At least eight people were killed in a shooting Friday morning at a high school in Southeast Texas, the latest eruption of gun violence to terrorize students and teachers alike.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said there were between 8 and 10 people killed, most of them students. Some faculty members were also killed, he said.
School officials said one person was arrested after the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Galveston County, south of Houston, describing the situation as “contained.”
The gunfire in Santa Fe came just three months after a gunman in Parkland, Florida, opened fire in a high school there, killing 17 students and staff members. In Santa Fe, authorities had said earlier there were “confirmed injuries” from the shooting.
Witnesses described panic and confusion as the shots were fired. Students in an art room fled as a gunman came inside, and someone pulled a fire alarm at some point Friday morning.
“Everybody took off,” student Tyler Turner told ABC-13 in Houston. “I heard three shots.”
Turner said that after he was out of harm’s way, he called his mother and then he heard four more shots.
The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston said it had received at least three patients wounded in the incident.
Law enforcement officers were working to secure the school building in the aftermath of the shooting, school officials said.
The president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, Joseph Gamaldi, reported that an officer was wounded and being taken to an area hospital via helicopter.
“Please keep the officers in your prayers,” he wrote on Twitter.
Television footage showed students walking away from the main school building under the watch of law enforcement officers. Ambulances were on the scene, as well as Life Flight helicopters.
The shooting prompted a massive response from local, state and federal agents. Harris County and Galveston County sheriff’s deputies were responding, as well as officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Heavily armed officers in tactical gear were seen deploying at the school, an image that has become grimly familiar from shootings across the country.
A Washington Post analysis of gun violence at schools has found that more than 212,000 children at more than 200 schools have been impacted in shootings during school hours. Those same shootings have killed at least 131 children, educators and other people while injuring another 274, the analysis found.
President Donald Trump, speaking in Washington, decried an “absolutely horrific attack” in Texas.
“This business has been going on for too long in our country,” Trump said. “We grieve for the terrible loss of life.”
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Nick Anderson, Susan Svrluga, Mark Berman