Parkland gun control activists declare solidarity with Texas shooting survivors
Crime May 19, 2018 8:04 am Parkland gun control activists declare solidarity with Texas shooting survivors
WATCH: Authorities in Texas say that eight students and one teacher were killed during a shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas on Friday.
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Only weeks ago, a dozen students from Santa Fe High School in Texas offered support for survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting by participating in a nationwide walkout seeking stricter gun control.
On Friday, it was Parkland students who declared their solidarity with teens in Santa Fe after a 17-year-old armed with a shotgun and a pistol opened fire at the Houston-area school, killing 10 people. It was the nationâs deadliest such attack since the Florida massacre that killed 17 and energized the teen-led gun-control movement.
WATCH: Texas school shooting suspect had shotgun, handgun
Sophomo re Kyle Harris, who took part in the walkout last month, was in first period when a fire alarm went off. Then, he heard teachers urging him to flee.
âThe scariest thing is hearing a teacher who knows your name personally call you by your name and tell you to run,â Harris tweeted.
The suspected shooter, who was in custody on murder charges, also had explosive devices that were found in the school and nearby, said Gov. Greg Abbott.
WATCH: Texas school shooting suspect makes first court appearance
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Investigators offered no motive. In a probable cause affidavit, however, authorities said the suspect admitted to the shooting.
The gunman also told investigators that when he opened fire Friday morning, âhe did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told,â according to the affidavit.
A judge has denied bond for the 17-year-old accused of killing 10 people and wounding 10 others at a Texas high school. made his initial court appearance Friday evening via closed circuit video from the Galveston County Jail.
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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.
The deaths were all but certain to re-ignite the debate over gun regulations, coming just three months after the Florida attack.
âItâs been happening everywhere. Iâve always kind of felt like that eventually it was going to happen here too,â Santa Fe High School student Paige Curry told Houston television station KTRK. âI donât know. I wasnât surprised. I was just scared.â
READ MORE: âI knew the guy behind me was deadâ: Texas students recount latest U.S. school shooting
Another 10 people were wounded at the school in Santa Fe, a city of about 13,000 people roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston, the governor said. The wounded included a school police officer who was the first to confront the suspect and got shot in the arm.
Hospitals reported treating a total of 14 people for injuries related to the shooting.
Zachary Muehe, a sophomore, was in his art class when he heard three loud booms.
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 âBorn to Kill.â
WATCH: Texas school shooting suspect makes first court appearance
âIt 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,â he told The Times.
Michael Farina, 17, heard the fire alarm and thought it was a drill. He was holding a door open for special education students in wheelchairs when a principal came bounding down the hall, telling everyone to run. Another teacher yelled out, âIt is real!â
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.
WATCH: Student arrested after 10 killed in Texas school shooting
âI debated doing that my self,â he said.
The gunman yelled âSurpriseâ before he started shooting, according to Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
The suspect was identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who appeared to have no prior arrests or confrontations with law enforcement. A woman who answered the phone at a number associated with the Pagourtzis family declined to speak with the AP.
Pagourtzis made his initial court appearance Friday evening by video link from the Galveston County Jail. A judge denied bond and took his application for a court-appointed attorney.
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McCaul, a former federal prosecutor, said he expects the Justice Department to pursue additional cha rges, possibly involving weapons of mass destruction.
Pagourtzis played on the junior varsity football team and was 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.
The suspect obtained the shotgun and a .38-caliber handgun from his father, who owned them legally, Abbott said. It was not clear whether the father knew his son had taken them.
READ MORE: Texas school shooting: What we know about suspect Dimitrios Pagourtzis
Investigators were determining whether the shotgunâs shortened barrel was legal, Texas Sen. John Cornyn said.
The assailantâs homemade explosives included pipe bombs, at least one Molotov cocktail and pressure-cooker bombs similar to those used in the Boston Marathon attack, authorities said.
While cable news channels carried ho urs of live coverage, survivors of the Feb. 14 Florida attack took to social media to express grief and outrage.
âMy heart is so heavy for the students of Santa Fe High School. Itâs an all too familiar feeling no one should have to experience. I am so sorry this epidemic touched your town â" Parkland will stand with you now and forever,â Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Jaclyn Corin said in a tweet.
WATCH: 1 teen arrested, at least 10 dead after shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas
She also directed her frustration at President Donald Trump, writing âOur children are being MURDERED and youâre treating this like a game. This is the 22nd school shooting just this year. DO SOMETHING.â
In Texas, senior Logan Roberds said he was near the schoolâs art room when he heard the fire a larm 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.
âThatâs when the teachers told us to run,â he said.
WATCH: Santa Fe shooting: Texas governor identifies number, types of explosive devices
At that point, Roberds said, he told himself, âOh my God, this is not fake. This is actually happening.â
Roberds said additional gun-control measures are not needed, citing the need for defense against intruders.
âWhat are you going to do if some guy comes in your house and points a gun at you? You canât do nothing with a knife,â he said.
READ MORE: Trump supporter brings handgun, American fla g to Texas high school following deadly shooting
Fridayâs 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 Pagourtzisâ 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.
âThis young man planned on doing this for some time. He advertised his intentions but somehow slipped through the cracks,â 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.
In late March, the teens spearheaded one of the largest student protest marches since Vietnam in Washing ton and inspired hundreds of other marches from California to Japan.
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