NewsNational NewsScripps News


Parents of Iowa school shooter say they had 'no inkling' of his plan

Jack and Erin Butler say they are devastated for the victims and their families as they grapple with the reality of their son's actions.
Parents of Iowa school shooter say they had 'no inkling' of his plan
Posted at 10:16 AM, Jan 09, 2024

The parents of the 17-year-old behind the shooting at Perry High School in Iowa are speaking out.

Jack and Erin Butler said they had no clue of their son's plans when he opened fire on the school Thursday, killing a sixth grader and wounding seven others before shooting himself dead.

"As the minutes and hours have passed since the horrors our son Dylan inflicted on the victims, the Perry School and the community, we have been trying to make sense out of the senseless," said a statement by the couple. "We are simply devastated and our grief for the deceased, his family, the wounded and their families is immeasurable." 

"When we dropped off our son for school on January 4th, we had no inkling he intended the horrible violence he was about to inflict. On the way to school Dylan had been discussing with us of future plans and it felt like he was ready to get back to school after Christmas vacation and the start of a new semester," they said.

The shooting happened on the first day of classes after the holiday break, where 11-year-old Ahmir Jolliff lost his life. Among those wounded were the Perry High School principal, two other staff members and four other students.

Jack and Erin Butler said their daughter was also in school at the time of the shooting and that they "simply do not understand how this could happen and why Dylan chose to do what he did."

"Perry is our home and beloved community. 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," said the parents.

The two said they have answered and will continue to help answer questions as to why their son may have committed the shooting.

They also thanked their community for an outpouring of support. Some in the town Facebook group have offered to bring the family meals.

"We cannot repay the grace we have been shown in public and private," said the parents. 

The family of Ahmir Jolliff plans to bury their son in a funeral on Thursday.

Ahmir's mother, Erin Jolliff, was among those who sent prayers to Dylan's family.

"We send our condolences to the family of Dylan, they're in our prayers and we're truly sorry for his loss as well," she told The Associated Press.

On Monday, Iowa students across the state walked out and marched to the state Capitol in Des Moines to fight for better protections against gun violence.

SEE MORE: Hundreds of students in Iowa walk out in wake of school shooting

Trending stories at