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story.lead_photo.caption This photo provided by the Galveston County sheriff's office shows Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who law enforcement officials took into custody Friday, May 18, 2018, and identified as the suspect in the deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, near Houston.

SANTA FE, Texas — A 17-year-old boy carrying a shotgun and a revolver opened fire at a Houston-area high school Friday, killing 10 people, most of them students, authorities said. It was the nation's deadliest such attack since the massacre in Florida that gave rise to a campaign by teens for gun control.

The suspected shooter, who was in custody on murder charges, also had explosive devices, including a Molotov cocktail, that were found in the school and nearby, said Gov. Greg Abbott, who called the assault "one of the most heinous attacks that we've ever seen in the history of Texas schools."

Authorities offered no immediate motive for the shooting. The governor said the assailant intended to kill himself but gave up and told police that he did not have the courage to take his own life.

"It's been happening everywhere. I've always kind of felt like that eventually it was going to happen here too," Santa Fe student Paige Curry told Houston television station KTRK. "I don't know. I wasn't surprised. I was just scared."

Another 10 people were wounded at the school in Santa Fe, a city of about 13,000 people roughly 30 mileszsoutheast of Houston. The wounded included a school police officer who was the first to confront the suspect and got shot in the arm.

Michael Farina, 17, said he was on the other side of campus when the shooting began and thought it was a fire drill. He was holding a door open for special education students in wheelchairs when a principal came bounding down the hall and telling everyone to run. Another teacher yelled out, "It is real!"

Students were led to take cover behind a car shop across the street from the school. Some still did not feel safe and began jumping the fence behind the shop to run even farther away, Farina said.

"I debated doing that myself," he said.

The suspect was identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis. A woman who answered the phone at a number associated with the Pagourtzis family declined to speak with the AP.

"Give us our time right now, thank you," she said.

Pagourtzis plays on the Santa Fe High School junior varsity football team and is a member of a dance squad with a local Greek Orthodox church. Acquaintances described him as quiet and unassuming, an avid video game player who routinely wore a black trench coat and black boots to class.

He made his initial court appearance Friday evening via closed circuit video from the Galveston County jail. The judge denied bond and took Pagourtzis' application for a court-appointed attorney.

He did not enter a plea at the hearing.

The suspect used a shotgun and .38-revolver obtained from his father, who owned them legally, Abbott said. It was not clear whether the father knew his son had taken them.

Investigators were determining whether the shotgun's shortened barrel was legal, Texas Sen. John Cornyn said.

The assailant's homemade explosives school included pipe bombs, at least one Molotov cocktail and pressure-cooker bombs similar to those used in the Boston Marathon attack, authorities said.

In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the attack underscores the importance of work of the state's school safety commission, which will make its recommendations before the start of the 2018-19 year.

"My reaction is always, of course, great concern for students and faculty and everyone involved," he said in statement. "Beyond that, we have to learn from each incident as to how we can better protect our students. There’s always something more to be learned."

Gallery: Texas school shooting

While cable news channels carried hours of live coverage, survivors of the Feb. 14 Florida attack took to social media to express grief and outrage.

"My heart is so heavy for the students of Santa Fe High School. It's an all too familiar feeling no one should have to experience. I am so sorry this epidemic touched your town — Parkland will stand with you now and forever," Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Jaclyn Corin said in a tweet.

She also directed her frustration at President Donald Trump, writing "Our children are being MURDERED and you're treating this like a game. This is the 22nd school shooting just this year. DO SOMETHING."

In Texas, senior Logan Roberds said he was near the school's art room when he heard a fire alarm and left the building with other students. Once outside, Roberds said, he heard two loud bangs. He initially thought somebody was loudly hitting a trash can. Then came three more bangs.

"That's when the teachers told us to run," he said.

At that point, Roberds said, he told himself, "Oh my God, this is not fake. This is actually happening."

Friday's assault was the deadliest in Texas since a man with a semi-automatic rifle attacked a rural church late last year, killing more than two dozen people.

There were few prior clues about Pagourtzis' behavior, unlike the shootings in Parkland and the church in Sutherland Springs, Abbott said, but the teen wrote in journals of wanting to carry out such an attack and then to end his own life.

"This young man planned on doing this for some time. He advertised his intentions but somehow slipped through the cracks," Cornyn said.

In the aftermath of the Florida assault, survivors pulled all-nighters, petitioned city councils and state lawmakers, and organized protests in a grass-roots movement.

Within weeks, state lawmakers adopted changes, including new weapons restrictions. The move cemented the gun-friendly state's break with the National Rifle Association. The NRA fought back with a lawsuit.

In late March, the teens spearheaded one of the largest student protest marches since Vietnam in Washington and inspired hundreds of other marches from California to Japan.

Texas has some of the most permissive gun laws in the U.S. and just hosted the NRA's annual conference earlier this month. In the run-up to March primaries, gun control was not a main issue with candidates of either party. Republicans did not soften their views on guns, and Democrats campaigned on a range of issues instead of zeroing in on gun violence.

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Eric Besson contributed to this story.

Comments

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  • MaxCady
    May 18, 2018 at 10:33 a.m.

    Nothing's shocking anymore.

  • BOLTAR
    May 18, 2018 at 11:18 a.m.

    To the sociopaths among us, the ongoing slaughter of any number of other people's family members is a negligible sacrifice as long as shooters can continue to do what they so easily, efficiently, and predictably do.

  • risingsun357
    May 18, 2018 at 11:19 a.m.

    I am going to go out on a limb and bet the farm and say the shooter(s) were not Muslim ,Latino or Black.

  • TuckerMax
    May 18, 2018 at 11:26 a.m.

    "Thoughts and prayers," but no action.

  • GeneralMac
    May 18, 2018 at 11:31 a.m.

    Pass new gun laws?

    How about enforcing, instead of ignoring, the ones we already have.

  • ARMNAR
    May 18, 2018 at 11:40 a.m.

    "Prepare to watch the NRA boast about getting increased donations. Prepare to see the students rise up and be called civil terrorists and crisis actors. Prepare for the right-wing media to attack the survivors." - Cameron Kasky

  • BOLTAR
    May 18, 2018 at 11:50 a.m.

    Prepare for gun fetishists to preemptively deflect by blaming inadequate enforcement of current laws before we know whether that was a significant factor here.

  • DoubleBlind
    May 18, 2018 at 11:50 a.m.

    Reputable news sources report the shooter is a 17yr old male student who pulled the fire alarm, shouted ‘surprise’ as students began entering the hallway and began shooting. He had an AR-15, shotgun and handgun. Pipe bombs were found inside the school and nearby locations.

  • LRDawg
    May 18, 2018 at 11:59 a.m.

    Guns have 2 purposes....1) KILL 2) DESTROY

  • mrcharles
    May 18, 2018 at 12:12 p.m.

    Another day in conservative merica. We know what happens on days that end in Y.

    rising sun , lets wait till all the facts are in- and actually while this is fresh on our mind lets not rush to judgment as that might make it political,,,,,,why the sun has a billion or so years to turn into a red giant. Who knows , though , they could be gay or transgender.
    My hands were clenched in fists of rage
    No angel born in Hell
    Could break that Satan's spell

    And as the flames climbed high into the night
    To light the sacrificial rite
    I saw Satan laughing with delight

    Do NOt forgive them father as they KNOW what they do.

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