Santa Fe, TX – The father of the Santa Fe High School shooter said that his son was a “good boy,” who lashed out after he was made the “victim” of bullying.
“I believe that’s what was behind the shooting,” Antonios Pagourtzis said, according to USA Today.
Santa Fe High School student Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, murdered 10 people – and injured 13 more – when he opened fire inside the school on Friday morning. The attack left eight students and two teachers dead.
“Something must have happened now, this last week,” Antonios said during a phone interview with Greece’s Antenna TV, according to the Associated Press. “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.”
Dimitrios’ attorney, Nicholas Poehl, said he was investigating whether or not the shooter had been subjected to any “teacher-on-student” bullying, and said he had read reports that the teen had been heckled by coaches at the school.
“He’s going through a very difficult time right now,” Poehl told USA Today.
The Santa Fe Independent School District disputed Poehl’s theory, and said they had conducted an investigation into those claims.
“It has been brought to the district’s attention that several sources are falsely reporting claims about SFISD high school coaches and bully-like behaviors toward the student shooter,” the district said, according to USA Today. “Administration looked into these claims and confirmed that these reports are untrue.”
Antonios did not deny that his son murdered 10 people, but argued that he was simply a “victim.”
“He pulled the trigger but he is not this person,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “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.”
Antonios noted that his son had never been violent, and said he was not one to get into trouble or abuse alcohol.
“My son, to me, is not a criminal,” he said. “He’s a victim.”
Antonios was able to meet with Dimitrios briefly at the Galveston County jail, where the teen was being held for aggravated assault on a public servant and capital murder charges.
“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,” Antonios 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 that Dimitrios told him he didn’t murder “the kids who were the good kids, so they can tell his story.”
According to investigators, Dimitrios confessed that he had only targeted students whom he disliked, USA Today reported.
Antonios argued that Dimitrios, who used .38 caliber handgun and a sawed-off shotgun during the attack, didn’t own any weapons.
“The kid didn’t own guns,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “I owned guns.”
Possession of a sawed-off shotgun is illegal without a proper permit, CNN reported.
On Saturday, Antonios told Antenna TV that his son had taken the weapons from his closet, CNN reported.
“I feel the pain of the others, but I have the same pain. I have the same exact pain,” Antonios said, according to CNN. “I’ve lost my boy.”