Texas officials on Friday charged a 17-year-old boy with murder in the fatal shootings of 10 people, most of them students, at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. Ten other people were wounded in the attack, including a school police officer who was one of the first to confront the suspect.
Students said the gunman, identified by law enforcement as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a junior at the school, opened fire before 8 a.m. at Santa Fe High School.
A motive wasn't immediately clear, but Governor Greg Abbott said Pagourtzis wrote about planning the attack in journals on his computer and in his cellphone that police obtained. That was inconsistent with the portrait painted by his friends — a reserved young man, an athlete who had discussed wanting to own guns but didn't talk of killing people.
It may have been what Pagourtzis hoped would happen, as according to an affidavit filed Friday when he was charged with capital murder, he told investigators that he didn't shoot students he liked "so he could have his story told."
The names of the victims are being released, among them are a substitute teacher and a foreign exchange student.
Cynthia Tisdale, a teacher, was among those killed Friday morning at Santa Fe High School, her family confirmed. Tisdale was married to her husband for nearly 40 years and the two had three children and eight grandchildren, her niece Leia Olinde said.
Sabika Sheikh, a foreign exchange student from Pakistan, was also killed, the Pakistani Embassy in Washington has confirmed. The Pakistan Association of Greater Houston said on Facebook that Sabika was to go back home to Pakistan for Eid al-Fitr, a three-day holiday that marks the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
Abbott said police found explosive devices, including a Molotov cocktail, at the suspect's home and in a vehicle, as well as around the high school. He said there were "one or two'' other people of interest being interviewed about the attack.
Abbott said the suspect, who is being held without bond in the Galveston County jail on the capital murder charges, originally intended to commit suicide following the shooting but told law enforcement officials after he was arrested that he didn't have the courage to go through with it.
The governor said two weapons were used in the attack, a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver. He said the suspect's father legally owned both guns. It was not clear whether the father knew his son had taken the weapons.
Abbott called the shooting "one of the most heinous attacks that we've ever seen in the history of Texas schools."
An unidentified male student described fleeing the school during an interview with KHOU-TV in Houston. He said that after he heard three shots, "we all took off in the back, and I tried to get into the trees. I didn't want to be in sight. I heard four more shots, and then we jumped the fence to somebody's house."
An unidentified female student said tearfully on cable channel CNN, "Nobody should have to go through this. Nobody should have to feel that pain."
WATCH: 10 dead in Texas School Shooting
No major warning signs
Police said that there were no major indications the suspect was planning an attack and that he had no criminal history. He recently posted a picture of a black T-shirt on his Facebook page that read "BORN TO KILL," according to authorities.
That same Facebook profile described Pagourtzis as planning to enter the U.S. Marine Corps next year, but the Marine Corps told The Associated Press it had reviewed its records and had found no one by that name as either a recruit or a person in its delayed entry pool.
Classmates of Pagourtzis described him as quiet and unassuming — an avid video game player who routinely wore a black trench coat and black boots to class. They said he played on the junior varsity football team and belonged to a local Greek Orthodox church.
U.S. President Donald Trump described the shooting as an "absolutely horrific attack," one of many that have "been going on too long in this country." Trump told the victims and their families that "we're with you in this tragic hour and we will be with you forever." He vowed to get guns "out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others."
The latest incident came about three months after a shooter with a semiautomatic rifle killed 17 students and school staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It was the third-deadliest school shooting in American history.
Following the shooting, some of the survivors championed stronger gun-control regulations and led Florida state lawmakers to adopt new restrictions on weapons.
Bruce Alexander, a longtime law enforcement and Department of Homeland Security official, told VOA that the Texas attack came at a time when "we have scarcely started to come to grips with previous incident in Parkland."
He said after such shootings there is usually a lot "of finger-pointing," which he described as "very unhelpful in trying to find practical working solutions." Alexander said it was too simplistic to reduce such attacks to "a sound bite and say, 'This is a gun control issue,' or 'This is a mental health issue.' "
Calls for action
The Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said urgent action was needed to prevent gun violence.
"Congress must show as much courage as they have, and act now to ensure that no other community or family must endure the unthinkable horror of gun violence. Our children deserve real leadership: a vote to prevent gun violence now."
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said Congress must implement reforms that lawmakers recently passed "to make schools safer and keep deadly weapons away from those who should not have them."
"Our hearts are filled with grief over this horrific loss of life," he added.
Santa Fe is located in southeastern Texas between the cities of Houston and Galveston.
Some information for this report came from Associated Press.