Karl Halverson Pierson, an 18-year-old senior from Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., walked into his school carrying a shotgun on Friday, Dec. 13, and after inquiring about the whereabouts of a specific teacher, shot one fellow student – a 15-year-old girl still listed as critical – before firing off a few more rounds and then reportedly taking his own life.
Pierson was described “as a bright, politically opinionated young man who had a beef with a teacher,” according to NBC News.
One student described the lone gunman as “a nice, quiet teen who lived with a nice, quiet family in a nice, quiet neighborhood.”
Students at the scene described hearing one gunshot, then several more.
Pierson walked into a side entrance of his high school around 12:33 p.m. with that shotgun, making no attempt to conceal it.
Word quickly spread through the school that he was looking to seek revenge on a particular teacher with whom he had a recent confrontation.
In what the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office described as the “best tactical decision,” that teacher immediately exited the school in the hopes that the gunman would also leave the building.
The teacher has since been identified as the school librarian, as well as the school's debate team coach.
The school was evacuated after police arrived on the scene.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said yesterday that two Molotov cocktails were also recovered from inside the high school.
One was ignited either "immediately prior to or during the shots being fired," he said, releasing a "significant amount" of smoke. The second was not deployed and rendered safe. ~ Fox News
Still an active crime scene, the school and surrounding area were closed down Friday afternoon, with the lone gunman’s body remaining inside the building overnight.
In addition to actively investigating the high school shooting scene, police are also looking into Pierson's car, which police believe he may have driven to school yesterday. Officials are also looking into the separate homes of the gunman’s divorced parents.
Pierson's mother, a school system employee, was out of town caring for a sick relative, neighbors and investigators said.
It was reported around 10:00 a.m. E.T. today, that students and school staffers are just now being allowed on school grounds to retrieve their automobiles.
Yesterday’s Friday the 13 shooting at Arapahoe High School came only one day before the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, where shooter Adam Lanza shot and killed six school staffers and 20 first grade students in Newtown, Conn.
Arapahoe High School is only eight miles away from Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., where 14 years ago, two teen students walked through their school and killed one teacher and 12 students before taking their own lives.
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