Colorado school shooting lasted less than 2 minutes - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Colorado school shooting lasted less than 2 minutes

Posted:
Students on the track at Arapahoe HS after shooting at school.  Authorities searched all students following the shooting as part of their security protocols. Students on the track at Arapahoe HS after shooting at school. Authorities searched all students following the shooting as part of their security protocols.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - A teenager who wounded a fellow student before killing himself at a suburban Denver high school entered the building with a shotgun, a machete, three Molotov cocktails and ammunition strapped to body, likely intending to track down a librarian who had disciplined him, authorities said Saturday.

After firing a round down a hallway, Karl Pierson, 18, shot a fellow student who just happened to be sitting nearby with a friend as he headed toward the library. Claire Davis, 17, was shot in the head at point-blank range and remained hospitalized Saturday in critical condition.

Pierson set off one of the devices, but killed himself just one minute and 20 seconds after entering the building because he knew a sheriff's deputy assigned to the school was closing in, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said at a news conference.

Pierson's original target was believed to be a librarian who coached the school's speech and debate team. The librarian, whose name was not released, had disciplined the teen in September for reasons that haven't been disclosed.

The librarian was able to escape the school unharmed, Robinson said.

The sheriff also said Davis appeared to be a random target. Based on Pierson's arsenal, Robinson believes the teen intended to hurt many others at the school just 8 miles from Columbine High School.

"His evil intent was to harm multiple individuals," he said.

Pierson legally purchased his shotgun at a local store a week before the shooting and bought the ammunition the day of the shooting. Anyone 18 and older is allowed to buy a shotgun in Colorado; only those over 21 can legally buy a handgun.

According to Robinson, Pierson fired another round down the hallway after wounding Davis. He then entered the library, fired one shot and detonated one Molotov cocktail, which caused three bookshelves to catch fire. After that, he fired a fifth round, ran to corner and shot himself.

Students and a teacher described Pierson as a smart and sometimes goofy student who often talked about his beliefs during class, sometimes even debating his teachers. They said he was outspoken about his Communist-leaning political views.

They also said he was an Eagle Scout who finished at the top of speech competitions.

Pierson competed in extemporaneous speaking - in which students prepare short speeches on current events - in the National Forensic League's national tournament in June in Birmingham, Ala. He didn't advance to the elimination rounds, the league said.

"I think he (Pierson) really cultivated his speech and argument skills and really thought that was a big part of his identity. ... He probably thought it was a pretty crushing blow to get kicked off the debate team," said Steve Miles, an English teacher who taught Pierson as a freshman.

Zach Runberg, 18, a fellow senior from Pierson's English class, said the teen was funny and made intelligent jokes.

"He would speak for himself," Runberg said. "He would not be afraid to tell someone how he feels."

Pierson, whose parents were divorced, lived at least part of the time with his mother in a higher-end neighborhood in suburban Highlands Ranch. The home and others around it have three-car garages, and a country club is nearby. The front door of the home was covered with plywood Saturday after authorities conducted a search overnight.

Challon Winer, who lives across the street from Pierson's home, said he often would see the teen mowing the lawn or shoveling snow from the driveway.

"I noticed that he didn't look extremely happy, but he was a teenager," subject to the normal moods of that age group, Winer said.

In recent days the teen's schedule appeared to change, and he left the house a little later than usual, Winer said.

Winer said Pierson's mother, Barbara Pierson, has worked with the Neighborhood Watch group and sometimes sent emails reminding residents about safety precautions. "She seemed aware of what was going on," Winer said.

Meanwhile, the family of the wounded student issued a statement Saturday saying she is suffering from severe head trauma and asking for privacy. Friends and well-wishers posted prayers and comments for Davis on Twitter, while some students collected money to help pay for her medical expenses.

Senior Chris Davis said he helped organize the effort in hopes of helping his classmates and the larger community heal.

"I feel like it's going to make us a stronger senior class and school as a whole," Chris Davis said. "Everyone went through it, and we all know people experienced it in their own way, and we just need to be there for everybody."

Chris Davis is not related to Claire Davis, but his locker is right next to hers. He described Claire Davis as someone who loves horses, has a lot of friends and always seems happy.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - Investigators on Saturday were working to find out what motivated a teenage gunman to enter his suburban Denver high school armed with a shotgun looking for a specific teacher a day earlier.

Quick-thinking students at Arapahoe High School on Friday alerted the targeted educator, who quickly left the building. The 18-year-old shooter - identified by authorities as Karl Pierson - critically wounded a 15-year-old student, but the strategic response by police on the eve of the Newtown massacre anniversary appears to have averted more bloodshed.

About a half hour after wounding the girl, Pierson was found dead in the school, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"I believe the shooter took his life because he knew he had been found," Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said.

Two other students were treated for minor injuries and released.

Robinson said Pierson, a senior who participated in debate activities, had had an altercation with the teacher, but the sheriff did not provide details or elaborate on a motive.

Authorities evacuated hundreds of students in an orderly procession - a demonstration of aggressive security measures developed by police and schools following the 1999 shooting at Columbine, some 8 miles west of Arapahoe High. All of the students there started school after Columbine and grew up in a security-conscious era.

After that tragedy, police across the country developed "active shooter" training in which responding officers rush toward gunfire - and step over bodies and bleeding victims if necessary - to stop the gunman.

"The first deputy sheriffs and police officers that were on scene immediately entered the school to engage the shooter if they could locate that individual and keep the other students safe," Robinson said.

"This kid, the officers went right to him literally within minutes," said Gov. John Hickenlooper. "That is a world of change from the way response used to happen."

Before Columbine, officials followed a contain-and-wait strategy in which arriving officers set up a perimeter to contain the situation, then wait for SWAT team members trained in military tactics to bring down the gunman.

Robinson said Pierson made no attempt to hide his weapon while entering the school from a parking lot and asking for the teacher by name.

When the teacher learned that he was being targeted, he left "in an effort to try to encourage the shooter to also leave the school," Robinson said. "That was a very wise tactical decision."

Students heard shots and cowered in classrooms while awaiting word on what had happened.

Senior Megan Jeffords, 18, was singing Christmas carols in the hall with her choir class when the shots rang out. A teacher rushed the 18 singers into a closet, where they huddled for more than half an hour.

Hours later, after Jeffords was reunited with her father, she was still visibly shaken and unable to talk much about what happened.

Jessica Girard was in math class when she said she heard three shots.

"Then there was a bunch of yelling, and then I think one of the people who had been shot was yelling in the hallway, 'Make it stop,'" she said.

Two suspected Molotov cocktails were also found inside the school, the sheriff said. One detonated, though no one was injured.

The shooting came a day before the anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., attack in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Since Columbine, Colorado has endured other mass shootings, including the killing of 12 people in a movie theater in nearby Aurora in 2012. But it was not until after the Newtown massacre that state lawmakers moved to enact stricter gun control laws.

Two Democratic lawmakers were recalled from office earlier this year for backing the laws, and a third recently resigned to avoid a recall election.

___

 

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) -- Authorities have identified an 18-year-old as the student who opened fire with a shotgun at a suburban Denver high school before killing himself.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson identified the shooter Friday night as Karl Halverson Pierson.

The sheriff has said Pierson made no attempt to hide his weapon after entering the school from a parking lot and asking for a teacher by name.

Robinson did not elaborate on any possible motive except to say Pierson had had a "confrontation or disagreement" with the teacher.

Authorities now say Pierson shot one fellow student, not two as originally reported. The wounded 15-year-old underwent surgery and was in critical condition.

Another girl who was taken to the hospital with reported minor gunshot wounds, but the sheriff says she was covered in blood from the other student and wasn't injured.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - A teenager who may have had a grudge against a teacher opened fire Friday with a shotgun at a suburban Denver high school, wounding two fellow students before killing himself.

Quick-thinking students alerted the targeted teacher, who quickly left the building. The scene unfolded on the eve of the Newtown massacre anniversary, a somber reminder of the ever-present potential for violence in the nation's schools.

One of the wounded students, a girl, was hospitalized in serious condition. The other student suffered minor gunshot-related injuries and was released from the hospital hours later, authorities said.

A third person was being treated for unspecified injuries but had not been shot, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson initially reported that the most seriously hurt student was wounded after confronting the gunman, but he later said that did not appear to be the case.

Authorities did not publicly name the suspect, who, according to the sheriff, made no attempt to hide the weapon after entering the school from a parking lot and asking for the teacher by name.

When the teacher learned that he was being targeted, he left "in an effort to try to encourage the shooter to also leave the school," Robinson said. "That was a very wise tactical decision."

Jessica Girard was in math class when she heard three shots.

"Then there was a bunch of yelling, and then I think one of the people who had been shot was yelling in the hallway 'Make it stop,'" she said.

Two suspected Molotov cocktails were also found inside the school, the sheriff said. One detonated, though no one was injured.

The school was swiftly locked down. Within 20 minutes of the first report of a gunman, officers found the suspect's body inside the school, Robinson said.

Several other Denver-area school districts went into lockdown as reports of the shooting spread. Police as far away as Fort Collins, about a two-hour drive north, stepped up school security.

Arapahoe High students were seen walking toward the school's running track with their hands in the air, and television footage showed students being patted down. Robinson said deputies wanted to make sure there were no other conspirators. Authorities later concluded that the gunman had acted alone.

Nearby neighborhoods were jammed with cars as parents sought out their children. Some parents stood in long lines at a church. One young girl who was barefoot embraced her parents, and the family began to cry.

The shooting came a day before the anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., attack in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Arapahoe High stands just 8 miles east of Columbine High School in Littleton, where two teenage shooters killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves in 1999. The practice of sending law enforcement directly into an active shooting, as was done Friday, was a tactic that developed in response to the Columbine shooting.

Since Columbine, Colorado has endured other mass shootings, including the killing of 12 people in a movie theater in nearby Aurora in 2012. But it was not until after the Newtown massacre that state lawmakers moved to enact stricter gun-control laws. Two Democratic lawmakers were recalled from office earlier this year for backing the laws, and a third recently resigned to avoid a recall election.

The district attorney prosecuting the theater shooting, George Brauchler, lives near Arapahoe High. At a news conference, he urged anyone who needed help to call a counseling service and gave out a phone number.

Tracy Monroe, who had step-siblings who attended Columbine, was standing outside the school on Friday looking at her phone, reading text messages from her 15-year-old daughter inside.

Monroe said she got the first text from her daughter, sophomore Jade Stanton, at 12:41 p.m. The text read, "There's sirens. It's real. I love you."

A few minutes later, Jade texted "shots were fired in our school." Monroe rushed to the school and was relieved when Jade texted that a police officer entered her classroom and she was safe.

Monroe was family friends with a teacher killed in the Columbine shooting, Dave Sanders.

"We didn't think it could happen in Colorado then, either," Monroe said.

After hearing three shots, freshman Colton Powers said, everyone "ran to the corner of the room and turned off the lights and locked the door and just waited, hoped for the best. A lot of people I couldn't see, but they were crying. I was scared. I didn't know what to do."

His mother, Shelly Powers, said she first got word of the shooting in the middle of a conference call at work.

"I dropped all my devices, got my keys and got in my car," she said. "I was crying all the way here."

More than 2,100 students attend Arapahoe High, where nine out of 10 graduates go on to college, according to the Littleton Public Schools website.

___

CENTENNIAL, Colorado (WXOW) - Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said that a student at Arapahoe High School was looking for a specific teacher before shooting and wounding two students Friday afternoon in the Denver suburb.

Robinson said that one of the students had a serious gunshot wound and was believed to be still in surgery.  The other student had a minor wound.  Robinson stated that victim is likely to be released from the hospital later this evening.

The sheriff said that officers searching the school eventually found the shooter dead inside a classroom from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Robinson said the incident began around 12:30 p.m. Mountain time when the gunman brought a shotgun into the west side of the school.  He said the student made no effort to hide or conceal it.  Upon entering the school, the student asked for a specific teacher.

In what Robinson called a very wise tactical decision, when the teacher learned of the gunman, he left the school quickly in an effort to get the shooter to follow him.  

Media interviews with students and authorities stated that the school immediately went into an active shooter situation quickly after the gunman entered the school.  Teachers and staff quickly locked down classrooms and sheltered students from the gunman.

Sheriff Robinson corrected himself from an earlier news conference and said that the one seriously wounded student did not confront the shooter as was first reported.  It appears, according to Robinson, that the victim was shot because of the proximity of the gunman.  

It wasn't immediately clear how the second student was wounded.

In all, Sheriff Robinson said he didn't know how many shots were fired in the school.  Students interviewed by media said they heard three gunshots ring out.

Robinson said that investigators are with the family of the gunman.  A search of the gunman's home, locker, and any places where the student frequented in the school is underway.

The sheriff said there is no evidence of any ties to the Sandy Hook shooting which occured one year ago on Saturday.  

Working with the school district, crisis intervention counselors are being made available to anyone involved with the incident. That includes counselors who were with the families of the two students shot.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

CENTENNIAL, Colorado (WXOW) - Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said that the suspect in a shooting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Robinson stated that one student was wounded and is in serious condition at a Littleton hospital.  The sheriff said that another student was injured, but officers are still checking to see if that was a gunshot wound.

Robinson gave some details as to what led to the shooting.  He said that authorities knew the identity of the shooter, but declined to give media a name.  Robinson said that the suspect entered the school carrying a shotgun looking for a specific teacher.  That teacher was told of the situation and quickly left the building. 

Meanwhile, another student confronted the suspect who then shot the student.

KMGH-TV interviewed one of the students at the school.  Ethan Bilek said that he heard three shots that sounded like they came from just outside his classroom.  He said that the teacher immediately shut the lights off and instituted lockdown procedures to keep the students safe.

----------------------------------------------------------------

CENTENNIAL, Colorado (WXOW) - CNN is reporting that a student at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado has been taken to a hospital in Littleton following a shooting there.

CNN is reporting that the patient is a student, a minor, with a gunshot injury.  The extent of the injury isn't known.

There is reporting that two people were injured. The status of the second person isn't known at this time.

------------------------------------

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) -- State division of emergency management spokeswoman Micki Trost says police are responding to a report of a shooting at a high school in suburban Denver.

There weren't any immediate details about what was happening at Arapahoe High School in Centennial on Friday. The school is about 8 miles east of Columbine High School in Littleton, where two teenage shooters killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves in 1999.

-------------------------------------------

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (WXOW) --- Two people are injured after a shooting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado according to KMGH in Denver.

Officials tell KMGH that the suspect is still in the school.

Littleton Public Schools are on lockdown.

We will keep you updated as we find out more.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WXOW. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Theresa Wopat at 507-895-9969. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.