The 17-year-old suspect in the killing of ten people at Santa Fe high school in Texas has confessed, authorities say, but his motivation for the attack remains unclear.
Santa Fe High School junior Dimitrious Pagourtzis hid a shotgun and a pistol under his trenchcoat before opening fire in a first-period art class on Friday, according to an affidavit filed by police. The FBI announced Saturday that it had taken the lead in the joint investigation, at the request of local authorities.
“He gave a statement admitting to shooting multiple people inside the Santa Fe High School with the intent on killing people,” the police affidavit said. “Dimitrios advised he did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told.” The attack ended when he walked out of a classroom and surrendered to police.
Authorities say Pagourtzis planned the killings, carried out with weapons owned by his father. Though Pagourtzis allegedly wrote about his intention to carry out the attack, no indication of his motivation has yet been released.
According to one of Pagourtzis’s lawyers, the 17-year-old appears to be “disoriented,” and said his mood varied from “very emotional,” to “weirdly nonemotional.”
“There are aspects of it he understands and there are aspects he doesn’t understand,” the lawyer added.
Gov. Greg Abbott said Pagourtzis had planned to kill himself after the shooting, but that Pagourtzis admitted to police “that he didn’t have the courage to commit the suicide.”
Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said Saturday that authorities found a group of carbon dioxide canisters taped together, and a pressure cooker with an alarm clock and nails inside. But he says the canisters had no detonation device and the pressure cooker had no explosive material.
Some Santa Fe High School students indicated that Pagourtzis may have had one or more targets, though the details were not yet clear. Breanna Quintanilla, 17, a junior, said she was in her art classroom Friday morning in what she described as a “perfectly normal day” when she heard gun shots.
Quintanilla said when Pagourtzis first walked in, he pointed at one student and said, “I’m going to kill you.” Quintanilla, who was wounded escaping the classroom, did not identify that person.
At a news conference, Abbott said Pagourtzis had not previously gotten into trouble. “The red-flag warnings were either nonexistent or very imperceptible,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.