Wednesday 15 August 2018

Texas school shooting accused was spurned by victim - mother

Dimitrios Pagourtzis has confessed, police have said. (Galveston County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Dimitrios Pagourtzis has confessed, police have said. (Galveston County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Mourners gather during a prayer vigil following a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Erwin Seba

The teenager who shot and killed eight students and two teachers in Texas had been spurned by one of his victims after making aggressive advances.

Sadie Rodriguez, the mother of Shana Fisher (16), said her daughter rejected four months of aggressive advances from accused gunman Dimitrios Pagourtzis (17) before being killed at the Santa Fe High School.

Shana finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, Ms Rodriguez said in a private message to the 'Los Angles Times'.

"A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn't like," she wrote. "Shana being the first one."

If so, it is the second school shooting in recent months driven by such a rejection.

In March, a 17-year-old Maryland high school student used his father's gun to kill a female student with whom he had been in a recently ended relationship.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis has confessed, police have said. (Galveston County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Dimitrios Pagourtzis has confessed, police have said. (Galveston County Sheriff's Office via AP)

No official motive has been announced for the massacre, the fourth-deadliest mass shooting at a US school in modern history.

The Santa Fe school district denied accounts from some classmates that Pagourtzis had been bullied, including by a football coach.

"Administration looked into these claims and confirmed that these reports are untrue," it said in a statement on Facebook.

Classmates among the school's 1,460 students described Pagourtzis as a quiet loner who played on the school's football team.

Shana Fisher (16), who was one of the first victims.
Shana Fisher (16), who was one of the first victims.

He wore a black trench coat to school in the Texas heat on Friday and opened fire with a pistol and shotgun. Multiple news accounts depicted him as taunting his victims as he fired, focusing mostly on the arts class where Shana was.

Pagourtzis has provided authorities with little information about the shootings, his attorney Nicholas Poehl said, adding: "Honestly because of his emotional state, I don't have a lot on that."

Texas governor Jim Abbott, a Republican, said Pagourtzis obtained the firearms from his father, who had likely acquired them legally.

Mr Abbott also said Pagourtzis wanted to commit suicide, citing the suspect's journals, but did not have the courage to do so.

Amy Nichols, left, comforts Santa Fe High School junior Paige Keenan during a prayer vigil following the shooting rampage by Dimitrios Pagourtzis at the Texas school. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Amy Nichols, left, comforts Santa Fe High School junior Paige Keenan during a prayer vigil following the shooting rampage by Dimitrios Pagourtzis at the Texas school. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Pagourtzis's family said in a statement they were "saddened and dismayed" by the shooting and "as shocked as anyone else" by the events. They said they are co-operating with authorities.

All schools in Santa Fe will be closed today and tomorrow, officials said.

Pagourtzis, who police said has confessed to the shooting, is being held without bail at a jail in Galveston.

 

Irish Independent

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