Survivor of school shooting tries out for ‘American Idol’
Santa Fe, Texas –
A touching audition for ‘American Idol’ by survivors of a Texas high school shooting has provoked judges to tears and criticism of the country’s response to gun violence.
Trey Lewis was one of the students at Santa Fe High School where another student shot dead 10 people on campus in May 2018.
After the auditions aired on Sunday, Lewis told the judges (Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan) that one of the reasons he wanted to enter the singing contest was the shooting.
“I lost a lot of friends. Eight students were killed. Two teachers were killed. I did,” Lewis said. The gunman started firing in the next room.
Perry began to cry, put his hands to his face and bowed. Then she raised her head and shouted, “Our country has betrayed us (with swearing).”
“It’s true,” Louis said.
“This is not good. You like music, so you have to sing here,” Perry said.
Richie said, wiping away tears.
Lewis told Houston’s KTRK-TV that the song he auditioned for, Whiskey Myers’ “Stone,” was a tribute to his friend Chris Stone, one of the students who was murdered.
A 21-year-old mattress salesman said he didn’t realize he had a singing talent until he posted a video online about a year ago of him singing at work. The video went viral and has been viewed thousands of times, he said.
Just before the judges voted unanimously to send Lewis to the next round in Hollywood, Perry said, “You know what, I’m scared too that we have to change.” I want people to remember.
“We have to change. I hope you lead. Can you please?” Perry said.
“For myself, for school, for you,” Lewis said.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, then a 17-year-old student, was charged with gunshot homicide.
Pagourtzis, now 22, has been receiving mental health treatment at a state hospital since early December 2019 after being declared incapable of standing trial. Santa Fe is located about 35 miles southeast of Houston.