CROSBY – Secondary education is supposed to be about building a future not about eliminating the hope of the future yet in incident after incident the school shootings continue.
This time Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, walked up to the art class of Santa Fe High School on May 18 at about 7:40 a.m. and opened fire with a shotgun. He then entered the building and threw explosives about the area. He killed ten and thirteen were otherwise wounded including a Santa Fe Police Officer in critical condition. That officer and a Texas State Trooper had engaged him and Paguortzis surrendered after being injured in the shooting. He is now charged with capital murder.
As the data about munitions piles up, as the information about benefits and dangers of metal detectors become clear and all the piles of rhetoric mount, it becomes clear that officials don’t know what to do.
The youngest student to die was Christian Riley Garcia, a new freshman at Santa Fe High School. Witnesses indicate Pagourtzis jumped up on the new guy, yelled “surprise,” and shot him in the chest.
The Garcias had lived in Crosby. They got three acres from a relative and decided to make Santa Fe home. A new and beautiful beginning for a faith based family. Pastor Keenan Smith had baptized Ryland and knows their story well.
“This is the worst thing that can happen to a parent that loves their children. The only comfort there can be in a time like this is in knowing they had dedicated their life to Christ,” declared Smith to reporters after a brief memorial. “I don’t know what comfort there can be for others.”
What was heavy on the heart of the pastor Monday was that none of the parents or families of the deceased had been able to see their lost ones bodies. Forensics is a rigorous science, nothing can be left to chance or done outside of order but a mother may need to touch her son’s hand.
“I don’t care what mountains you have to move, you can’t tell me they can’t prep those bodies so that parents can see their dead children any earlier than 9 days later. They need to let a parent have five minutes alone with that child.” Smith stated.
“After the incident, the parents sat out there for nine hours without any notification, clinging to some measure of hope. I was there with all of her family (Christian’s mother) and she said, ‘All you will be doing is just sitting waiting like all of us. Trying to believe the best until you know otherwise.’
“Eventually the officials come and ask her for a photograph of her son on her cell phone. She shows them, hoping for a discovery, but they walk away and hours later they return to say, ‘Ma’am, we are sorry, but the only people here are the family of the deceased.’ That was her confirmation.”