(Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP)

First Funeral Sunday For A Victim Of Texas School Shooting

May 20, 2018 - 1:09 pm

SANTA FE, Texas (1010 WINS/AP) -- The first of 10 funerals was held Sunday for the children and teachers murdered in the Texas school shooting last week.

The funeral was held for exchange student Sabika Sheikh, 17. Her heartbroken father said he thought she would be safe in the U.S.

Her body will be sent to Pakistan for burial.

A total of 10 people were killed in the shooting at the Santa Fe High School on Friday.

Eight of the 10 were students. In addition to Sheikh, they were identified as Kimberly Vaughan, Shana Fisher, Angelique Ramirez, Christian Riley Garcia, Jared Black, Christopher Jake Stone, and Aaron Kyle McLeod.

The other two, Glenda Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale, were teachers.

At least 13 people were injured in the attack at the high school in Santa Fe, which is about 30 miles southeast of Houston.

Meanwhile Sunday, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told CNN’s “State of the Union” that it is parents’ responsibility to make sure their kids don’t get their hands on guns. But he said guns are part of the reality in our country, and the solution to school shootings is not gun control.

Patrick instead called for a “hardening” of the nation’s school buildings.

Patrick, a Republican, blamed a "culture of violence" and said more needs to be done to keep shooters away from students, such as restricting school entrances and arming teachers.

"When you're facing someone who's an active shooter, the best way to take that shooter down is with a gun. But even better than that is four to five guns to one," he said.

On ABC's "The Week," Patrick said he supports background checks for gun purchasers but stressed that "gun regulation starts at home."

“Every parent out there needs to understand; every gun owner – you need to understand, your guns must not; you must control your guns at home, and be sure they’re locked up and kept away from others getting your guns,” Patrick said.

Also on “This Week,” Fred Guttenberg begged to differ. He lost his daughter at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“To hear him continue to make the argument after 10 people died in his state that guns are not the issue is simply a crock,” Guttenberg said.

Congregations in the community of Santa Fe, population 13,000, also on Sunday gathered for the first church services since the assault.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hugged grieving parishioners at Arcadia First Baptist Church. Among them was Monica Bracknell, an 18-year-old senior who survived the shooting. She stopped to tell the governor that the attack should not be turned into a political battle over gun control.

Surrounded by television cameras, photographers and reporters, she told Abbott guns were not to blame.

"People are making this into a political issue," she said she told him. "This is not a political issue. It's not a gun-law issue."

The suspect in Friday's attack began by firing a shotgun through an art classroom door, shattering a glass pane and sending panicked students to the entryway to block him from getting inside, witnesses said.

Dmitrios Pagourtzis, 17, fired again through the wooden part of the door and fatally hit a student in the chest. He then lingered for about 30 minutes in a warren of four rooms, killing seven more students and two teachers before exchanging gunfire with police and surrendering, officials said.

Freshman Abel San Miguel saw his friend Chris Stone killed at the door. San Miguel was grazed on his left shoulder by another volley of shots. He and others survived by playing dead.

"We were on the ground, all piled up in random positions," he said.

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, the county's chief administrator, said he did not think Friday's attack was 30 minutes of constant shooting, and that assessment was consistent with other officials who said law enforcement contained the shooter quickly. But authorities did not release a detailed timeline to explain precisely how events unfolded.

Junior Breanna Quintanilla was in art class when she heard the shots and someone say, "If you all move, I'm going to shoot you all."

Pagourtzis walked in, pointed at one person and declared, "I'm going to kill you." Then he fired.

"He then said that if the rest of us moved, he was going to shoot us," Quintanilla said.

When Quintanilla tried to run out a back door, she realized Pagourtzis was aiming at her. He fired in her direction.

"He missed me," she said. "But it went ahead and ricocheted and hit me in my right leg." She was treated at a hospital and spoke with a brown bandage wrapped around her wound.

"It was a very scary thing," Quintanilla said. "I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to make it back to my family."

In their first statement since the massacre, Pagourtzis' family said Saturday that the bloodshed "seems incompatible with the boy we love."

"We are as shocked and confused as anyone else by these events," said the statement, which offered prayers and condolences to the victims.

Relatives said they remained "mostly in the dark about the specifics" of the attack and shared "the public's hunger for answers."

Pagourtzis' attorney, Nicholas Poehl, said he was investigating whether the suspect endured any "teacher-on-student" bullying after reading reports of his client being mistreated by football coaches.

In an online statement, the school district said it investigated the accusations and "confirmed that these reports were untrue."

Poehl said that there was no history of mental health issues with his client, though there may be "some indications of family history." He said it was too early to elaborate.

The mother of one slain student said her daughter may have been targeted because she rejected advances from Pagourtzi, who was an ex-boyfriend of her daughter's best friend.

Sadie Rodriguez said her 16-year-old daughter, Shana Fisher, repeatedly told him no, and he "continued to get more aggressive." The week before the shooting, Fisher "stood up to him" by embarrassing him in class, Rodriguez said.

In addition to a shotgun and a handgun, Pagourtzis also had several kinds of homemade explosive devices, but they were not capable of detonating, Henry said.

Investigators found a cluster of carbon dioxide canisters taped together, and a pressure cooker with an alarm clock and nails inside. But the canisters had no detonation device, and the pressure cooker had no explosive material, Henry said.

(© 2018 1010 WINS. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)