The 17-year-old student who confessed to opening fire at his high school in Santa Fe, Texas told investigators he consciously spared some students when he shot and killed 10 people while wounding 10 others. Dimitrios Pagourtzis has apparently waived his right to remain silent and gave a “statement admitting to shooting multiple people,” authorities said. In an affidavit, a law enforcement investigator wrote that Pagourtzis said “he did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told.” The death toll could still rise as several of the wounded are in critical condition.
Although authorities said there were no clear warning signs, Gov. Greg Abbott said Pagourtzis wrote about his apparently meticulously planned attack in journals on his computer and his cellphone. “Not only did he want to commit the shooting, but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting,” Abbott said, adding that Pagourtzis told law enforcement officers he “didn’t have the courage” to kill himself. Abbott emphasized that in other shootings “we have what are often categorized as red-flag warnings, and here, the red-flag warnings were either nonexistent or very imperceptible.”
Pagourtzis used a shotgun and a .38 revolver to open fire on his classmates. Both guns were legally owned by his father, and it remains unclear whether he knew his son had taken the weapons. The choice of guns was seen as critical, because they both have a slower firing rate than those that have been used in recent mass shootings, such as the AR-15. Authorities also found explosive devices in and near the school, including pipe bombs and pressure cookers. But officials said none of the devices were actually functional. The at least attempted use of explosives was reminiscent of the 1999 Columbine school shooting where two large propane bombs failed to detonate.
Most of those killed were students, including an exchange student from Pakistan, Sabika Sheikh. A substitute teacher, Cynthia Tisdale, was also killed. Pagourtzis was charged with capital murder and did not enter a plea. Although two other people were interviewed amid suspicion they may have been involved, authorities now believe they weren’t connected to the shooting; investigators now believe Pagourtzis acted alone.