Friends say the Iowa school shooter and his little sister had been relentlessly bullied.

According to the Associated Press, two friends and their mother revealed that Butler, described as a quiet kid, had been a victim of bullying for several years. Although authorities have not yet provided any information regarding a potential motive.

Butler was infuriated when his parents took the issue to the school, considering it as the final tipping point.

“Yesenia Roeder Hall, 17, expressed that he experienced pain and exhaustion. He reached a point where he couldn’t bear the constant bullying and harassment any longer.”

“Shooting up the school was definitely not a smart idea. Absolutely not,” he said with emphasis.

Calls made by the AP to Clark Wicks, the Superintendent of Perry Community Schools, and the school board members went unanswered on Thursday. An email requesting a comment was also not returned promptly.


According to the Des Moines Register, Butler’s father has held positions as the manager of the Perry Municipal Airport and the former public works director for the city of Perry.

The newspaper’s calls on Thursday were not immediately returned by the teen’s parents.

Investigations are currently underway into a series of social media posts made by Butler during the time of the shooting, according to Mitch Mortvedt, the assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

According to a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation, federal and state investigators are currently interviewing Butler’s friends and closely examining his social media presence. This includes analyzing his posts on platforms like TikTok and Reddit.

The photo was accompanied by the caption “now we wait” and played the song “Stray Bullet” by the German band KMFDM.

The lyrics of the song assert, “I’m the embodiment of your worst fears, the realization of your nightmares. I am the ultimate adversary you will encounter.”

According to the Register, the song was also featured on a website owned by Eric Harris, one of the shooters involved in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Over the past two decades, Harris and his associate, Dylan Klebold, have gained a certain level of notoriety and admiration among some school shooters, making them something of folk heroes.

According to an unnamed official, investigators have discovered additional photos in which Butler can be seen posing with firearms. The official, who is not authorized to publicly disclose information about the investigation, spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.

Thursday saw the return of students to school after the end-of-year holiday break, coinciding with the fourth mass shooting incident in the United States in 2024.

Four other students sustained injuries, in addition to Perry High School Principal Dan Marburger.

According to his father, Kevin Shelley, 15-year-old Zander Shelley was in a hallway when he heard gunshots. In a quick response, he swiftly ran into a nearby classroom for safety. Fortunately, Zander only suffered two grazes and managed to hide in the classroom. In a moment of urgency, he sent a text message to his father, informing him of the situation.

Kevin Shelley, a garbage truck driver, informed his boss that he needed to make a quick exit.

He expressed, “I have never been more terrified in my entire life.”

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