Santa Fe, TX – USA Today has published an article that claimed the Santa Fe High School shooter’s deadly rampage could have been much worse, and credited the gunman’s “use of less-lethal weapons” as the likely reason more people weren’t killed.
"Less lethal" is a term used to describe weapons which are unlikely to be lethal, but may result in death in rare occasions.
Examples of less-lethal weapons include Tasers and rubber bullets. They do not include firearms with live ammunition.
Santa Fe High School student Dimitrios Pagourtzis murdered 10 people – and injured 10 more – when he opened fire inside the school on Friday morning.
Police entered the school just eight minutes after the first 911 call of shots fired was placed, according to KHOU.
Pagourtzis, 17, was armed with a shotgun and a .38 revolver, both of which he had taken from his father, The Mercury News reported.
USA Today expressed relief that Pagourtzis used such “less-lethal weapons” to murder his peers and faculty, and claimed that the firearms “may have slowed down the gunman’s deadly rampage because they have a slower firing rate.”
The periodical compared the weapons Pagourtzis used to an AR-15, which it claimed “can be fired more than twice as fast as most handguns.” This statement is entirely inaccurate.
The AR-15’s larger magazine would also allow “a shooter to continue firing interrupted for longer, making the weapon more lethal than other firearms,” USA Today asserted.
“In Friday's attack, it's likely the weapons may have kept the death toll from rising,” the news outlet concluded.
According to USA Today, “less lethal weapons” were also used in the “deadly attack at Virginia Tech” in 2007, when student Seung-Hui Cho murdered 32 people with two handguns.
In actuality, an AR-15 – a semiautomatic rifle – cannot be fired any more rapidly than the weapons Pagourtzis used, with regards to trigger pull.
Depending on the type of ammunition, a shotgun has the ability to send multiple projectiles downrange with each shot, as opposed to the single bullet fired by an AR-15.
It's unclear why the publication would claim evidenced by the 10 individuals he ruthlessly killed.
Pagourtzis’ weapons also would not have been affected by any new gun control legislation, which has banned “assault weapons,” and “high capacity magazines” in some areas.
Police first received a 911 call of shots fired at Santa Fe High School at 7:32 a.m., KHOU reported.
Retired Houston Police Officer John Barnes, who went on to work as an officer at Santa Fe ISD PD, was the first one to engage Pagourtzis.
Officer Barnes, 49, sustained a gunshot wound to the upper arm, which caused a severe injury to a major blood vessel, and shattered bones in his elbow.
The officer lost a significant amount of blood at the scene, and was transported to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) by air ambulance in critical condition.
Medical personnel said that Officer Barnes was “bleeding out,” when he arrived, and that his “blood pressure was very low.”
The officer was rushed into surgery at 9:20 a.m., and his vital signs have since stabilized.
He was still in surgery to address shattered bones in his elbow as of Friday afternoon.
Two other victims were also being treated at the same hospital, while multiple other patients had been taken to Clear Lake Regional Hospital, WLS reported.
According to KHOU, Pagourtzis surrendered himself to police at 10:06 a.m., but said his intention had been to commit suicide.
An 18-year-old individual was also detained with Pagourtzis, the news outlet reported.
Investigators have confirmed the presence of explosive devices at the school – including pressure cookers and Molotov cocktails – and were working to ascertain whether or not additional explosive devices were planted in other locations, to include the gunman’s home.
Students said they saw Pagourtzis wearing a trench coat, army boots, and a t-shirt with the words “Born to Kill,” on the morning of the attack, KIAH reported.
Many said he was quiet, and tended to stay to himself.
Some believed he had been bullied.
According to Heavy, Pagourtzis posted a photo of a handgun and a knife on his Instagram page. In the bio section of his profile, he simply wrote, “Numb.”
His Facebook page allegedly included a photograph of a long coat covered with Nazi symbols, and he listed the significance of the symbols in the photo caption.
Pagourtzis’ social media accounts have since been deleted.