Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Calls Mass Shooting At Santa Fe High School A Tragedy

May 18, 2018
Originally published on May 18, 2018 3:28 pm
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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Mourners are gathering this hour at vigils across Santa Fe, Texas. At least 9 people are dead, and 10 more are injured after a gunman opened fire this morning at Santa Fe High School. Here's Texas Senator Ted Cruz at tonight's vigil.

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TED CRUZ: Look at the men and women gathered here and the boys and girls who came because they could come to no other place than to stand here as one and to say, you can't stand any longer; lean on me. And if I can't stand any longer, I'll lean on you.

SHAPIRO: The suspect is in police custody. He's been identified by federal law enforcement as Dimitrios Pagourtzis. He's a current student at the school. Texas Governor Greg Abbott described the two weapons he apparently used in the attack.

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GREG ABBOTT: One was a shotgun, and the other is a .38 revolver. It is my information that both of these weapons were obtained by the shooter from his father.

SHAPIRO: In addition, authorities warned about explosive devices found at the school and elsewhere, including at the suspect's home and in his car. Dakota Shrader, a sophomore, didn't see the shooter. She was in the history hall when the fire alarm went off. Here's what she told KTRK TV.

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DAKOTA SHRADER: All we heard was, run; run. And next thing you know, we hear boom, boom, boom (ph). And then everybody just started running. I tried to make it to the safest place I could as fast as I can.

SHAPIRO: She was able to call her mom, Susan Davidson.

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SUSAN DAVIDSON: She couldn't breathe. She was having an asthma attack.

SHRADER: I was freaking out.

DAVIDSON: I didn't even know where to find her. She was in a field. And I just - I can't even begin to tell you what that's like.

SHAPIRO: Shrader says her friend was shot in the leg. That friend texted her a picture from the hospital. The wounded were taken to several hospitals in the area. Dr. Gulshan Sharma is the chief medical officer for the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston about 25 miles from Santa Fe. His hospital treated three of the injured. They had gunshot wounds to the leg, arm and hip. He says they practiced for days like today, running drills every quarter.

GULSHAN SHARMA: We always see that at the news, and we think it'll never happen in your community or in your area. But, you know, we're not surprised. You know, that's why we prepare for these things.

SHAPIRO: Dr. Sharma has two high school-age kids himself, and they were on his mind today.

SHARMA: It's surreal when you have to go through this. We are doing the best we can given the current circumstances. Go home, and hug your kids.

SHAPIRO: Governor Abbott echoed that appeal.

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ABBOTT: And I ask every parent out there, wherever you may be, to hold your children close tonight and let them know how much you love them.

SHAPIRO: And he said, we need to do more than pray for the victims and families. He vowed to assemble stakeholders to work on solutions to prevent such tragedies from being repeated. At the vigil, mourners started a round of "Amazing Grace."

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UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.