SANTA FE – In the latest school shooting incident in the United States, at least ten people including a Pakistani exchange student were killed after a teenage classmate opened fire in a Texas high school.
The attacker, who was armed with a shotgun and a revolver, identified as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a student of the Santa Fe High School. Police have arrested Pagurtziz on capital murder charges under which he could be awarded death penalty.
Governor Greg Abbott said 10 people died and another 10 were wounded in “one of the most heinous attacks that we´ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools.” All the deceased identified as nine students and one tutor.
The Pakistani student identified as Sabika Sheikh who was studying at the school under the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme since August 2017.
In a letter sent to the YES programme students, Megan Lysaght, the program manager (Inbound) at American Councils for International Education, wrote: “It is with [the] greatest sadness in my heart that I need to inform you that one of our YES students, Sabika Sheikh of Pakistan, was killed today in the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.
With less than a month until going home to her friends and family, Sabika Sheikh, a YES exchange student from Pakistan, was killed in the #SantaFeHighSchool shooting. If this had happened to me when I was on YES in Jordan it would be "terrorism"-why is it different when it's here pic.twitter.com/CeozGAVSRN
— Ariel Russell (@russ_ari) May 18, 2018
“Please know that the YES program is devastated by this loss and we will remember Sabika and her families in our thoughts and prayers. We will have a moment of silence in her memory today.”
Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC confirmed the death of the Sabina in the deadly shooting through a tweet.
Among the victims was Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani exchange student. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Sabika’s family and friends”. Ambassador Chaudhry 2/3
— Pakistan Embassy, DC (@PakEmbassyDC) May 18, 2018
Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, “expressed heartfelt condolences for the victims of the tragic incident.”
Our Consul General in Houston is in touch with the authorities concerned to ascertain facts 3/3
— Pakistan Embassy, DC (@PakEmbassyDC) May 18, 2018
Sabika Left Family in Tears
Father of the Pakistani student named Abdul Aziz, who lives in Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Iqbal, said that Sabika was due to come back to Pakistan on June 9, saying, “We all were waiting for her return passionately”. Aziz said that his deceased daughter was eldest among three sisters.
He further said that terrorist attacks can happen anywhere and such inhumane act should be condemned.
A brother of Sabika said that his sister loved everyone and was ready to return home.
Donald Trump Reaction
US President Donald Trump in a tweet expressed grief over the terrible loss of life. He said, “We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support and love to everyone affected by this horrible attack in Texas. To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High School – we are with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever”.
We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support and love to everyone affected by this horrible attack in Texas. To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High School – we are with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever… pic.twitter.com/LtJ0D29Hsv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
“My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others,” Trump said at the White House.
In February, a deadly shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school killed seventeen teens and educators, a carnage that stirred the nation’s long-running debate over gun ownership.
Days after the Parkland massacre, the US president hinted at changing the laws regarding weapons. He had said that elected officials should be ready to “fight” the powerful National Rifle Association lobby group. Early this month he warned the group, saying, “your Second Amendment rights are under siege.”
The Second Amendment of the US Constitution protects the right to bear arms. However, no any major action has been taken in the wake of federal gun control since the Parkland shooting.
Condolence Pour in for Sabika on Twitter
I am sad to know about the death of a Pakistani student Sabika Sheikh and some others in Texas shooting.She was supposed to come back to Pakistan on this Eid but she became victim of gun culture in US.May Allah give sabr to her parents. #JusticeForSabika pic.twitter.com/t1BP2B55H9
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) May 18, 2018
Pakistani Exhange Student Sabika Sheikh was killed today in Texas in school shooting, a terrorist act. May God bless her soul & bless her family with courage to bear this loss. US Guns Laws have made it insecure for all as NRA holds US hostage and denies this act as terrorism pic.twitter.com/NEB0tLWPe7
— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) May 18, 2018
Deepest condolences to Sabika Sheikh's family & friends. May her soul rest in eternal peace. Pakistani exchange student, Sabika was 1 of 10 killed during the #SantaFeHighSchool shooting in Texas today. She did not deserve this. None of them did. #GunControlNow #GunControl pic.twitter.com/QkF1paWEEm
— Kashif N Chaudhry (@KashifMD) May 18, 2018
A Pakistani Student Sabika Sheikh died in today’s school shooting in #SantaFe #Texas a few hours ago
She was on her Exchange Year In US and was due to come back to Pakistan on Eid
Do remember her in your prayers.
Our thoughts go with her family and friends.. pic.twitter.com/GrXMrGSkYV
— Irum Azeem Farooque (@Irumf) May 18, 2018
This is exchange student Sabika Sheikh. She was attending #SantaFeHighSchool as apart of the YES Pakistan program. She was murdered today. Sabika came to the US for a better education & to chase her dreams. RIP angel, we will continue the fight to bring change in your memory. pic.twitter.com/b0M8M121y8
— Simar (@sahluwal) May 19, 2018
“Pakistani Student Sabika Sheikh died in a school shooting in Santa Fe Texas a few hours ago.
She was on her Exchange Year In US & was due to come back home on Eid.”
May Allah give her the highest rank in jannah & her family the strength to bear this loss, ameen. pic.twitter.com/0gYKj3ueKy
— a. (@izastweets10) May 18, 2018