A report released by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office sheds some light on the possible motive behind the deadly shooting at Arapahoe High School in December 2013.
Karl Pierson, 18, walked into the school on December 13. He fired six rounds and in about two minutes time, the attack was over. Claire Davis was shot and she died eight days later. Pierson was also dead.
He went through an unlocked door carrying a shotgun, knife, homemade bombs and a lot of ammunition. He bought the gun at Cabela’s in Lone Tree a week earlier.
Investigators say he had written in his computer months earlier about planning the attack.
“He stated, ‘I will shoot up my school Arapahoe High School before the year is over,’ that entry was September 17th,” Arapahoe County Sheriff David Walcher said at a news conference Friday.
Pierson first opened fire on Claire who asked him what he was doing while she sat outside the library.
Her parents listened to the briefing Friday after releasing a letter asking the community to heal, forgive and help treat disturbed students like Pierson.
“When someone, especially a child is taken from us in this horrible way at a place that we just simply trust as parents is going to be place of safety and innocence, I think the public needs to ask the hard questions of everyone, everyone involved,” Arapahoe County District Attorney Geroge Brauchler says.
But the D.A. says any criminal liability died that day when Pierson committed suicide.
The student had a grudge against debate coach and librarian Tracy Murphy for disciplining him.
But only a few months before the shooting, high school officials labeled Pierson a “not a high level threat’ after he shouted a death threat against Murphy.
The Littleton School District superintendent has refused to discuss what happened at Arapahoe High School. “I commit to all of you that my team is always looking for ways to improve our processes and procedures the safety and well being of our students and staff are our primary concern,” Superintendent Scott Murphy says.
Since the shooting, two different Arapahoe High School security guards have come forward accusing the school of not taking action on threats Pierson made prior to the shooting.
On her Facebook page, guard Christina Erbacher Kolk called Claire Davis’ death preventable, and said before the shooting an administrator talked to her about Pierson. “We all know this student will go off the deep end. It just will not happen at Arapahoe,” she’s quoted as saying.
The other security guard said that Pierson made threats against a teacher. “He threatened to kill Tracy Murphy and we were told to just keep an eye on things,” says guard Cameron Rust. “We were told not to put anything in writing.”
Parents and students were looking for an explanation Friday about this part of the incident from the school district. They didn’t get it. The superintendent says legally, he cannot talk about it.