As details surfaced about the suspected gunman behind Friday’s high school massacre in Texas, one uniquely qualified pundit weighed in on the developing story.
In a Fox News interview, the first SWAT team member to enter Colorado’s Columbine High School nearly 20 years ago following that deadly shooting offered his take on some characteristics the suspect seems to share with Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the shooters responsible for 15 deaths — including their own — and dozens of injuries on April 20, 1999.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, police have identified Dimitrios Pagourtzis as the shooter responsible for at least 10 deaths and at least as many injuries.
Grant Whitus said he is confident Pagourtzis patterned his attack after the two shooters behind the Columbine attack.
“If you look into this, and I’m sure the investigation is going to reveal, he studied Columbine shooters, Klebold and Harris,” he said.
Whitus noted “a lot of similarities” between the suspect in Friday’s shooting and the the Columbine shooters, “right down to the bombs he built, the coats he was wearing, certainly some of the guns he was carrying.”
Some students have described Pagourtzis as a victim of bullying who often wore a trench coat even in hot weather. Klebold and Harris were also known for the distinctive look.
“Sadly, he probably studied a lot what they did and copied it,” Whitus speculated.
While it was also common for the Columbine shooters to wear trench coats, he noted that it was less suspicious in Colorado during the Spring than late May in south Texas.
The law enforcement expert went on to predict that additional details will surface pointing to violent tendencies in Pagourtzis’ past.
“They had a history of violence,” he said of Klebold and Harris. “They obtained these weapons. They practiced with these weapons. They used simulations such as computer shootings and games to practice that and did everything to prepare that day including building the bombs.”
Whitus went on to say that “we just haven’t gotten into this kid’s past yet” to determine what warning signs might have been present.
[Featured image: Grant Whitus and Dimitrios Pagourtzis/Fox News Channel video screenshot, Galveston County Sheriff’s Office]