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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Texas students who supported Parkland become victims of own shooting

A substitute teacher and a Pakistani exchange student killed in attack have been named

Abdul Aziz Sheikh, left, father of Sabika Sheikh, a victim of a shooting at a Texas high school, comforts to an elderly woman arriving for condolence to his daughter at his home in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, May 19, 2018. AP / Fareed Khan
Abdul Aziz Sheikh, left, father of Sabika Sheikh, a victim of a shooting at a Texas high school, comforts to an elderly woman arriving for condolence to his daughter at his home in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, May 19, 2018. AP / Fareed Khan

Only weeks ago, a dozen students from Santa Fe High School in Texas offered support for survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting by participating in a nationwide walkout seeking stricter gun control. But they faced their own hell when a gunman opened fire at their school on Friday.

It was Parkland students who were declaring their solidarity with teens in Santa Fe after a 17-year-old armed with a shotgun and a pistol opened fire at the Houston-area school, killing 10 people. It was the nation's deadliest such attack since the Florida massacre that killed 17 and energized the teen-led gun-control movement.

Sophomore Kyle Harris, who took part in the walkout for Parkland last month, was in first period when a fire alarm went off. Then, he heard teachers urging him to flee.

"The scariest thing is hearing a teacher who knows your name personally call you by your name and tell you to run," Harris tweeted.

The gunman has been identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who is being held on a capital murder charge.

Those who knew him described him as a quiet teenager who liked to dance with a Greek church group and to play American football. His social media posts indicated that he had an interest in weapons and harming others.

A Facebook post on April 30 showed a black T-shirt with the words "Born to Kill" printed in white.

Governor Greg Abbott said journal entries by Mr Pagourtzis showed that he not only wanted to commit a mass shooting but also “commit suicide after the shooting”. But after killing a teacher and nine fellow students he “did not have the courage to commit suicide,” he said.

The shooter spared people he liked so he could have his story told, a charging document obtained by Reuters showed.

The student was armed with a shotgun and a .38 revolver, both taken from his father, possibly without the parent's knowledge.

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Read more:

'Finger jabbing' won't change US gun laws, Tony Blair tells survivors of Florida school massacre

Florida shooting survivors at Dubai education forum call for ‘improved school safety’

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A substitute teacher who relatives say had a "lust for life" and a foreign exchange student from Pakistan are among the first confirmed victims of mass shooting at a Texas high school.

Family members confirmed that substitute teacher Cynthia Tisdale was among the victims killed in the shooting.

A leader at a program for foreign exchange students and the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, D.C. sent a letter to students in the program confirming that exchange student Sabika Sheikh was killed in the shooting.

Among those injured Friday are a school resource officer and a sophomore baseball player. School police officer John Barnes was shot in the arm when he confronted the gunman.

Sophomore baseball player Rome Shubert told the Houston Chronicle that he heard "three loud pops" before the attacker fled into the hall. Shubert says he realized he had been wounded as he was running out the back door.

It was the second mass shooting in Texas in less than a year. A man armed with an assault rifle shot dead 26 people during Sunday prayers at a rural church last November.