By: Robert Davis
The shooting at Santa Fe Independent School District High School would have been much worse had it not been for the heroic actions of Officer John Barnes.
“He went to the fight. He was willing to give up his life to save as many children as possible,” Houston Police Chaplain Monty Montgomery told the Houston Chronicle. “That’s a big difference than what we’ve seen some other times.”
Unlike the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who waited outside the school while Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students, Barnes, a school police officer, and another Texas Department of Safety officer confronted the shooter inside the school. The officers engaged in a standoff with the suspect, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who then surrendered.
According to the Chronicle, Barnes was shot in the elbow by Pagourtzis’ sawed-off shotgun. Multiple reports indicate that as he lay bleeding on the floor, Barnes urged other officers to continue pursuing the shooter.
Barnes’ stepfather told The New York Times his step-son’s actions were in keeping with his character, and that during his 23-year career as a Houston police officer, Barnes had never fired his gun on the job.
Houston Public Media reported Texas Governor Greg Abbot called for a statewide moment of silence on Monday to remember the lives lost during the shooting and the heroic actions of the police officers who responded.
“Once again we want to thank the heroes of law enforcement who stepped forward to respond to and confront the shooter. Their action probably ensured that more lives were not lost,” Abbot told USA Today.
The New York Times reports that Barnes is expected to make a full recovery.
Robert Davis is a general assignments reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. You can contact him with tips and comments at [email protected].
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