The father of the teen accused of fatally shooting 10 people at a Texas high school last week says his son was a "good boy" who was a victim of bullying.
Antonios Pagourtzis told the Wall Street Journal his 17-year-old son, Dimitrios, was "mistreated" at Santa Fe High School where the teen opened fire Friday, killing eight students and two teachers. More than a dozen other people were injured.
"I believe that's what was behind the shooting," he said.
Pagourtzis told Greece's Antenna TV that he wished he could have prevented the tragedy. He said he had asked police to allow him to go into the school during the standoff so his son could kill him instead of students.
“Something must have happened now, this last week,” he told the station. “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.”
The suspect’s attorney, Nicholas Poehl, said he is investigating whether his client was mistreated by football coaches. The district was quick to reject that theory in a weekend statement.
"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 in a statement. "Administration looked into these claims and confirmed that these reports are untrue."
The family of one of the victims say they believe their daughter was targeted because she repeatedly rejected the gunman's advances to date her. Sadie Rodriguez, the mother of Shana Fisher, 16, told the Los Angeles Times the shooting followed four months of advances from Pagourtzis.
As the horror unfolded, Pagourtzis roamed from classroom to classroom, taunting students and blasting away as they made ill-fated efforts to elude or hide from his barrage of gunfire.
About a half hour after the shooting began, Pagourtzis gave himself up, telling authorities he had targeted students he didn't like. An investigation of the shooting is continuing, but Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset said he does not believe that any victims were caught in a cross fire and felled by police bullets.
"I don't believe any of the individuals that were killed were from law enforcement," Trochesset said. "I can't give that in full until after the autopsy."
Trochesset said "minimal shots" were fired by officers who pinned down the shooter in a classroom while other officers evacuated the school. He said two school resource officers engaged the shooter about four minutes after the shooting began. One was critically wounded.
Trochesset said the two officers who initially engaged the shooter were "heroes" whose efforts kept the death toll from rapidly rising.
"They contained him in one area, isolated to them, engaging with them, so he could do no more damage to other classes," Trochesset said. "When people were running from the gunfire, the officers that continued to arrive ... didn't run from it, they ran to it."
Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday was hosting the first in a series of roundtable discussions examining ways to improve safety at Texas schools. Parents, teachers, mass shooting survivors, legislators and groups that advocate for and against further gun regulations will have their say.
Pagourtzis remained in custody Tuesday under suicide watch on capital murder charges. The U.S. Supreme Court has banned execution of youths under 18, however.
Trochesset said his daughter was in a classroom three doors away from where Pagourtzis was taken into custody.
"Anybody who wants to hear their heart stop and see how long they cannot breathe, wait for that phone call to come in," Trochesset said. "Until you know they are safe."
Contributing: The Associated Press