'I love you. Keep running' Teens recall escaping gunfire at Santa Fe HS

SANTA FE, Texas (KTRK) -- Since Friday's shooting at Santa Fe High School, many survivors have shared chilling accounts of the terror they experienced as alleged gunman 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis opened fire into an art class.

Santa Fe students Todd Penick, 18, a senior, and his girlfriend Callie Wylie, a sophomore at the school, were among those who escaped that day.

Both Penick and Wylie said their classes walked outside like it was a normal fire drill. They realized the situation was much worse when they heard gunshots.

"The teachers were just yelling 'run, run' so we ran as fast and as far away from the school as we could. We were lucky to get out," Penick described.

"It was hard. I'm very lucky to have him because in that situation I thought I knew what I should do and I didn't," Wylie explained. "He was there and kept grabbing my arm and saying, 'I love you. Keep running. Keep running.'"

In the days after the shooting, both Penick and Wylie said they were still processing how lucky they are to be alive and to see their families.

"These kids that couldn't make it out, they don't get to say I love you one more time. They don't get to go home and complain to their parents because they have to do some chores," Penick added. "When you get to see the bigger picture, all of those little things don't matter anymore."

"I got into an argument with my mom the day before and when I saw her, it just all faded away. It didn't matter anymore. No little argument matters," Wylie said.

On Saturday, the couple returned to the school to get their vehicles and retrieve the belongings left behind as gunfire erupted at their school. Despite the tragedy, the students emphasized that they don't want the community to be known for the shooting.

"When we walked into the building, it usually felt so safe in there and it just felt so cold and so, not like normal, obviously. With him being gone, I'm going to have to build a sense of strength myself because he won't be there to protect me and say, 'keep going, it's going to be okay.' But...I'll be okay. We'll all be okay. This community is stronger than ever right now," Wylie told ABC13.

Penick said that he believes they were about 50 or 60 yards away from the gunshots. He added, "It was by the grace of God and I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for getting me out of the situation safely."

Penick plans to study kinesiology at Texas State University and become a physical therapist.
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