A day after the deadliest high school shooting since the Valentine’s Day massacre at Parkland High School, details about shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis are starting to trickle out.
And in one of the most shocking revelations, the Wall Street Journal reports that Pagourtzis spared students that he liked so they could “tell his story.”
According to a search of his computer, diaries and cellphone, police revealed that Pagourtzis, a former high school football player, had initially planned to commit suicide after Friday’s shooting – but he instead surrendered to police.
Pagourtzis intended to kill certain students that he didn’t like, but he wanted others to survive, according to the WSJ.
The probable cause document, which was released by the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, provides a comprehensive accounting of the response from multiple federal and local law enforcement agencies.
The report contained several grisly details. For example, at 7:32 am Friday morning, one officer described discovering two dead victims in a classroom while clearing the school. Another told of seeing several students suffering from gunshot wounds.
The report also provided a comprehensive accounting of Pagourtzis’ movements during the assault.
At 8:02 am, roughly 30 minutes after the reports of the shooting started, Pagourtzis exited “Art Lab 2 classroom of the Santa Fe High School and surrendered.”
Pagourtzis, in custody on capital murder charges, had no criminal record and hadn’t previously displayed signs of instability, but authorities found journals on his computer and cellphone saying he wanted to carry out the shooting and commit suicide afterward, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.
As we pointed out yesterday, those killed were mostly students, and the wounded included a police officer. He was in critical condition after major blood loss from a gunshot wound in his elbow, according to a doctor at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
The shooting has inspired Texas Governor Greg Abbott to soften his view on background checks and other measures to keep guns out of the hands of students. He said he would convene discussions with lawmakers, educators, students, parents and Second Amendment advocates, starting next week, to take action to prevent such attacks in the future.
“We need to do more than just pray for the victims and the families,” the Republican governor said.
His response Friday was a marked shift from the killing of 26 people at a Baptist church in Texas in November, when he proclaimed a day of prayer.
Police said they searched two residences linked to the suspect: They also found explosive devices at a home and in a vehicle. They’re currently interviewing two other people of interest.
The shooting, which took place two weeks before the end of the school year, left students rattled.
John Robinson, 16, a sophomore at the school, said six friends were in the classroom where the shooting took place, and he felt “shook” while he awaited information about their condition.
“Why my town? Small-town Santa Fe. Not a lot happens here,” he said.
Hannah Hershey, an eighth-grader at Santa Fe Junior High, spent much of Friday praying for two friends she heard had been shot.
“It’s hard to know something like that could happen so close by,” Ms. Hershey said, adding she had seen her friends Thursday at pole-vaulting practice. “It’s so weird seeing them one minute and then hearing they’ve been shot and they’re at the hospital now.”
Rome Shubert walked into art class Friday morning at 7:03 a.m., as he usually does, to finish a project before school started.
A star pitcher on the baseball team who had thrown 11 strikeouts in the team’s playoff game the night before, Mr. Shubert said he heard a loud pop from the hallway but thought nothing of it at first.
Mr. Shubert said he saw the shooter’s legs, covered by a trench coat, as he walked past him and fired at the ground near him. At first he thought the shots may have been blanks to scare the students, but realized the rounds were live when he saw a bloodied student behind him.
Acting on pure adrenaline, he said, he sprinted to a rear exit in the room and bounded over a 7-foot wall. That’s when Mr. Shubert realized he was covered in blood and he had been shot. “I’m just glad I’m alive,” he said.
Meanwhile, villagers in the Greek town where his father grew up expressed shock at Pagourtzis’s actions, according Reuters.
“We’re lost for words. We did not expect this,” said Costas Spanos, president of the Magoulitsa community, a tiny village in central Greece with just over 500 residents where his father, Antonios Pagourtzis, was born.
“We’re in shock. We’re a small community and this makes us look very bad,” he told Reuters over the telephone.
Pagourtzis rarely visited the village. Locals say they saw him recently, but couldn’t remember if it was last summer or the summer before.
He is currently being held on capital murder charges.