Texas school shooting: Authorities prepare to officially name 10 victims of teenage gunman

Details on victims begin to emerge as deadly shooting reignites America's gun debate

Tom Barnes
Saturday 19 May 2018 16:10
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Santa Fe High School student is asked if she thought a shooting would happen in her school

Authorities in Texas are preparing to officially name of the 10 people killed when a teenage gunman burst into an art class and opened fire at his high school, as the first details of the victims emerge.

A mass shooting carried out at Santa Fe High School, in south-east Houston, early on Friday morning became the latest in a long line of fatal attacks on campuses in the US.

Students said the gunman, identified by police as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, ran into a classroom armed with a shotgun and pistol, unleashing a barrage of bullets.

Ten people were killed and 10 others wounded in the attack, the fourth-deadliest at a US public school in history.

The shooting is likely to reignite America’s thorny gun debate, three months on from the killing of 17 teens and educators at a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

A vigil was held on Friday night for the victims, who are yet to be officially identified by authorities.

However, the Pakistan embassy in Washington DC identified one of the victims on Twitter as Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani exchange student. The brother-in-law of Cynthia Tisdale, a teacher’s aide and mother of four, has also said on Facebook she was killed in the attack.

Substitute teacher Ann Perkins, as well as students Aaron Kyle McLeod, Angelique Ramirez, Chris Stone, Jared Conard Black and Kimberly Jessica Vaughan have also been named locally as victims.

“I wanted to take care of my friends, but I knew I had to get out of there,” said Courtney Marshall, 15, who was in the art class the gunman targeted. “I knew the guy behind me was dead.”

The suspected shooter, who is now being held in custody on murder charges, also had explosive devices that were found in the school and nearby, said Texas governor Greg Abbott.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis has been charged with murder following the shooting

Investigators have yet to offer a motive for the attack. However, in a probable cause affidavit, authorities said the suspect admitted to the shooting.

The gunman also told investigators that when he opened fire Friday morning, “he did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told”, according to the affidavit.

Zachary Muehe, a sophomore, was in his art class when he heard three loud booms. Mr Muehe told The New York Times that a student he knew from football was armed with a shotgun and was wearing a shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Born to Kill”.

“It was crazy watching him shoot and then pump. I remember seeing the shrapnel from the tables, whatever he hit. I remember seeing the shrapnel go past my face,” he said.

Mr Pagourtzis was charged with capital murder and denied bail at a brief court hearing later on Friday, where he appeared in handcuffs and wearing a green prison jumpsuit. He spoke in a soft voice and said “Yes, sir” when asked if he wanted a court-appointed attorney, along with other questions.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told CNN that authorities were investigating whether anyone else helped in the attack.

Additional reporting by AP

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