At Least Eight Dead, Multiple Injuries, In School Shooting At Texas High School

Another school shooting, this time in Texas.

At least eight people are dead, and multiple people have been injured, in a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, a city in Galveston County, Texas outside Houston:

At least eight people were killed, and others were injured, in a shooting on Friday morning at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Tex., according to law enforcement officials. A suspect was in custody.

The injured included at least one police officer, whose condition is unknown, Ed Gonzalez, the Harris County sheriff, said. In addition to the suspect in custody, a person of interest has been detained, he said. Both are believed to be students, as were the majority of the dead.

The gunman opened fire inside the school at about 7:45 a.m., around the time school was about to start for the day, according to Joe Giusti, a Galveston County commissioner. He said the injured officer worked for the Santa Fe school district as a school resource officer. The gunman was uninjured, he said.

Officials with the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston told reporters late Friday morning that they had received at least three patients: One adult was being operated on, another adult was being evaluated in the emergency room and one minor had been admitted to the hospital.

The Santa Fe Independent School District said that law enforcement agencies were securing the building and that students were being transported to the nearby Alamo Gym, at 13306 Highway 6, where parents could meet them.

More from the Houston Chronicle:

SANTA FE, Texas -At least eight people were killed in gunfire at Sante Fe High school this morning, federal and county law enforcement officials have confirmed.

An unidentified law enforcement officer was shot, but sources said he was “clipped” and was not seriously injured.

One source said the gunman was a male, but could provide no further information.

The shooter has been “arrested and secured,” said Santa Fe HS Assistant Principal Dr. Cris Richardson.

Several other students as well as an officer was injured in the shooting.

Joe Gamaldi with the Houston Police Officers Union tweeted, “Please keep the officers in your prayers as one officer is being life flighted to the hospital.”

Students described the gunfire, which broke out about 7:30 a.m.

Junior Liberty Wheeler, 14, was in class when she heard five shots ring out  near the art room.

Her teacher told them to run toward the theater department’s storage room, where they hid for 45 minutes before being escorted outside by the SWAT team.

“You could smell the gunpowder that came from the gun,” Wheeler recalled as she was escorted out of the building. “We were all scared because it was near us.”

Paige Curry, a junior at the school, said “I was sitting in my classroom and I heard very loud booms and I didn’t know what they were. I was confused but after I heard screaming, I figured out what they were, got up immediately and started to run. I almost ran out of the school but I hid instead with the other students. I was there for maybe 30 minutes I was on the phone with my mom the whole time. They found us and escorted us.”

“There were a lot of people, a lot of different suits so I wasn’t really sure but I think they were SWAT.”

“I was very, very scared but I managed to keep calm, especially with my mom on the phone.”

And from KTRK-TV, a local television station:

SANTA FE, Texas (KTRK) –Law enforcement sources confirm to ABC13 at least 8 people are dead following a shooting inside Santa Fe High School.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says one suspect is in custody and a person of interest is detained. According to law enforcement agencies, it appears the shooter is a student.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says the death toll could rise to 10. Those killed include students and adults.

He added that Santa Fe ISD police officer has been injured.

The school district just issued the following statement: “This morning an incident occurred at the high school involving an active shooter. The situation is active, but has been contained. There have been confirmed injuries. Details will be released as we receive updated information. Law enforcement will continue to secure the building and initiate all emergency management protocols to release and move students to another location. All other campuses are operating under their regular schedules.
At this time, students from the high school are being transported by SFISD transportation to the Alamo Gym located at 13306 Highway 6. Parents may reunite with their students at this location.
The district will continue to keep you updated as information is available. Safety and communication are our top priorities.”

Witnesses say the shooting took place in an art class on campus between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m.

Santa Fe Police, Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, ATF and FBI agents have all responded to the school at 16000 Highway 6.

As is always the case, the details of what happened is very fluid at this time, so we can expect updates on the matter in the coming hours and days that will answer the immediate questions that spring to mind. In a law enforcement briefing that was ongoing at the time I was writing this post, the spokesperson for the local Sheriff’s Office said that authorities believe the number of fatalities to be between eight and ten, with the majority of them being students. The Sheriff’s Office also confirmed that there are multiple injuries but declined to give an estimate of how many injuries there may actually be in this. Additionally, it’s been confirmed that a suspect is in custody and that at least one other person is being questioned in connection with the shooting. The Sheriff’s spokesperson also reported that, not surprisingly, that the shooter is a student at the High School but there has been no information released regarding the identity of the suspected shooter or the other person who has been detained. There’s also no word about what kind of weapon may have been used in the shooting. Some students reported that they saw the shooter with what appeared to be a shotgun, but these initial eyewitness reports are often mistaken.

Preliminary reports, some of it coming from students who escaped the school who have spoken to reporters, say that the shooting started during the first period of the day, that the school’s fire alarm went off and that the shooting began as students began lining up in the hallways to follow the normal fire evacuation procedures. Whether the alarm was pulled by the shooter or an accomplice, or whether it was pulled by someone seeking to warn the rest of the school about the shooting itself, is unclear, but it seems as though the shooting coincided with the beginning of the evacuation suggests that the fire alarm may have been utilized as a lure to get students into the line of fire.

Update: CNN now reports that nine students and one teacher have been killed:

Additionally, multiple reports have indicated that packages that appear to be explosive devices have been found at the scene and may also be located elsewhere in the community. Local television reporters are reporting that law enforcement is currently conducting searches at two nearby houses that are apparently linked to the shooter, whose identity has yet to be released but who is reportedly a 17-year-old student-athlete at Santa Fe High School. It’s also been reported that the shooter may have had as many as three weapons on him, although that has not been confirmed and neither has the types of weapons that may have been used. One report has some students identifying the primary weapon as a sawed-off shotgun, which is illegal under both Federal and state law. Beyond that, we still have no idea of an identity or a possible motivation.

Update #2: The shooter’s identity has apparently been made public:

The gunman who allegedly opened fire at a high school in Texas on Friday morning has been identified.

Police sources told CBS News that the shooter is 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis. Police believe he is a student at Santa Fe High School. He allegedly began his shooting spree around 7:45 a.m., killing at least 10 people and wounding a dozen more — a majority of whom were students — on the school’s campus. Police said he was armed with an AR-15 style rifle, a pistol, a shotgun and pipe bombs.

The school was evacuated and the alleged shooter was taken into custody around 9 a.m. local time. A second person of interest, also believed to be a student at the school, was “detained and questioned,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a presser.

Explosive devices were also found at the school and off campus, but were not detonated, police said.

One student who spoke with HLN said that the shooter — who he knew from the school — walked into a friend’s classroom and opened fire on students, shooting one girl in the head. He claimed that the shooter was wearing a trench coat that had “USSR” written on the back. Other students said that the shooter started opening fire in an art classroom around 7:45 a.m.

Other reports are now saying that the second person in custody is believed to be an accomplice and is an 18-year-old who may or may not have been a student as well. Finally, there is a further update on the suspected explosive devices found near the scene:

Pressure cookers, of course, were used in the bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013.

Further updates as warranted, but as I said earlier I think we all know how this is likely to unfold in the coming hours and days.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Guns and Gun Control, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Kathy says:

    Fuck all the thoughts and prayers and DO something that may actually work.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Dead kids, yay NRA! Cha-ching! Gun sales always go up when kids get shot.

    Of course it’s not guns, is it? The kids were killed with bananas. With wheels of cheese. With Legos. With lawnmowers. With something that is not a gun. Because the one thing that is never involved in gun deaths is guns. Mental health is involved, religion, family, blah blah blah blah blah never guns.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    Another school shooting in a gun culture state. Gun control laws may or may not have an effect, but the real change will only come by stigmatizing the bizarre and perverted gun social scene. In a decent culture someone walking around with a pistol on their hip, amassing tens of thousands of dollars worth of weapons and bragging endlessly about just how they would gun down anyone that would mess with them would be seen as a dangerous lunatic. In Texas, Colorado, Florida that’s half the people at the neighborhood barbecue.

  4. Charon says:


    Those little towns south of Houston are notoriously right-wing.

  5. Mister Bluster says:

    People kill people with guns in this country because they can.

  6. Franklin says:

    @michael reynolds: Sometimes people are killed by things that weren’t designed to kill. This is not one of those times.

  7. teve tory says:

    Fuck all the thoughts and prayers and DO something that may actually work.

    You’d probably have to get 65 or more Democrats in the Senate in order to get significant gun control, and most of the Senate are from places like Oklahoma and Wyoming and Missouri, so it’s never going to happen. A weekly mass shooting or two is just a fact of life for the indefinite future.

  8. drj says:


    Fuck all the thoughts and prayers and DO something that may actually work.

    No, no. It’s still too early.

    What’s the country averaging, one school shooting per week or so?

    That’s dozens (if not hundreds) of kids having to run for their lives and hide in classrooms EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

    Just because some fools want to fondle their murder toys whenever they feel like it.

  9. Lit3Bolt says:

    Quick, conservatives! Donate to the NRA! They need help now! We know who the real victims are in these incidents.

  10. Kathy says:

    You can kill a person with almost anything, given enough knowledge of human anatomy, ingenuity, strength, and effort.

    But you can’t kill large numbers of people in a short time with minimal effort with anything other than a gun.

  11. the Q says:

    I can guarantee and will bet a small fortune that Doug will run in 4 months time a story with this heading:

    “Four Months after Santa Fe mass murders Gun Control support fades”…………..

  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The NRA god is happy this morning.

  13. teve tory says:

    Someone on my FB page quoted Mike Dense from 2 weeks ago saying at the NRA meeting, “You have two friends in the white house”.

  14. Moosebreath says:

    @the Q:

    “I can guarantee and will bet a small fortune that Doug will run in 4 months time a story with this heading:

    “Four Months after Santa Fe mass murders Gun Control support fades”…………..”

    I dunno. I doubt he will have such a heading 4 months after Parkland, in light of this shooting happening less than 4 months later. There could well be another large school shooting between now and mid-September to knock this one out of our consciousness.

  15. Mikey says:

    This was written five and a half years ago, but sadly–and to America’s shame–it is still relevant today.

  16. @Moosebreath:

    Polling is already showing support for gun control fading from the levels it hit in the immediate aftermath of Parkland.

    Criticize me for posting things like that if it makes you feel bettter, but facts are facts.

  17. teve tory says:

    In 2012 when that guy murdered 20 elementary school kids and we did jack shit, it really hit me that we’ll never fix this problem.

  18. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Dimitrios’s father is Antonio. According to his Facebook page, Antonios Pagourtzis “likes” Dana Loesch. In the wake of the Parkland school shooting in February 2018, Loesch publicly defended the NRA’s stance on assault rifles.

    Dimitrios had posted pictures of a t-shirt saying “Born to Kill”…and another post showing a hand-gun.
    We can expect Dennison to make noise about keeping guns out of the hands of nut-jobs like Dimitrios…right up until the NRA reels him back in.

  19. Moosebreath says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Please re-read what I wrote, this time for comprehension. My point is that there will be no need to have such a headline, as the countdown from the latest mass school shooting was reset today.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Criticize me for posting things like that if it makes you feel bettter, but facts are facts.

    Not sure how the poster meant it, but I didn’t take it as a criticism. You are only the messenger in this case and given the topic, it would be especially bad form to shoot the messenger…

  21. the Q says:

    Moosebreath and Doug are both right…there will be another shooting, followed by the “thoughts and prayers” ritual, then Ollie North will be elected NRA chairman, then ennui and torpor by the masses reflected in diminution of support for anti gun laws which Doug will point out…followed by another shooting, then the “thoughts and prayers” ritual, Ollie North brings up Reagan standing up to the Russians who disarmed the kulaks in 1921, then ennui and torpor by the masses reflected in diminution of support for anti gun laws which Doug will point out…followed by another mass shooting, bla bla

    Unfortunately, I am not being sarcastic here.

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis: @Moosebreath: @MarkedMan:

    I think we all get short-tempered after one of these atrocities. We are humans, and as a rule humans find the murder of children distressing.

    Gun manufacturers see it as an opportunity to rack up profit. NRA members see it is a threat to them. But decent people are apt to be a bit upset.

  23. @MarkedMan:

    Perhaps I misinterpreted. In which case, I apologize.

  24. @Moosebreath:

    As I noted above, it appears I misinterpreted your comment. Apologies,

  25. Moosebreath says:

    @Doug Mataconis:


  26. teve tory says:

    Everybody calm down and enjoy life. I bet it will be almost a whole week before another one of these.

  27. george says:


    Well, Toronto showed that a van works pretty well too, if you’re not trying to kill specific people. But vans are pretty hard to get into a school.

    For now I’d say start with gun control laws, and then worry about vans etc if and when they start being used as frequently for murder as guns are now.

    For all the headlines in mass murders, they’re a small percentage of actual murders. And most of those involve firearms.

  28. teve tory says:

    17,000 murders a year come from guns. 40,000 people in America die on the roads every year. Maybe lots of people Are using vans to murder! 🙂

  29. teve tory says:

    The only way to stop mass shootings is to ban all semiautomatic guns. Given the rural-biased Senate, the power of the NRA, the number of guns already in circulation, and the millions who’ve bathed in “Gummint’s comin to take my guns!!!!111” bullshit, there’s no way anything significant is passing.

  30. Gustopher says:

    And the shooter took his father’s weapons for the shooting. What charges should the father face?

    The father should keep his guns secure, or be responsible for the consequences for not keeping them secure. I hope he faces jail time, and I hope he loses his home and any retirement savings after civil lawsuits.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: And early reports (always dubious) shows that the father was a gun culture person.

  32. Gustopher says:

    @teve tory: Cars are about 35,000 deaths a year, not 40,000 — and yes, that seems like splitting hairs, but, wait… Guns also kill 35,000 a year.

    The numbers are the same. Isn’t that just nicer? We can then ask: Cars give us huge benefits for the cost, but what do guns give us?

    Accidents and suicides make up the other half of the gun deaths.

    Some people will whine that suicides shouldn’t be counted, because people will just shift to another method… they are only partly right. Most suicides are the result of acute crisis, rather than chronic issues, and depend on easy access to an effective means. If the gun wasn’t there, the suicide attempt wouldn’t happen, or the person would rely on a less effective technique (pills, etc).

  33. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: I honestly have no strong objections to a gun culture person who keeps their guns secure. People have hobbies. Go to the gun range, go hunting, have a good time.

    It’s like Furries. So long as they aren’t forcing other people to take part in their games, they’re fine.

  34. Leonard says:

    @teve tory: What if this guy didn’t use semi-automatic guns?

  35. teve tory says:

    @Leonard: How many of the mass shooters we’ve seen used something else?

  36. teve tory says:

    Fortunately the idiot in sanfa fe only had a revolver and a shotgun. I’m sure that reduced the body count.

  37. James Pearce says:

    This is America. Don’t catch you slippin’ now.

  38. teve tory says:

    Out of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in US history, 9 involved semiautomatics, and the 10th was Charles Whitman, who was a trained Marine sniper with a bolt-action (and who managed to kill 1/3rd the number that the untrained Stephen Paddock killed in Las Vegas).

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: Don’t get me wrong. I’ve known lots of people that grew up with a gun rack in their bedroom. I have a few relatives (farmers) who kept a loaded shotgun in their kitchen in case a fox went after their chickens. I know a lot of hunters and wish there were more, at least in some areas. That isn’t the culture I’m talking about. It’s the NRA-Everyone’s a carjacker-In my face-lugging around an AK to public meetings- fantasizing about shooting people and fetishizing about there guns. And there are so many you can’t tell the man-boy blowhards from the real nuts.

  40. Jay L Gischer says:

    I recall a conversation here earlier this year that highlighted the possibility of regulating weapons not on fire rate, but on muzzle velocity/kinetic energy. This might well be a better solution, since it isn’t quite so easily gamed as bump stocks, etc.

  41. Hal_10000 says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    That would basically outlaw hunting rifles, which need high muzzle velocity so that you kill a deer instead of torturing it.

    The more I watch these, the more I’m convinced that Gladwell’s thesis is correct: we are in the midst of a social contagion; a slow-motion riot where disturbed/evil men are drawing inspiration from each shooting to achieve notoriety and fame. As I said before, they are clearly copying each other, learning from each other’s methods, each hoping to outdo the other in terms of body count. I was recently reading about Jesse Osborne, who wanted to make himself famous by murdering a bunch of children, hoping to get 150 (his gun jammed after he murdered a 6-year-old). I can not fathom that kind of evil.

  42. teve tory says:

    For preserving hunting it’s better to regulate rate of fire. A 30/30 or, for longer distances, a .30-06 is fine even if it only holds 2 rounds. But it would suck at trying to kill dozens of humans in a few minutes.

  43. Mister Bluster says:

    THIS GUY IS A FVKING GENIUS! Must be why he is the Lt. Governor of Texas!

    TX Lt. Governor: Too Many Entrances and Exits May Be a Problem
    …maybe we need to look at limiting the entrance and the exits into our schools so that we can have law enforcement looking at the people who come in one or two entrances.”

    Maybe he can talk REPUBLICAN President Pud to give up on his lame ass wall and use the funds to brick up school house entrances. For the children!

  44. Modulo Myself says:


    But how are these like riots? When LA rioted in 1992 there was a cause. And rioters aren’t seeking notoriety or fame. French and the rest of the halfway decent right are desperately talking about a phantom social contagion.

    Incidentally Gladwell is a scumbag peddling pseudo-scientific crap. Dude literally was a hack for Big Tobacco. I’m sure he’s making these airy threshold arguments and getting paid for his hackery. And it’s no surprise that conservatives who depend on far-right he-man fantasies are talking about ‘social contagion’.

    The problem is guns. If it were not the problem, coward conservatives would not be keeping the CDC from researching gun violence. You don’t need a gun in America, but somehow 35% of Americans believe that guns are useful, rather than weapons. That’s the gun industry plus racism plus masculine impotence. That’s the contagion.

  45. Franklin says:

    @Mister Bluster: But doesn’t that mean there are fewer pathways to escape? Clearly I’m overthinking this.

  46. Leonard says:

    @teve tory: But what percent of the guns in the US are semi-automatic? It’s got to be up around 80%, outside the museum pieces. So 90% of the most serious mass shootings involved semi-automatics. Not surprising.

  47. Mister Bluster says:

    @Franklin:..Clearly I’m overthinking this.
    You should run for Lieutenant Governor of Texas. Looks like they need someone who is thinking at all.

  48. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    Every country has it’s proportion of losers. But only in the United States that these losers can buy semiautomatic rifles.

  49. michilines says:

    I know people who read this blog are a little older than high school students these days, but did you ever think that one of the things you would have to worry about was one of your classmates or someone else coming to your school with a gun to kill you? I remember being evacuated from school for a bomb threat, but it was only one time. I never thought about being shot at as a daily possibility. Perhaps there is a difference between what we as older people experience and that could be important.

    I think the FLA students started something that could show us that it’s not about the technicalities of weapons (I always hate to see that sort of thing discussed here), but rather the threat that they face while they are trying to learn. I see it in the simplest of ways. I see students responding to a prompt about whether they should be allowed to have a cell phone in class. Most think it is a way to cheat or a distraction, but many think it is way for them to tell their parents they are okay or to call 911.

    It broke my heart today to read that 3rd graders are afraid of being shot in school.

    I understand that legislation will need to be technical, but damn. Kids these days are worried about getting shot in school and with good reason. Why isn’t that enough to trump someone’s right to own guns carelessly?

    It all just exasperates me.

    It’s all so sad and completely avoidable.

  50. Monala says:

    @Mister Bluster: so that kids die if there’s ever a fire?! He may not know that many schools already have only one entrance, but multiple exits in case of emergency.

  51. Tyrell says:

    @Gustopher: Well, the only problem is just what law did he break? Maybe some sort of neglect thing, but that is doubtful unless there were small kids in the home. Unless there is a law specifically stating that guns have to be locked up. From a 17 year old?
    They would have to prove the father knew or should have known his son might have done sonething. No chance of that.
    If I leave my keys in the car and someone steals it and injures someone, they can’t get me for it. No law against leaving keys in your own car. Not wise, but not illegal.

  52. george says:


    Some people will whine that suicides shouldn’t be counted, because people will just shift to another method… they are only partly right.

    Actually, though I’m strongly in favor of gun control (living in Canada now makes its benefits obvious), I’ve never liked the inclusion of suicide gun deaths as part of the discussion. People can find a lot of ways of destroying themselves physically, everything from smoking to overeating/not exercising to drinking/drugs. I think its very important to differentiate between ones which also harm others (drinking and driving, murder-suicide for example) from ones which only harm themselves.

    In the case of gun control and suicide, the suicide rate in Canada is very close to that of America; gun control has made no difference. People just find different ways to kill themselves (in Canada hanging/suffocation is the most common method).

    The difference gun control makes is in murders: the American rate is three times the Canadian rate (and most of the difference lies in firearm homicides).” rel=”nofollow”

  53. Tyrell says:

    @teve tory: What kind of ideas do you have for new laws? I am for reasonable gun laws, but trying to ban something would be hard to enforce.
    There are plenty of gun laws already. What needs to be done is look at those first, and then proceed. Are they being enforced? Are there loopholes or cracks?
    Existing and any new laws need to not conflict with existing laws or cause more confusion for owners, gunshops, and police. There needs to be a way for quick verifications and background checks.
    Laws also cannot violate doctor – patient confidential protection laws. That can be a problem.
    The automatic rifles: most people can take a rifle and turn it into an automatic. I don’t see how that can be stopped.
    Most gun owners do not use automatic rifles. Many have antique rifles or rifles for competitions.
    Think about this: these sort of things have not occurred at stadiums, races, or theme parks. Why is that? Bag checks, metal detection, and secure entrances.

  54. Eric Florack says:

    I’m still waiting to hear how additional Firearms regulations would have prevented a seventeen-year-old who cannot legally possess firearms from possessing them.

  55. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Well, the only problem is just what law did he break? Maybe some sort of neglect thing, but that is doubtful unless there were small kids in the home. Unless there is a law specifically stating that guns have to be locked up. From a 17 year old?

    Texas imposes criminal liability. The standard is that the accused knew or reasonably should have known that a minor child gained access or could have gained access to firearms.


    They would have to prove the father knew or should have known his son might have done sonething. No chance of that.

    No, they only have to prove that the father knew or reasonably should have known that the minor might gain access to the firearms. The fact that the child did do something with the firearms once he gained access opens the door to civil liability, but the father potentially became criminally liable the second that the minor put his hand on the weapons. Proximate cause comes into play. But for the negligence of the father in improperly storing his firearms in a manner that failed to prevent his minor child gaining access to them, there would have been no homicide. The father is liable for the sins of the child.


    If I leave my keys in the car and someone steals it and injures someone, they can’t get me for it. No law against leaving keys in your own car. Not wise, but not illegal.

    Flawed comparison, and indeed one that firearms statutes take into account. If a firearm is legitimately stolen from your home by an intruder, criminal liability is typically precluded. A minor child, however, who is a legal inhabitant of the home, gaining access to firearms stored there doesn’t implicate larceny. It implicates negligence.

    The bottom line is that, under Texas law, the father faces both criminal liability (i.e. he can be charged and, if convicted, sent to prison) and civil liability (the parents of those dead kids can and will sue him for wrongful death, among other goodies, and the resultant damage awards will likely bankrupt him, if his attorney’s fees doesn’t accomplish that first).