Lawyers for the teenager accused of killing eight classmates and two teachers at Santa Fe High School in Texas pushed back Monday against reports that he was spurned by one of the female victims.
Contrary to what the mother of Shana Fisher has told the media, Dimitrios Pagourtzis was not pursuing the 16-year-old victim, defense attorney Nicholas Poehl told reporters.
"There's a lot of rumors out there right now," Poehl said after he and co-counsel Robert Barfield visited the 17-year-old suspect in Galveston County Jail. "I will say that my client did not recognize the name Shana Fisher."
Asked about a possible motive, Poehl said they're still no closer to understanding what sparked the deadly mayhem on Friday that stunned the state of Texas. He said his client remains disoriented and is "still in a state."
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"I think that there is definitely something going on in terms of mental health history," Poehl said. "I still think he's very confused about the incident."
Fisher's mother, Sadie Rodriguez, said earlier that she believed her daughter was intentionally targeted by Pagourtzis because in the four months leading up to the shooting, she repeatedly turned him down. She said he had previously gone out with Fisher's best friend.
"He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no," Rodriguez told NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston over Facebook Messenger. "He continued to get more aggressive."
Rodriguez said that the week before the shooting, Fisher "stood up to him" by "embarrass(ing) him in class."
Poehl rejected the mother's claims.
"It is my understanding that Ms. Fisher's mother was not particularly involved in her life and may not be in a position to know this," he said.
Poehl also questioned reports by witnesses that Pagourtzis taunted the victims by singing "another one bites the dust" each time police say he shot somebody with either his father's Remington 870 shotgun or a .38-caliber handgun.
"I have no particular knowledge of that at all," the lawyer said.
Pagourtzis' lawyers spoke after a weekend of mourning for the shooting victims in the small city of Santa Fe, about 40 miles south of Houston. Ten other people were wounded in the incident, including a Santa Fe police officer.
Pagourtzis was charged with capital murder and aggravated assault of a public servant, and was being held without bond. According to a probable cause affidavit, he told investigators that he opened fire at Santa Fe High School, but "did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told."
Prior to this, Pagourtzis had no criminal record, and other than the trench coat he wore incessantly — even in the sweltering south Texas heat — his behavior at school never raised any red flags with school officials.