March 23, 2019– Mary Greeley News – DALLAS (AP) — Federal prosecutors say they will not pursue charges at this time against the teenager accused of fatally shooting 10 people at a Texas high school.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 18, faces a state capital murder trial for the deadly shooting last May at Santa Fe High School that also wounded 13 people.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas says prosecutors and FBI agents met with the victims and family members Tuesday and that no federal charges will be filed at this time. A spokeswoman declined to say whether Pagourtzis might face future federal prosecution.
If convicted in state court, Pagourtzis could be sentenced to life in prison. But he has the possibility of parole after 40 years because he was a minor at the time of the shooting.
The teenager accused of carrying out the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School on Friday was known as a quiet student who often wore a trench coat to school.
Pagourtzis allegedly used a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver to kill 10 people — eight students and two teachers — and injure 13 others, and he confessed that he acted alone in the shooting, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Victims’ families hoped that a federal conviction for Pagourtzis, combined with a conviction in state court, would keep him behind bars for the rest of his life. Several of the families gave emotional testimony at the Texas Capitol on Mar. 13, raising concerns that a bill allowing inmates convicted as juveniles to get out of prison earlier could reduce the amount of time Pagourtzis will spend behind bars.
Authorities found writings in the suspect’s journals that indicated he wanted to take his own life, Abbott said.
There was information “contained in journals on his computer and his cellphone that he said that not only did he want to commit the shooting, but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting,” Abbott said.
“As you probably know, he gave himself up and admitted at the time he didn’t have the courage to commit the suicide, that he wanted to take his own life earlier,” Abbott said.
Abbott told reporters the alleged shooter used a shotgun and a revolver that were legally owned by his father.
The shooter was hiding a shotgun underneath a long coat Friday morning when he walked onto the campus, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said.
“Our local agencies are ready and willing to push forward but their hands are being tied by whomever in Washington, D.C., as far as moving forward,” said Pamela Stanich, who attented the meeting and whose son, Jared Black, was killed during the shooting. “So we need to untie those hands.”
A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney confirmed the meeting but declined to comment on whether Patrick discussed not bringing federal charges. “We fully support the Galveston DA and his prosecution of the individual charged in the case,” the spokeswoman said. An FBI spokeswoman confirmed that bureau officials attended the meeting.