SANTA FE, Texas (FOX 26) - The accused Santa Fe High School shooter is now also facing federal charges. Parents whose kids were gunned down at Santa Fe High School less than a year ago have been fighting for these charges. Why? They never want their kids’ killer to walk free again.
"He doesn’t deserve to be free, ever,” says Gail McLeod, whose son Kyle was killed in the school shooting. With her son’s picture in a pendant around her neck, McLeod joined other parents who know exactly how she feels about this latest development.
"It’s a relief to us families. This is something the community and all ten families have been pushing for. Emails, conferences, drives to Austin,” explains Chris Stone’s mom, Rosie Stone.
“All of these people behind me have worked hard, making calls to congress, doing everything they can to secure these charges,” said former school officer John Barnes who was shot May 18, 2018 in the Santa Fe High School shooting. His arm is still clearly on the mend.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis has been in jail on a state capital murder charge since being accused of shooting and killing 10 people and injuring 13 others inside Santa Fe High. If found guilty, the now 18-year-old could be paroled after 40 years.
"That’s only four years per life,” says Mrs. Stone.
So the victims’ parents fought for federal charges to be tacked on. Two weeks ago, they were told it wouldn't happen. Then suddenly Pagourtzis was picked up at the Galveston County Jail and taken in a caravan to the federal courthouse.
"The federal government has decided to come up with their own charges against him at this time,” explains Pagourtzis' attorney Katy-Marie Lyles.
Pagourtzis' parents were there for the hearing.
These new federal charges mean the teen will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.
"He will never ever come out of prison, ever,” says Mrs. McLeod.
"I want him to go away and rot. He served us a life sentence. I think he deserves one too,” says Pamela Stanich, whose son, Jared Black, was killed at Santa Fe High.
Pagourtzis was a juvenile when the shooting occurred, so the federal charges against him have been sealed. That will change if he's tried as an adult, which could happen. One parent whose child was killed in the shooting says he has conducted extensive research and he believes the federal charge is for the explosives used that day.
Pagourtzis will be back in court on the state charge May 10, 2019, where the judge will likely reveal where his trial will be moved to after the change of venue was granted.