A Galveston County grand jury this week is hearing evidence in the case against the 17-year-old accused of killing 10 people and wounding 13 in a May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School.

Nick Poehl, the attorney representing Dimitrios Pagourtzis, confirmed Tuesday that grand jury testimony had begun, but declined further comment.

The Galveston County District Attorney’s Office cannot comment on grand jury proceedings, which are conducted in secret, First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Petroff said.

Grand juries determine whether people accused of crimes should be indicted and stand trial.

State law requires people being held in jail on felony charges be indicted within 90 days of being detained. Tuesday marked the 81st day since the Santa Fe High School shooting.

Pagourtzis, 17, was arrested inside Santa Fe High School on the day of the shooting, police said. He was charged with one count of capital murder of multiple persons and one count of aggravated assault against a public servant, according to court records.

The assault charge is over the shooting of Santa Fe Independent School District Police Department officer John Barnes, who was severely injured but survived.

In Galveston County, two grand juries are seated at a given time, Petroff said. Grand juries serve three-month terms. The current grand juries began their term in July, Petroff said.

Pagourtzis is held without bond in the Galveston County Jail.

The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, the Santa Fe Independent School District Police Department, the Texas Rangers and the FBI are still investigating the shooting, Petroff said.

It’s not clear whether new charges will be filed against Pagourtzis during the grand jury proceeding.

“I anticipate that we will be presenting the current charges to the grand jury,” Petroff said.

Indictments would clear the way for other hearings related to the criminal case against Pagourtzis to move forward, Petroff said.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230;


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(9) comments

Carlos Ponce

Wonder if the Grand Jury is looking at the killer's parents. Having accessible weapons used to commit murder is a punishable offense. The weapons used in killing 10 people were not his. They belonged to his father. Were they properly secured? Obviously not.
Why were his parents unaware of the explosives in their home?
"Police find explosive devices at Alvin house and in Santa Fe school"
"Early reports indicated that bomb materials -- CO2 canisters wrapped with duct tape -- were non-operational. Testing by experts concluded that at least some of them were functional, officials said. Explosives were reportedly found at the high school, at the teen's home and in a vehicle.

George Croix

Nothing excuses the killer, but he was 17 years old. What 17 year old does anyone know who can't get into pretty much anything in their own home...
'Properly stored' weapons is a catch all phrase, and is like 'proper food' or 'proper clothing'.....different things for different people.
In many homes, including mine, properly stored firearms around a 17 year old would mean full access to them for my child, having long before been taught firearms safety, as long as I had no reason to believe they'd be used wrongly.
The claim is that the parent's had no idea there was a problem.
Is that in doubt now??


Don Schlessinger

George you're right about teens being able to get into things, but I disagree about proper storage. To me proper storage will slow the ability to get to weapons. A determined person will be able to get a weapon if he wants it enough, plenty of street weapons available.

George Croix

Don, I don't have a problem at all with locking up guns. If that's what's meant in this discussion by proper storage. Time and place for everything. I've got multiple safes, trigger locks, etc. When my daughter was small, ALL were secured, and the immediate defense weapons trigger locked with the adjustable tension type that can be removed by a normal strength adult but no way by a smaller child. When daughter was older and knew how to handle firearms, NONE were out of her access. I had no reason to keep the firearms, safe keys/combinations away from my family. That's all I was saying. That was us.....
I think anyone with untrustworthy people in their homes like nosey 'friends' or young children visitors, SHOULD lock up their firearms. That would be true of a KNOWN issue with mental health issues, or acting out, or aberrant behavior , too.
My comment on 'proper storage' was directed to the subject of the SFHS shooter, and how that term means one thing in one home and another in others.
In my home, with all trained well in forearms safety and use, proper storage is quite a different thing from what it might be at another's home.
Some folks say all firearms should be locked up and/or unloaded.
That means they become paperweights.
A 'law' requiring it? Fines if you don't?
Tars and feathers all because of a few, declares personal responsibility to be out of the capability of everyone, and and is unenforceable anyway.

Carlos Ponce

That's why the grand jury needs to look at the "family" connection. But what about the functional EXPLOSIVES? If your kids kept EXPLOSIVES in your home, wouldn't you know if you were a responsible parent? Or is this just a new teen norm? Every teenage boy keeps a cache of explosives at home.[scared]

Gary Scoggin

Actually I went through my explosives phase in junior high.

Carlos Ponce

My only explosive phase dealt with firecrackers. We'd make balls of mud with a firecracker stuck in them, allow them to dry then hurl them like hand grenades. That stopped when dad made us pay for them out of our own money.

Don Schlessinger


George Croix

Every day, nearly, I or a member of my family sit within a few feet of high explosive and drive around within a few feet of other's doing the same.
I venture that most homes have a can of gasoline in the garage (another reason for a satellite storage building) and thus are more exposed to potential expolosive power than with a stick(s) of dynamite.
A lot of homes have natural gas piped in - let that get loose, hit a light switch, and we're talking explosion....
One can make pretty good napalm with common household materials.
The parents should know what a 17 year old is doing?
That certainly sounds easy enough - how does anyone honestly think it plays out in real life? Even the best of no-problems kids do crap that we parents find out about, usually with a dose of belated horror, years later when they fess up.
Now, if one KNOWS they have a stability problem in the house, it certainly would be a good idea to conduct routine searches, but, a parent that can't find the kid's Playboys or BCPs would need to step up to the challenge.

I'm not suggesting absolution, just NOT blanket, one size fits all, positions.....

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