SANTA FE, Texas — At least nine students and one teacher were killed and 10 others are injured after a 17-year-old male student opened fire at a Houston-area high school Friday morning, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed.
The suspected shooter is in custody and a second person of interest has been detained, the local sheriff said. The suspected shooter — who attacked the school using a shotgun and 38 revolver — willingly surrendered to police, Abbott said.
Possible explosive devices were found on and off the high school campus, the school district and the local chief of police and Abbott confirmed on Friday. During a press conference, Santa Fe Police Chief Walter Braun warned residents to report any suspicious objects seen around the community.
At least 10 people were injured, Abbott said during a press conference, including a police officer, but the extent of the officer’s injuries is unknown, Braun said.
State police and FBI agents were surrounding a Santa Fe home believed to be the residence of the alleged shooter Friday afternoon, an NBC affiliate reported.
The incident began just around 7:45 a.m. and the school, Santa Fe High School, went on lockdown around 8 a.m. Friday, officials said.
It was the nation’s deadliest school shooting since the February attack in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and re-energized the gun-control movement after surviving teens launched a campaign for reform.
During a press conference Friday afternoon, Abbott said he would begin round table discussions with all stakeholders next week to begin to address the issue.
The school district confirmed an unspecified number of injuries but said it would not immediately release further details.
“We hope the worst is over, and I really can’t say any more about that because it would be pure speculation,” Assistant Principal Cris Richardson told reporters at the scene.
School officials said law enforcement officers were working to secure the building “and initiate all emergency management protocols to release and move students to another location.” Students from the high school were being transported to another location to reunite with their parents.
One student told Houston television station KTRK in a telephone interview that a gunman came into her first-period art class and started shooting. The student said she saw one girl with blood on her leg as the class evacuated the room.
“We thought it was a fire drill at first but really, the teacher said, ‘Start running,'” the student told the television station.
The student said she didn’t get a good look at the shooter because she was running away. She said students escaped through a door at the back of the classroom. Authorities have not yet confirmed that report.
Aerial footage from the scene showed students standing in a grassy field and three life-flight helicopters landing at the school in Santa Fe, a city of about 13,000 residents roughly 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Houston.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was responding to a shooting at the school.
There was a large law enforcement response to the same school in February when it was placed on lockdown after students and teachers said they heard “popping sounds.” Santa Fe police swept the campus but found no threat.
At the start of a prison reform event at the White House on Friday, President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the families of the victims and said school shootings have been “going on for too long in our country.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke during a press conference Friday afternoon, saying “Texas has seen too much of this” gun violence, before saying “we need to be doing everything humanly possible to stop this from happening again.”
In the aftermath of the Feb. 14 attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, survivors pulled all-nighters, petitioned city councils and state lawmakers, and organized protests in a grass-roots movement.
Within weeks, state lawmakers adopted changes, including new weapons restrictions. The move cemented the gun-friendly state’s break with the National Rifle Association. The NRA fought back with a lawsuit.
In late March, the teens spearheaded one of the largest student protest marches since Vietnam in Washington and inspired hundreds of other marches from California to Japan.
Associated Press writers David Warren, Jamie Stengle, Nomaan Merchant and Diana Heidgerd in Dallas, and Will Weissert and Paul Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.
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