His name is Dimitrios Pagourtzis.
That is the name of the 17-year old shooter who opened fire with what some say was a sawed off shotgun in the early morning hours at a Santa Fe, Texas high school. There have also been reports of explosives found in and/or around the school.
In Friday’s shooting, ten people were killed, and it could be weeks before we get a full picture of who Pagourtzis was, and what his possible motivation may have been.
I covered the issue of school shootings over at my other beat at Patheos (shameless plug) earlier today.
The Daily Beast managed to round up information based on comments from fellow students and social media accounts.
On April 30, an image of a black t-shirt, bearing the words “Born to kill.” Young Pagourtzis apparently took pride in saying the shirt was custom-made.
That same day, Pagourtzis posted multiple pictures of a duster jacket emblazoned with a variety of symbols including the Iron Cross, a German military award last given by the Nazis, and a hammer and sickle. He said he equated the Iron Cross with “bravery,” and the hammer and sickle with “rebellion.”
So a Nazi medal and a Communist hammer and sickle?
Unlike Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, there doesn’t seem to be a long list of complaints about Pagourtzis’ behavior.
Rey Montemayor III, a fellow student, knows him, and he apparently had no visions of him as a future school shooter.
“I played football with him for three years,” Montemayor said. “People on the news said he was bullied a lot. I never seen him being bullied. I never bullied him. He was cool to me. I lifted with him a couple of times.”
Montemayor said that when he was with Pagourtzis, “he was a really cool guy.” He said they played football together first semester.“He was quiet. He did keep to himself. That’s pretty much it,” Montemayor told The Daily Beast, adding that he never thought Pagourtzis would shoot up their school.“I know he was quiet and everything but any conversations we had in the locker room or in the field or after games, he never struck me as that person.”
Others pointed out that he was fond of wearing a long, black trench coat, no matter the weather.
He even wore it when it was 100 degrees outside, and pointed out that that should probably be seen as a warning sign.
Other images on Pagourtzis’ now-deleted Facebook page suggest a possible interest in white supremacist groups. Pagourtzis uploaded a number of t-shirts that feature Vaporwave-style designs. Vaporwave, a music and design movement, has spawned a related movement called Fashwave, which borrows the same aesthetic but applies them to neo-Nazi subjects.
So I looked up some of this “Fashwave” for myself. In particular, I looked up a band called Perturbator. Their album cover, complete with angry imagery, including a pentagram, figures that could have been demons carrying rifles, and a naked woman, served as the header image for Pagourtzis’ Facebook page.
The Daily Stormer, go-to page for neo-Nazis, often featured Perturbator in something they call “Fashwave Fridays.”
It’s an odd, techno-hypnotic sound.
Give me Iron Maiden, Megadeth, or even Stryper, any day.
Facebook has removed Pagourtzis’ page, as of this afternoon.
A still-live Instagram with Pagourtzis’ name has posts from April 24 showing an arcade-style game featuring a sniper rifle and another with a gun and knife on a bedspread captioned: “Hi f**kers.”
Was he bullied, as some news outlets are reporting?
Was he a neo-Nazi and otherwise twisted, to the point that he no longer recognized right from wrong?
It’s still early. He’s in custody, so unlike with some other school shooters, maybe authorities can pull some answers out of him.
It won’t bring back anyone who has been lost, and it won’t ease the pain of those losses.
Continue to pray for those families and pray for a solution that brings our nation together on the issue of gun violence.