Mother of Texas shooting victim says daughter spurned suspect’s advances

World Today

We’re learning more about the teenage gunman, who went on a shooting rampage at a school in Santa Fe, Texas. The mother of one of the victims says the suspect had been making unwanted advances to her daughter, for months ahead of the shootings.

As CGTN’s Sean Callebs reports, the explosives the gunman carried set this tragedy apart from others.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott laid flowers outside Santa Fe High School as memorials were beginning for the people killed in Friday’s shooting rampage.

Authorities say 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis admitted his guilt. Under Texas law, since he is under 18-years-of age, Pagourtzis will not face the death penalty and he could be eligible for parole in 40 years.

While investigators remain tight-lipped, others spoke out, including Sadie Baze, whose 16-year-old daughter, Shana Fisher, was killed. Her mother believes it was because of spurned affection, that the young girl refused to date Pagourtzis and embarrassed him in class.

“She finally stood up to him because her younger sister was being bullied in school and she was showing her, look, this is what you do. You have to stand up to him and tell him it’s not right,” Baze said.

Witnesses say the suspect wore a black trench coat and boots during the attack. Unlike other mass killings, he did not use an AR-15, or another kind of semi-automatic rifle. Pagourtzis, according to authorities, used his father’s shotgun and pistol.

The governor said Pagourtzis also constructed homemade bombs and Molotov cocktails, tossing them into the classrooms.

“It’s clear he was trying to use explosive devices, but he did not put them together in a way they did explode. It shows this killer was intent on trying to inflict horrific damage on these kids,” Governor Abbott said.

While a heart-broken community continued to search for answers, frustration has grown. The teenager allegedly used guns his father legally owned. So, what responsibility do adults play in something like this?

“I believe anyone who doesn’t secure firearms that end up in wrong hands and used to kill innocent people should face significant consequences,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said.

Aside from gun control legislation, the Governor Abbott believes more metal detectors, more security, and more officers could be needed in schools. He also said, perhaps it is time for schools to begin monitoring students’ social media more closely, to try to discover any early warning signs, before it is too late.