SANTA FE, Texas – Victims and the families of victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting are expressing sadness and disappointment after learning the suspect in the massacre may soon be declared mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Attorneys for Dimitrios Pagourtzis announced Monday that three mental health experts -- picked by the defense, prosecutors and the court -- found him mentally incompetent. He will likely now be sent to a mental health facility for evaluation. That process could take months.
The families of the victims met with the Galveston County District Attorney, and afterward, described that meeting as tense.
"You would not have wanted to be in this meeting," said Scott Rice, whose wife is a substitute teacher who was wounded during the May 2018 attack. "(How) heart-wrenching it was for everybody to talk about this and their child."
The victims' families worry that the process will become a revolving door.
"If he comes back, once he's found competent, how long will he wait again in the same situation?" Rice asked. "Then we have to have a whole another competency trial again?"
While Pagourtzis' evaluation will take months, Shirley Beazley is having trouble explaining the process to her son, Trenton, who was wounded in the shooting.
"He's confused. He's very confused," Beazley said. "He don't understand. He doesn't understand this."
The families also said they've become dismayed at how long this process has taken.
"Once you are involved in this, you realize justice is -- it's not what you see on TV," said Flo Rice. "It's not what you hear. It is not moving, and it is not in the favor of the victims."