At least 10 people have been killed and 10 others wounded in a school shooting in the US state of Texas, the governor confirmed.
Greg Abbott said the Friday morning shooting at Santa Fe High School, located about 50km southeast of Houston, was “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools”.
“It’s impossible to describe the magnitude of the evil of someone who would attack innocent children in a school,” Abbott told reporters on Friday afternoon.
He said the suspected shooter – a student who has been taken to custody, according to police – carried out the attack with a shotgun and a .38 revolver he apparently took from his father, who legally owned both weapons.
“As of this time, there have been 10 lives that have been lost, and another 10 wounded,” Abbott, the governor, said.
“It’s time in Texas that we take action to step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again in the history in the state of Texas,” he added.
“One or two” other “people of interest” have been detained and are being questioned by officials, said the governor.
Abbott said the suspected planted various types of explosives in a home and a vehicle, including a molotov cocktail. Earlier, police said explosive devices were found in the high school and surrounding areas adjacent to the school.
Wesley Hill, a student, said he was at school for only about 25 minutes when police evacuated his classroom. He told the local ABC News affiliate his teacher helped lead them to safety.
“It was scary. I didn’t know what to think … My heart started beating real fast, I didn’t know what to do,” Hill said.
Another student, Dakota Shrader, said she heard an alarm sound in the high school, and then three loud booms.
“Everyone started running,” she told ABC-13 KTRK in tears and visibly shaken.
#UPDATE There have been explosive devices found in the high school and surrounding areas adjacent to the high school. Because of the threat of explosive items, community members should be on the look-out for suspicious packages and anything that looks out of place.
— Santa Fe ISD (@SantaFeISD) May 18, 2018
Among those wounded was one officer, who was being treated at a local hospital, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters.
At least six injured people, including the police officer, were transported to local hospitals, said Chief Walter Braun of the Santa Fe Independent School District (ISD) police.
David Marshall, chief nursing officer at UTMB hospital in Galveston, Texas, said three people – two adults, one male and one female – and one boy under age 18 – were brought in with gun-shot wounds.
The female patient was undergoing surgery after being shot in the leg, Marshall told reporters.
The male adult was also undergoing surgery after being shot in the arm, and the underage patient had a gunshot wound to the leg.
“It’s a horrible tragedy. Our hearts go out to those folks in Santa Fe … We’re doing the best we can to be a community partner to take care of them,” Marshall said.
Safi Madain, medical director in the ER at Clear Lake Medical Center, said eight high school students received treatment at the hospital for gun-shot wounds.
Local officials called on residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious packages to the authorities.
Leigh Wall, the Santa Fe ISD superintendent, said the community had “experienced an unthinkable tragedy”.
“We have received an outpouring from across the state and we appreciate your continued prayers for our students and our staff and our community,” Wall told reporters.
US President Donald Trump expressed “sadness and heartbreak” over the shooting.
Describing the incident as “absolutely horrific,” Trump said: “This has been going on too long in our country.”
This is the third school shooting in eight days in the US, according to CNN, and the 22nd so far this year.
A shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and staff in February sparked a movement for stricter gun control laws in the US.
— March For Our Lives (@AMarch4OurLives) May 18, 2018
Parkland students sent “love and support” to Santa Fe on Friday.
“Though this is the 22nd school shooting this year, we urge those reading this not to sweep it under the rug and forget,” the students said in a statement.
“This is not the price of our freedom. This is the most fatal shooting since the one at our school and tragedies like this will continue to happen unless action is taken.”