The student who admitted to carrying out Friday’s shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas is being held in isolation after confessing to the attack. He’s facing 10 charges of capital murder, plus a charge of aggravated assault on a public servant for shooting a cop.
And as police continue their search for a motive – disturbing images from the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts have already made the rounds in the media – the mother of one of Dimitrios Pagourtzis’ 10 victims (a count that includes two teachers) – told the Los Angeles Times that her daughter spurned Pagourtzis’ advances in the weeks before the shooting.
(Courtesy of Washington Post)
The woman, Sadie Rodriguez, said her daughter, Shana Fisher, one of the first students shot during the massacre, had “four months of problems with this boy.” According to Rodriguez, Pagourtzis kept making advances toward her daughter, and she kept telling him no.
Meanwhile, Pagourtzis’ family described him as a sweet and quiet boy, adding that they’re at a loss for what motivated him.
The family of the 17-year-old suspect, junior Dimitrios Pagourtzis, is “as shocked and confused as anyone else by these events that occurred,” according to a statement released to the media.
“We are gratified by the public comments made by other Santa Fe High School students that show Dimitri as we know him: a smart, quiet, sweet boy,” the family statement said.
“While we remain mostly in the dark about the specifics of yesterday’s tragedy, what we have learned from media reports seems incompatible with the boy we love.”
One of Pagourtzis’ classmates who died in the attack, Shana Fisher, “had 4 months of problems from this boy,” her mother, Sadie Rodriguez, wrote in a private message to the Los Angeles Times on Facebook.
“He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no.”
At one point Fisher called Pagourtzis out in front of the class, embarrassing him in front of his fellow students.
Pagourtzis continued to get more aggressive, and she finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, Rodriguez said.
“A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like,” she said. “Shana being the first one.”
Rodriguez didn’t say how she knew her daughter was the first victim.
According to the LAT, if these allegations are true, this would be the second school shooting motivated by rejection in recent months. The first took place in March, when a 17-year-old Maryland high school student took his father’s gun – just like Pagourtzis did – and used it to kill a female student who had rejected him.
Students who spoke with the LAT described horrifying scenes where the shooter would taunt his victims before killing them.
The gunman repeatedly taunted students during the attack, according to another harrowing account posted to Facebook by one survivor’s mother.
After scrambling to escape the shooter’s blasts in the art room, Isabelle Van Ness, covered in dust from rounds hitting her classroom walls, could hear the shooter in a next-door classroom yelling, “Woo hoo!” while shooting, according to her mother, Deedra Van Ness.
“The gunman then comes back into their room and they hear him saying … are you dead? Then more shots are fired,” Deedra Van Ness wrote.
“By this time, cell phones all over the classroom are ringing and he’s taunting the kids in the closet asking them … do you think it’s for you? do you want to come answer it? Then he proceeds to fire more bullets into the closet and tries to get in.”
Pagourtzis told police that he spared students he liked so that he could “have his story told.” A judge questioned the teenager at his initial court appearance on Friday, but Pagourtzis said little aside from admitting to the shooting.