Dad says shooter ‘bullied’ by classmates
THE father of the Texas teenager who killed 10 people at his school said his son was a "good boy" - and blamed the massacre on bullying that he said the 17-year-old had experienced, according to a report.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis was "mistreated at school," his dad, Antonios Pagourtzis, told the Wall Street Journal. "I believe that's what was behind" the shooting at Santa Fe High School.
The father, who owns a Houston-based shipping repair company, said his family was distraught over the mass shooting.
"I only went to grammar school. I left from my village in northern Greece when I was 12. I only had the clothes I wore and an extra pair of boots," he said.
"This country treated us well. I worked hard and became a shipowner. I had three ships, which I sold," he added. "Now, our lives are shattered."
Police said Dimitrios Pagourtzis has admitted to breaking into an art classroom at the school Friday morning and opening fire with a pistol and a shotgun before surrendering.
He is being held without bond at the Galveston County Jail.
The weapons used in the shooting - a Remington shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver - belonged to the elder Pagourtzis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced the weapons to determine their purchase history. Antonios Pagourtzis wouldn't comment to the Journal about how his son acquired them.
"I have guns, I am a hunter and had a farm which I rented in the 1980s," he told Greek Antenna TV. "The guns in my house are legal and declared."
He told the outlet that his son was the "family's pillar".
"He never got into a fight with anyone. I don't know what happened," he said. "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."
Mr Pagourtzis said he visited his son for 20 minutes on Saturday.
"He could not look at me in the eyes. He is confused, can't remember what happened. He said he wants to apologise to his sisters. He said he'll be strong and help us see this through," he said.
This story was originally published in the New York Post and is reprinted with permission.