Police tape is seen near the site of the shooting at the Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, U.S., May 20, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)
A teenaged boy who shot and killed eight students and two teachers in Texas had been spurned by one of his victims after making aggressive advances, her mother told the Los Angeles Times.
Sadie Rodriguez, the mother of Shana Fisher, 16, told the newspaper that her daughter rejected four months of aggressive advances from accused shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, at the Santa Fe high school.
Fisher finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, the newspaper quoted her mother as writing in a private message to the Times.
“A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like,” she said. “Shana being the first one.”
Rodriguez could not independently be reached for comment.
If true, it would be the second school shooting in recent months driven by such rejection.
In March, a 17-year-old Maryland high school student used his father’s gun to shoot and kill a female student with whom he had been in a recently ended relationship.
As the investigation enters its third day on Sunday, no official motive has been announced for the massacre, the fourth-deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. public 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 on Saturday in a statement on Facebook.
Classmates at Santa Fe High School, which has some 1,460 students, described Pagourtzis as a quiet loner who played on the school’s football team. 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 Fisher was.
He has provided authorities 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, told reporters that Pagourtzis obtained the firearms from his father, who had likely acquired them legally.
Abbott also said Pagourtzis wanted to commit suicide, citing the suspect’s journals, but did not have the courage to do so.
Pagourtzis’ 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 cooperating with authorities.
All schools in Santa Fe will be closed Monday and Tuesday, officials said.
Pagourtzis, who police said has confessed to the shooting, was being held without bond Sunday at a jail in Galveston.