Dec 14, 2013 6:16 PM by Zach Thaxton
The 17-year-old victim of Friday's shooting incident at Arapahoe High School in Centennial was shot at point-blank range and remains in critical condition. In a press briefing Saturday afternoon, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson read a statement from the family of Arapahoe High School senior Claire Davis asking for prayers and privacy as the lone victim from Friday's shooting faces a long road to recovery.
Davis was shot by Karl Pierson, an 18-year-old senior at Arapahoe High School who entered the high school heavily-armed, shot Davis, went into the library and ignited a Molotov cocktail before killing himself. Sheriff Robinson says Pierson entered the north side of the school at around 12:30 Friday afternoon through a door adjacent to the library. He was armed with a pump-action shotgun, ammunition, three Molotov cocktails inside a backpack, and a machete. Upon entry to the building, Pierson shot Davis as she sat in the entryway with a friend. Davis was an innocent victim with no known association with Pierson and, according to Robinson, was "in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Pierson then went into the library, presumably on the hunt for the school's librarian, who is also the debate team coach and with whom Pierson had conflict over "appropriate disciplinary action" levied against him by librarian Tracy Murphy. Aware he was being targeted, Murphy fled the building in an attempt to lure the student shooter out and away from students. Instead, Pierson ignited one of the Molotov cocktails, which set a bookshelf on fire. He also fired additional shots before turning the gun on himself.
Pierson's pump-action rifle was purchased legally from a "local retailer" on December 6, the Sheriff revealed, and the ammunition for it was purchased Friday morning prior to the shooting incident, also legally. The Molotov cocktails were comprised of "flammable liquid" in three 12- to 16-ounce bottles. Sheriff Robinson said Pierson's mother was "out of town on family business" at the time of the shooting, but that both parents are cooperating with investigators and are making themselves available for interviews.
Sheriff Robinson said the entire incident took only 80 seconds from the moment Pierson entered Arapahoe High School to the time he took his own life. He says the immediate response from a school resource officer and unarmed security guard were instrumental in preventing further casualties.
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