Police have confirmed nine students and one adult have died. The suspect is 17-year-old Dimitrios Patgourtzis, a student at Santa Fe High School.
Officials say several pipe-bomb explosives were planted throughout the school and outside; law enforcement officers are still going through the building.
USAToday spoke to a student, Grace Johnson, about the incident. A student and the chaplain of the high school band, Johnson said “We were hearing gunshots and many kids were having panic attacks. We sat in a circle and prayed for all of our peers and that they were going to be all right. We prayed for whoever was doing this that something changes in them.”
A shooting at a high school about 36 miles outside of Houston, Texas occurred this morning. News reports are confirming at least eight people are dead.
The Santa Fe Independent School District issued an update stating:
“This morning an incident occurred at the high school involving an active shooter. The situation is active, but has been contained. There have been confirmed injuries. Details will be released as we receive updated information. Law enforcement will continue to secure the building and initiate all emergency management protocols to release and move students to another location.”
According to local news station ABC13, witnesses report the shooting took place in an art class between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. We also know the fire alarm was pulled and students began exiting the building.
Officers from the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office and the nearby Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene; so did agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Witnesses report the shooter was armed with a shotgun. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said one suspect is in custody and a second one is detained and being questioned. Both suspects are believed to be students. “The number varies, but the number could be between 8 and 10 fatalities,” both students and staff at the school, Sheriff Gonzalez told the press. The school is still being searched and investigated by law enforcement officers.
As students exited the building, they were searched by law enforcement officers and told to walk over to a nearby grassy area alongside a row of school buses.
“It’s been happening everywhere,” one student said. “I always felt like eventually it would happen here. I wasn’t surprised, I was just scared.”
President Trump commented on the shooting in a press briefing. “We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our love and support to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack.”
Details are still forthcoming. Please pray as law enforcement secures the scene and parents and children are attempting to reunite.