The parents of Iowa school shooter Dylan Butler — who fatally shot a sixth grader and wounded several others before turning the gun on himself — said they had “no inkling he intended the horrible violence” when they dropped him off at school last Thursday.
Jack and Erin Butler, whose 17-year-old son opened fire inside Perry High School just before 8 a.m., expressed their sorrows over the shooting in a statement released by their attorney on Monday.
The Butlers said they talked about the future with their son on the drive to school that morning and that “it felt like he was ready to get back to school after Christmas vacation and the start of a new semester.”
“Dylan’s sister, our daughter, was in the school at the time of the shooting,” the parents wrote in the statement, obtained by KCCI.
“We simply do not understand how this could happen and why Dylan chose to do what he did.”
Just before classes were set to begin on the first day after winter break, Butler entered the building with a pump-action shotgun, a small-caliber handgun, and a makeshift explosive device.
The troubled teen shot and killed sixth grader Ahmir Jolliff, and injured another four students and three staff members before turning the gun on himself.
He had plans to kill many more — his body was found with a not-yet-detonated explosive device, which cops described as “pretty rudimentary.”
His devastated family added: “We would never wish the harm and pain that Dylan’s actions caused on anyone and we could not have imagined that Dylan would carry out such a heinous act.”
“Our family has to mourn and bury our son, and live with this terrible legacy,” they continued. “We cannot repay the grace we have been shown in public and private. We are helping authorities and will continue to help to provide answers to the question of why our son committed this senseless crime.”
The Butlers said they would have no further comment “at this time.”
Authorities have not shared a possible motive or how Butler, who is believed to have acted alone, obtained the firearms.
Those who knew the 17-year-old described him as a quiet person who had endured bullying since elementary school.
Sisters Yesenia Roeder and Khamya Hall, both 17, alongside their mother, Alita, told the Associated Press that Butler finally snapped after his younger sister started getting picked on, too.
The teen also posted a cryptic video to his since-deleted social media in the moments before his rampage across the small-town campus that housed both a middle school and high school, 40 miles northwest of Des Moines.
In the TikTok video, Butler posed in a bathroom stall at the school with a blue duffle bag at his feet along with the caption: “Now we wait.”