Teenager guns down at least 10 in Texas high school

A heavily-armed student opened fire in Santa Fe High School; the latest mass shooting to devastate the US. The tragedy takes place just three months after the massacre in Parkland, Florida, where a former student killed 17 people.

A 17-year-old in a trench coat carrying a shotgun and a revolver opened fire at a Houston-area high school Friday, killing 10 people, mostly students, and injuring another 10, authorities said. It was the nation’s deadliest such attack since the massacre in Florida that gave rise to a campaign by teens for gun control.

The sound of gunshots tore through the air at Santa Fe High School shortly before 8 am CT (1300 GMT) on Friday, witnesses told local media. Live TV images showed lines of students evacuating the building while heavily-armed police responded to the scene.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who has now been charged with capital murder in the Friday shooting, also had explosive devices, including a Molotov cocktail, that were found in the school and nearby, said Governor Greg Abbott. He called the assault “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools.”

Authorities offered no immediate motive for the shooting. The governor said the assailant who was a junior at the school intended to kill himself but gave up and told police that he did not have the courage to take his own life.

The wounded included a school police officer who was the first to confront the suspect and got shot in the arm.

President Donald Trump “activated” his gun safety commission and is expected to meet with members next week in the wake of the deadly shooting.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the commission the president convened after the Parkland, Florida, shooting in February “has been activated today to start that conversation up again.” She says she believes it will be meeting again in the “first part of next week.”

She declined to say whether Trump will revisit some gun control measures after another school shooting, but adds, “Certainly conversation’s ongoing about the best ways to protect kids across the country.”

Senator John Cornyn says the 17-year-old student accused used a semi-automatic pistol and a sawed-off shotgun. The Republican from Texas says investigators are still determining whether the shotgun’s shortened barrel is legal.

Cornyn says the suspect “planned on doing this for some time, he advertised his intentions but somehow slipped through the cracks.”

Law enforcement authorities were questioning two “people of interest,” Governor Abbott said. One may have “certain information,” he said, and the other had some “suspicious reactions.”

Santa Fe is a city of about 13,000 people roughly 30 miles (48 kilometres) southeast of Houston. 

Legally-owned weapons

Police said the weapons he was carrying were legally owned by his father. 

It was not clear whether the father knew his son had taken them.

Abbott said journal entries by the suspect suggested he wanted to commit suicide but that “he gave himself up.”

Abbott also said there were no “warning signs” about the suspect ahead of time although he did post a picture on his Facebook page of a T-shirt with the words “Born to Kill” on it.

“The red-flag warnings were either non-existent or very imperceptible,” he said.

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