SANTA FE, Texas (Reuters) – A teenage boy charged with fatally shooting eight students and two teachers during a gun rampage at a Houston-area high school had been spurned by one of his victims after making aggressive advances, her mother told a newspaper.
Sadie Rodriguez, the mother of Shana Fisher, 16, who was killed in the attack, told the Los Angeles Times that her daughter rejected four months of aggressive advances from Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, who is in jail accused of murdering 10 people early on Friday at the high school in Santa Fe.
Fisher finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, the newspaper quoted her mother as writing in a private message to the Times.
“A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like,” she said. “Shana being the first one.”
If true, it would be the second school shooting in recent months driven by such rejection.
In March, a 17-year-old Maryland high school student used his father’s gun to fatally shoot a female student with whom he had been in a recently ended relationship.
The Santa Fe Independent School District (ISD) denied accounts from some classmates that Pagourtzis had been bullied, including by a football coach.
Classmates at the school, which has some 1,460 students, described Pagourtzis as a quiet loner who played on the football team. He wore a black trench coat to school in the Texas heat on Friday and opened fire with a pistol and shotgun.
In Santa Fe on Sunday, many churches and businesses had signs outside with messages such as “Santa Fe strong” and “Santa Fe ISD we are here for you.”
About 100 people attended an emotional service at the Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Service dogs were in a nearby hall to help console grieving victims.
Jared Black, one of the students killed, attended a youth group at the church, and many of its members embraced his mother Pam when the family arrived.
At a mosque in another Houston suburb, mourners crowded around the coffin of 17-year-old Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani exchange student who died in the rampage.
It was the latest rampage to stoke a long-running national debate over gun ownership, three months after a student-led gun control movement emerged from a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 teens and educators.