Just four minutes after a 17-year-old boy started shooting in his Texas high school with his father's shotgun and .38 revolver, two police officers stationed at the school had already cornered him. But in the next 25 minutes — and in the midst of a chaotic gunfight — the shooter would still manage to kill 10 people and injure 13 more.
Among those injured in the Friday-morning shooting at Santa Fe High School was one of the school officers, John Barnes, who was the first person to engage with the shooter, later identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis. During the gunfight, Barnes was hit in the arm and critically injured. He’s now being hailed as a hero for insisting the other officer evacuate and help the remaining students before returning to save him.
The alleged gunman had planned to kill himself, according to authorities, but he ultimately surrendered. Still, much of what transpired Friday morning remains a mystery — including whether law enforcement bullets hit any of the eight students and two teachers who were killed.
Here's what we know about how the deadly mass shooting unfolded:
Initial 911 calls of shots fired at Santa Fe High School came in, and 50 deputies from the Galveston County Sheriff's department responded, along with numerous others from additional agencies.
The two school resource officers responded to the scene and cornered the gunman within four minutes of the shots starting, Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said at a news conference Monday. Over 200 law enforcement officers in total eventually joined them.
7:44 a.m. to around 8:09 a.m.
Over the next 25 minutes, officers exchanged shots with the shooter and cornered him in one classroom before assuming their position in a hallway, where Barnes’ elbow was shattered with a bullet. His heart stopped twice — once while being transported to the hospital and another time on the operating table, according to the New York Times.
It’s unclear when the last shots were fired, but students started to be taken out of their classrooms, according to local station ABC13.
“When people were running from the gunfire, the officers that were continuing to arrive were going to it, and every door they opened, they weren't sure what was on the other side of it, but they opened those doors continuously, time after time, until that school was cleared,” Trochesset said. “That's what you call a hero. They didn't run from it. They ran to it.”
Around 8:09 a.m.
Police finally captured and arrested the shooter. While he planned to kill himself, police negotiated with him, and he eventually surrendered. Trochesset told reporters that he didn’t think any victims were killed by crossfire from officers, but he can’t be sure until the autopsies are completed.
"There were minimal shots fired, at least from us, from law enforcement," he said. "But the individual was still trying to shoot us."
Neighboring school districts were also put on lockdown, and all Santa Fe High School students were fully evacuated.
8:32 - 8:38 a.m.
Other law enforcement groups, like The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.
8:45 - 8:50 a.m.
Multiple medical helicopters arrive at the school, and multiple patients are sent to the hospital — some in critical condition.
The Santa Fe Independent School District said there might be explosives in the school as well, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed police had reason to believe there were “various kinds of explosives” in the area. Officials later found a carbon dioxide device and a Molotov cocktail in the suspect’s home and vehicle, respectively.
What we know about the alleged shooter
Before Friday’s deadly attack, the alleged shooter had posted photos of neo-Nazi iconography online and made a shirt with the words “Born to Kill” on the front, according to The Daily Beast. He played on the Santa Fe High School junior varsity football team and was a member of his local Greek Orthodox church’s dance squad.
He now faces charges of capital murder and aggravated assault of a police officer. As of Monday, Barnes was still in intensive care at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and struggling with kidney function.
Since the alleged shooter is only 17, however, he isn’t facing the death penalty or life in prison without parole. He could be eligible for parole in 40 years if he's convicted on the state charges, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Cover image: Law enforcement officers respond to an active shooter in front of Santa Fe High School Friday, May 18, 2018, in Santa Fe, Texas. (Steve Gonzale/Houston Chronicle via AP)