Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, is being held on capital murder charges after he stormed Santa Fe High School last Friday and fatally shot 10 people
The Texas school shooter’s father has revealed that his son said he loved him in the hours before he carried out the massacre.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, is currently being held on capital murder charges after he stormed Santa Fe High School last Friday and shot dead eight students and two teachers.
His father Antonios Pagourtzis told Greece’s Antenna TV that his son showed no signs of the impending violence.
He said on the day of the shooting Dimitrios told him: ‘I love you, dad. I’m off. I love you and I’ll see you this afternoon’.
‘I’ve lost my boy and the only thing I can try for is that they don’t execute the kid,’ he added.
‘My son, to me, is not a criminal, he’s a victim.’
The elder Pagourtzis described his son as a ‘good boy’ and said he thinks he may have recently been bullied and ‘mistreated’ by classmates in the lead up to the massacre.
Pagourtzis said his son never displayed any signs that he would be capable of such violence, explaining that he didn’t fight with others, didn’t drink alcohol and seemed to enjoy healthy pursuits such as working out.
His father Antonios Pagourtzis described his son (pictured together several years back) as a ‘good boy’ and said he thinks someone may have hurt his son in the lead up to the attack
A memorial has been set up for the eight students and two teachers killed in Friday’s massacre
Texas Governor Greg Abbott lays flowers at a makeshift memorial on the grounds of Santa Fe High School on Saturday. He has vowed to address school violence and safety
The father, who owns a Houston-based shipping repair company and moved to the US from Greece as a child, said: ‘The kid didn’t own guns, I owned guns.
‘He pulled the trigger but he is not this person.
‘It is like we see in the movies when someone gets into his body and does things that are not done. It’s not possible in one day for the child to have changed so much.’
Pagourtzis told the Wall Street Journal that the teen was ‘mistreated at school’ and believes ‘that’s what was behind’ the shooting.
He added that he wished he could have stopped the killings and his family was distraught over the massacre.
‘He never got into a fight with anyone. I don’t know what happened,’ he said.
‘Somebody probably came and hurt him, and since he was a solid boy, I don’t know what could have happened. I can’t say what happened. All I can say is what I suspect as a father.
‘I hope God helps me and my family understand. We are all devastated. It would have been better if he shot me than all those kids.’
Officials have said the guns used – a Remington shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver – belonged to the shooter’s father.
‘I have guns, I am a hunter and had a farm which I rented in the 1980s,’ he said. ‘The guns in my house are legal and declared.’
He said that after the teen had been taken into custody, he and his wife were allowed to visit him for 15-20 minutes.
Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said on Monday that police were able to ‘engage’ the shooter four minutes after they were called
‘I saw the child. I didn’t see a child who is a murderer. A pure child, a child who was ashamed to look me in the face,’ his father said.
‘He was thinking of his sisters, how his sisters will be able to get about. He said he loves me, he told his mother he loves her and he will try to be strong to help us cope.’
He said his son had told him he had acted on his own and had spared ‘the kids who were the good kids so they can tell his story.’
It comes after the teen’s defense attorney said there is still no motive for the shooting.
His lawyer Nicholas Poehl denied rumors suggesting Pagourtzis was carried out the shooting as revenge against a girl, Shana Fisher, who had turned him down.
Poehl claims his client was utterly clueless when asked about one of the girls he shot and killed who was said to have rejected his repeated advances.
The girl’s mother, Sadie Rodriguez, said her daughter had been fending off Pagourtzis’ advances in the month prior to the attack but he had become more pushy with the girl until she publicly rejected him during class one day.
His lawyer Nicholas Poehl denied rumors suggesting Pagourtzis was carried out the shooting as revenge against one of the victims, Shana Fisher, who had turned him down
The girl’s mother, Sadie Rodriguez, said her daughter had been fending off Pagourtzis’ advances in the month prior to the attack
The killing of the eight students and two teachers last week at the high school has prompted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to call a series of roundtable discussions on school safety that will start on Tuesday in Austin.
‘I am seeking the best solutions to make our schools more secure and to keep our communities safe,’ Abbott said.
But few expect the meetings to result in any major push for new gun restrictions, especially in a state where more than 1.2 million people are licensed to carry handguns and are allowed to openly carry them in public if they wish.
Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said on Monday that police were able to ‘engage’ the shooter four minutes after they were called.
He said the shooter was contained until his arrest, with minimal gunfire from law enforcement officers, to the art classroom where his bloody rampage was focused.