Authorities say at least 10 people were killed after a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High School in the Houston-area early Friday morning adding to the long-list of deadly school shootings in the U.S.
Governor Greg Abbott confirmed during a press conference that another 10 people were injured in the tragedy and that his office was taking immediate steps to address the issue of gun violence.
“We come together today as we deal with one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools,” Abbott told reporters. “It’s impossible to describe the magnitude of the evil of someone who would attack children in a school.”
WATCH: Official provide updates on school shooting in Texas
“We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families. It’s time in Texas that we take action to step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again,” he said. “Beginning next week we will assemble all stakeholders to begin to work immediately on swift solutions to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again.”
Police said they responded to the call around 8 a.m. of shots fired inside Santa Fe High School in Galveston County, about 55 kilometres south of Houston.
“There’s one suspect in custody, a second possible person of interest that was detained,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez at a morning news conference. Gonzalez said an officer was also injured.
The alleged gunman has been identified as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, according to the Associated Press. Friday’s shooting was the nation’s deadliest attack since the massacre in Parkland Florida that killed 17 people and gave rise to a campaign by teens for gun control.
Abbott confirmed that two weapons – a shotgun and a handgun – were used in the shooting and that neither was owned or legally possessed by the shooter.
WATCH: Texas Governor Greg Abbott described Friday’s deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School as “one of the most heinous attacks” in Texas history
Officials said search warrants were carried out at the shooters home where investigators located information from journals, computers and a cellphone where Pagourtzis said he wanted carry out a mass shooting but wanted to commit suicide.
Dr. Cris Richardson, assistant principal at Santa Fe High School, told reporters the threat at the school was over after one person was arrested at the scene.
“What we do know is that we had a shooter in the building and that person has been arrested and secured,” she said. “We have done an amazing job to get the students out of the building safely and to reunite them with their parents as we are able to.”
Students and staff described the terror that unfolded as shots began to ring out in the school. Sixteen-year-old John Robinson says he was in first period English class when the fire alarm went off.
“Everybody was just trying to get away from the school. They kept saying there was a shooter, people were shot,” Robinson said, adding that he felt scared and simply wanted to get as far away from the school as possible. He believes two of his friends might have been injured in the shooting but that he hasn’t been able to speak with them.
WATCH: Trump remarks on shooting at Santa Fe High School
U.S. President Donald Trump called the shooting a “horrific attack.”
“We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support and love to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack,” Trump said. “To the students, families, teachers, and personnel at Santa Fe High: we’re with you in this tragic hour and we will be with you forever.
“My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools, and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others,” the president said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also sent his condolences following the shooting.
“My heart goes out to everyone affected by this morning’s shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas,” the prime minister tweeted. “Sending my deepest condolences to the parents, families, and friends grieving the loss of a loved one. Canadians are keeping you in our thoughts today.”
Dr. David Marshall, chief nursing officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch, said that the hospital was treating at least three patients – two adults and one person under 18. He said it was not immediately clear if that child was a student.
“I know that they have gunshot wounds but that’s the extent of the knowledge I have at this point,” Marshall told reporters at a news conference. “One adult is in our operating room.”
“We’re ready for more patients,” he said. “We have not heard of any en route at this point.”
*With files from the Associated Press
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