers, and parents lay flowers on a makeshift memorial for the slain students and teachers. (AP screenshot)

Nobody expected that Dimitrios Pagourtzis would be a school shooter. Everyone from friends to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, pointed out that there were no warning signs, none of the usual red flags.

There had been some posts on Pagourtzis’ Facebook site—since shut down—which hinted at a fondness for communism, reported the NY Post.

“He never seemed that right,” said Alex Neal, a Santa Fe freshman who used to sit next to Pagourtzis in a business class.

“This year, what weirded me out was he started wearing a trench coat, and he started being about communism and stuff, wearing like little pins and stuff.”

Junior High teacher Valerie Martin had taught Pagourtzis and his sister. She described Pagourtzis as a bright but slightly introverted student.

“He was quiet, but he wasn’t quiet in a creepy way,” she told the New York Times. “He was an introvert, not an extrovert.”

Martin said that Pagourtzis’ sister had been bullied so badly at Santa Fe high that she had switched schools, but she had not heard that Pagourtzis had had similar experiences.

 

 

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