A Texas sheriff says he does not believe any of the victims of last week’s deadly shooting rampage at Santa Fe High School were caught in a cross fire and killed by police officers but said a final determination can’t be made until autopsies are completed.
Eight students and two teachers died in Friday’ shooting spree. More than a dozen people were injured.
Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said “minimal shots” were fired by officers who pinned down the shooter in a classroom while other officers evacuated the school.
Trochesset said two school resource officers engaged the shooter about four minutes after the shooting began. One was critically wounded.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, finally surrendered after negotiations that lasted about 25 minutes. Pagourtzis remained in custody Tuesday under suicide watch on capital murder charges. The U.S. Supreme Court has banned execution of youths under 18, however.
“I don’t believe any of the individuals that were killed were from law enforcement,” Trochesset said. “I can’t give that in full until after the autopsy.”
Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday was hosting the first in a series of roundtable discussions examining ways to improve safety at Texas schools. Parents, teachers, mass shooting survivors, legislators and groups that advocate for and against further gun regulations will have their say.
On Friday, law enforcement received the first calls from Santa Fe High School at 7:32 a.m. CT, according to an affidavit filed in Galveston County Court.
Trochesset said the two officers who initially engaged the shooter were “heroes” whose efforts kept the death toll from rapidly rising.
“They contained him in one area, isolated to them, engaging with them, so he could do no more damage to other classes,” Trochesset said. “When people were running from the gunfire, the officers that continued to arrive … didn’t run from it, they ran to it.”
The family of one of the victims say they believe their daughter was targeted because she repeatedly rejected the gunman’s advances to date her. Sadie Rodriguez,the mother of Shana Fisher, 16, told theLos Angeles Times the shooting followed four months of advances from Pagourtzis.
His father, Antonios Pagourtzis, told the Wall Street Journal his son was “a good boy” but had been “mistreated at school” — bullied.
“I believe that’s what was behind the shooting,” he said. Some students also have said Pagourtzis was bullied in school.
As the horror unfolded, Pagourtzis roamed from classroom to room, taunting students and shooting at them as they made ill-fated efforts to elude or hide from him. About a half hour after the shooting began, Pagourtzis gave himself up, telling authorities he had targeted students he didn’t like.
Trochesset said his daughter was in a classroom three doors away.
“Anybody who wants to hear their heart stop and see how long they cannot breathe, wait for that phone call to come in,” Trochesset said. “Until you know they are safe.”
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