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Dec 14, 2013 1:43 AM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Traumatic day for students and parents at Arapahoe High School

A 15-year-old is in critical condition in a Denver hospital after a shooting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial early Friday afternoon, the student who shot her died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound according to investigators.

As soon as the gunshots were heard students said fear and confusion spread through the school.

"I just heard three gunshots," described student Jake Vadakia. "I knew after the first shot it was gunshots."

According to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office the suspect had brought a shotgun to the school with the intention of shooting a teacher he had had a disagreement with, the girl who was shot apparently confronted him. The suspect also ignited a molotov cocktail in the school, the bomb squad dismantled another.

Immediately after the shooting teachers in the school hustled students into classrooms and initiated lockdown procedures.

"Just gunshots going off and everybody at first just thought it was like a light-bulb or locker shutting," described student Sam Shea. "Then there was like four or five in a row...just sheer chaos and nobody knew what to do."

Hundreds of parents streamed to the area, surrounding the Shepherd of the Hills Church that served as an evacuation and reunification zone. Students were escorted from the school and bussed to the church, parents crowded around each bus hoping for a glimpse of their child.

"I just raced here as quick as I could," explained Paul Shea, Sam Shea's father. "I texted him, thank God for cell phones right, as much as we hate them as parents, thank God for cell phones."

Parents waited for hours outside the school as sheriff's deputies interviewed each student to gather information. Finally the tearful reunions came for parents whose children were safe, many thankful for the drills and training students and teacher sadly have to go through after school shooting nationwide.

"Not something you want to prepare for, but it has to happen," Sam Shea said. "It's crazy, it's ridiculous."

Late in the afternoon all the students were taken home from the school that's name has been added to a horrifying list in Colorado history.

"It's tragically sad," said Paul Shea.

Authorities identified 18-year-old Karl Pierson as the shooter, as of late Friday night police were in the process of searching the homes of his mother and father.

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