December 17, 2013

Colo. school shooter’s parents: ‘We are devastated’

Meanwhile, Claire Davis, 17, who was shot point-blank, is listed in critical condition at a Colorado hospital.

By Dan Elliott
The Associated Press

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Support and concern for a 17-year-old girl critically wounded by a fellow student at a suburban Denver high school poured in Monday, both online and outside the school.

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Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson holds a picture of Claire Davis the 17-year-old student that was shot during a briefing Saturday at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo. Davis was shot by 18-year-old shooting suspect Karl Halverson Pierson at the school on Friday before he took his own life.

The Associated Press

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Arapahoe students leave flowers and other items at a makeshift tribute site three days after a shooting attack at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. They are from left, Hannah Eddy, at bottom, Gavyn Bills, and Vania Arevalo. During the attack, the shooter shot a classmate in the head at close range with a shotgun, before killing himself.

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

Additional Photos Below

People offered prayers and left notes of support for Claire Davis at a fence at Arapahoe High School where white cups spelled out “Pray 4 Claire (heart)” A notebook and a Christmas stocking filled with pens hung from the fence, while others left stuffed animal horses because of her love of riding.

School graduate Parker Semin, 21, said he knelt in front of the fence to pray for a speedy recovery.

On Twitter, people offered prayers in several languages for Davis, who is in a coma at a hospital a couple of miles away from the school.

Hundreds of students and other supporters turned out at the school’s track on Sunday to pray and show support for Davis, described as fun, bubbly and caring.

“She is someone we need back, and we’re hoping she gets better because Arapahoe won’t be the same without her,” LinsiAn Loadman-Copeland said.

Maggie Hurlbut recalled how she was upset in the hallway at school once and Davis, whom she didn’t know very well, stopped to ask her how she was doing and offer help.

“She just wants to take care of others,” she said.

Authorities believe she was shot at random by fellow senior Karl Pierson soon after he entered the school Friday armed with a shotgun, extra ammunition, a machete and three Molotov cocktails, looking for a faculty member with whom he had a dispute. Davis was sitting with a friend near the school library when Pierson shot her in the head point blank.

In their first comments since the shooting, Pierson’s parents said they were shattered and devastated by the shooting and offered their thoughts and prayers for Davis, her family and the entire school community.

“As parents, we loved our son Karl dearly and we are devastated by what happened Friday. We cannot begin to understand why Karl did what he did,” Barbara and Mark Pierson said in a statement.

Pierson may have been nursing a grudge against a school librarian who coached the speech and debate team since September. Pierson excelled at speech and debate and was passionate about the team, friends said. They described him as a smart student who sometimes would get into debates with his teachers.

Pierson had been disciplined by the librarian for reasons yet to be disclosed, according to Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson. He has said Pierson threatened that teacher in September and came to the school Friday intending to harm him and inflict numerous other casualties.

The coroner confirmed Monday that Pierson committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Robinson said Pierson killed himself 80 seconds after entering the school because he knew a deputy assigned to the school was closing in.

The investigation into the shooting continues, but authorities have finished their examination of the school building. Students will be allowed back later in the week to get their belongings, but with the holiday break scheduled for next week, they won’t be returning to class until January.

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

A parent picks up her daughter at a church where students from nearby Arapahoe High School were evacuated to after a shooting on the Centennial, Colo., campus Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the shooter shot two others at the school, before apparently killing himself.

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

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This Sept. 7, 2013 photo shows Arapahoe High School senior Karl Pierson as he poses for his class picture in Centennial, Colo. Pierson shot fellow student Claire Davis at the school on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, before killing himself.

AP Photo/Mary McGregor

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A makeshift tribute site bears the name of severely wounded student Claire Davis, who was shot by a classmate during school three days earlier in an attack, in front of Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. Davis, age 17, was shot in the head at close range with a shotgun, and remains in a coma.

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley



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