Cops: Santa Fe Suspect 'Spared' Those He Liked

Parkland students offer their support, plus a heartbreaking clip from one of the survivors
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2018 8:55 AM CDT
After the Shooting: the Aftermath in a 'Town of Faith'
A young girl and her brother light candles during a vigil held in the wake of a deadly school shooting with multiple fatalities at Santa Fe High School on Friday in Santa Fe, Texas.   (Stuart Villanueva/The Galveston County Daily News via AP)

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the 17-year-old suspect in the shooting at Texas' Santa Fe High School on Friday that took the lives of 10 and wounded several others, has been charged with capital murder and aggravated assault of a public servant, CNN reports. Pagourtzis, who once played football on the school's JV team and was described by a classmate as "kind of a quiet kid," has asked for a court-appointed attorney and hasn't yet entered a plea. He's not up for bond. In a probable cause affidavit, an investigator who talked to Pagourtzis says the teen noted he had "spared" people he liked during the rampage "because he wanted his story told," per CNN. More on the shooting and the aftermath:

  • CNN and the AP have the latest on two of the victims so far: Pakistani exchange student Sabika Sheikh, and Cynthia Tisdale, a substitute teacher with a "lust for life." "[I] never met a woman who loved her family so much," Tisdale's niece tells the AP.
  • A heartbreaking clip that's gone viral, via the New York Times, shows Santa Fe student Paige Curry being asked if the shooting had felt surreal while it was happening. "Was there a part of you that was like, 'This isn't real, this … would not happen in my school?" a reporter asked. An emotional Paige replied, "No, there wasn't. … It's been happening everywhere. … I've always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here, too."

  • One local politician's reaction to the shooting is bringing plenty of backlash. Per the Independent, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said at a Friday presser that school architecture and layout may need to be reassessed to prevent future shootings. "There are too many entrances and too many exits," he said. "Had there been one single entrance possibly for every student, maybe [the gunman] would have been stopped," he added, per HuffPost. Many noted such a plan would likely be a violation of fire codes and would make it more difficult to quickly escape in dangerous situations.
  • Also causing anger: a local man who showed up right after the shooting bearing an American flag and a pistol. Per the Hill, the unnamed man said he was there to offer "support" and "make America great again," but a video posted by a reporter showed others on the scene weren't too happy with his type of support. "This idiot is walking down the street with a damn pistol on his side where we just had kids get shot," one witness said in disbelief.
  • PolitiFact tries to cut through the confusion and misinformation already proliferating after the shooting, offering clarification on how many school shootings there have already been in 2018, fake social-media profiles, and one particular conspiracy theory.
  • In contrast to the often-maligned "thoughts and prayers" narrative, the New York Times offers up a picture of Santa Fe as a "town of faith." Prayer was prominent even as the gunman carried out his massacre, with students forming prayer circles to help get them through. "We prayed for the safety of our class that got separated, our peers, and most importantly we prayed that something would change in the heart of the shooter," one student notes.

  • In an opinion piece for USA Today, James Alan Fox notes that, as bad as this newest shooting was, we shouldn't overreact. "School shootings, however horrific, are not the new normal," he writes. "[The] Santa Fe killings are part of a bloody contagion that will pass."
  • The chief of the Houston Police Department shared a heartfelt message on his Facebook page, saying he'd hit "rock bottom." "I'm not ashamed to admit I’ve shed tears of sadness, pain and anger," he wrote. He blasted "the hatred being spewed in our country," asked God to forgive us all for our "inaction," and took on gun rights advocates, noting he didn't care if they de-friended him for his beliefs and adding, "Please do not post anything about guns aren't the problem and there's little we can do."
  • The Parkland students are reacting to the Texas tragedy, putting out a message via their March for Our Lives handle. Noting that they're "deeply saddened," the students say "this is not the price of our freedom" and warn "tragedies like this will continue to happen unless action is taken." Some of the more vocal Parkland students had their own personal messages: Emma Gonzalez tweeted, "Santa Fe High, you didn't deserve this," while David Hogg wrote, "Get ready for two weeks of media coverage of politicians acting like they give a s--- when in reality they just want to boost their approval ratings before midterms." And from Cameron Kasky: "Feel pain, grieve, be hurt and embrace it … but never give up hope. Things will be better. The world will be better." He also had strong words for the NRA and President Trump.
  • Meanwhile, a disturbing stat from the Washington Post: More US children have been killed in school shootings in 2018 than people who've been killed in the service of the US military. The shootings in Parkland and Santa Fe were a major contributor to the devastating number.
(More Santa Fe school shooting stories.)

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