THE family of the Texan teen gunman were “quiet, peaceable people” who never raised eyebrows in the Greek village where his father spent his youth, residents said on Saturday.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, opened fire in an art class in his Houston-area high school on Friday, killing nine students and a teacher in the fourth-deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. public school in modern history.
Classmates described him as a quiet loner. Photographs posted on the Facebook page of the Greek Orthodox Church in Galveston pictured him dancing with other costumed performers.
But elsewhere on social media and in journal entries, he came across as a young man infatuated with guns. A Facebook post on April 30 that has since been taken down showed a black T-shirt with the words “Born to Kill” printed in white.
“We’re lost for words. We did not expect this,” said Costas Spanos, president of the Magoulitsa community, a tiny village in central Greece with just over 500 residents where his father, Antonios Pagourtzis, was born.
“We’re in shock. We’re a small community and this makes us look very bad,” he told Reuters over the telephone.
Antonios Pagourtzis emigrated to the United States in his mid-twenties but still visits the village at least once a year, in summer, and runs local a business selling agricultural machinery, one resident acquainted with him said.
The family were “peaceable people, focused on work, business-minded,” he said, asking not to be identified.
“He never caused trouble,” he said of the father.
Dimitrios rarely visited the village – locals say they saw him either last summer or the summer before – but those who did say he was quiet and did not show signs of unusual behaviour.
“In my eyes, they showed good upbringing,” another long-time resident said, also requesting anonymity.
“I saw them around. They were good people.”