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Motive Sought in Texas School Shooting 05/20 10:36

   SANTA FE, Texas (AP) -- The mother of one of the 10 people killed at a Texas 
high school said her daughter recently rejected the romantic advances of the 
17-year-old charged in the shootings, a possible motive for the violent tragedy.

   Sadie Rodriguez said her daughter, Shana Fisher, had made clear that she was 
not interested in Dimitrios Pagourtzis.

   "He continued to get more aggressive," Rodriguez told The Associated Press 
in an interview conducted Saturday via Facebook. "She finally stood up to him 
and embarrassed him."

   The incident took place one week before the shooting, Rodriguez said. Police 
have not yet said what might have motivated the attack.

   Asked about Rodriguez's allegation, a lawyer for the Pagourtzis's family 
said he hadn't heard about any such interaction between Pagourtzis and any of 
the victims and therefore couldn't comment.

   "That's news to me," said lawyer Nicholas Poehl, though he cautioned that 
he'd spent much of the day disputing false rumors about the teen's personal 
life. Earlier Saturday, Poehl issued a statement from the family saying that 
they were "as shocked and confused as anyone else by these events that 
occurred" and asked for privacy.

   "While we remain mostly in the dark about the specifics of yesterday's 
tragedy, what we have learned from media reports seems incompatible with the 
boy we love," the family's statement said.

   Representatives of the school district did not immediately respond to 
questions about Rodriguez's comments.

   A junior at Santa Fe High, Pagourtzis hid a shotgun and a handgun under his 
trenchcoat before opening fire in a first-period art class on Friday, according 
to an affidavit filed by police. The FBI announced Saturday that it had taken 
the lead in the joint investigation, at the request of local authorities.

   "He gave a statement admitting to shooting multiple people inside the Santa 
Fe High School with the intent on killing people," the police affidavit said. 
"Dimitrios advised he did not shoot students he did like so he could have his 
story told." The attack ended when Pagourtzis walked out of a classroom and 
surrendered to police.

   Authorities say Pagourtzis planned the killings, carried out with weapons 
owned by his father. Though Pagourtzis allegedly wrote about his intention to 
carry out the attack, authorities have not indicated a motive for the violence.

   Gov. Greg Abbott said Pagourtzis had planned to kill himself after the 
shooting, but that Pagourtzis told police "that he didn't have the courage to 
commit the suicide."

   Some Santa Fe High students indicated that Pagourtzis may have had one or 
more targets, though details were not clear. Breanna Quintanilla, 17, a junior, 
said she was in her art classroom Friday morning in what she described as a 
"perfectly normal day" when she heard gun shots.

   Quintanilla said when Pagourtzis first walked in, he pointed at one person 
and said, "I'm going to kill you." Quintanilla, who was wounded escaping the 
classroom, did not identify that student.

   At a news conference, Abbott said Pagourtzis had not previously been in 
trouble. "The red-flag warnings were either nonexistent or very imperceptible," 
he said.

   In the absence of a clear motive, attention turned to a hodge-podge of 
incendiary posts by Pagourtzis on social media, which were quickly removed when 
his identity first emerged. One Facebook post was a picture of a T-shirt 
reading "Born to Kill." Another showed a trench coat adorned with various pins 
associated with conflicting ideologies and Cthulhu, a mythical creature drawn 
from the work of horror fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft.

   In the wake of the shooting, various reports that Pagourtzis was bullied 
have surfaced from his classmates. However, two Santa Fe High students who said 
they knew Pagourtzis said they had no reason to suspect that he was planning 
Friday's attack.

   Student Michael Farina said he had known the alleged gunman since fifth 
grade and considered him a friend. He recalled Pagourtzis talked about buying a 
gun "when I grow up," but never discussed his dad's guns or anything about his 
family.

   Farina said he and Pagourtzis also talked a lot about video games they 
liked, including so-called first-person shooter games. They'd talked about one, 
"Escape from Tarkov," as recently as lunch on the day before the shooting, he 
said.

   Farina did not recall Pagourtzis ever being notably angry.

   "He seemed relatively happy for the most part," he said.


(KA)

 
 
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