Denver, CO, United States (4E) – A 17-year-old senior student of Arapahoe High School in suburban Denver remains in critical condition Saturday after getting shot in the head by another student who attacked the school with a shotgun and Molotov cocktail on Friday.
Claire Esther Davis was sitting next to a friend in the school library when she was shot at point blank range by Karl Pierson, 18, around 12:30 p.m. Davis is at the Littleton Adventist Hospital with a severe head trauma, according to statement released by her parents.
Pierson entered the school from the student parking lot looking for the librarian, Tracy Murphy, and fired randomly down a hallway. He then shot Davis before entering the library, where he fired again and threw an ignited Molotov cocktail that burned some bookshelves. After a minute and 20 seconds, Pierson shot himself at a corner of the library.
A deputy sheriff working as the school’s resource officer and an unarmed security guard were the first to respond to the shooting by running from the cafeteria toward the library to confront the gunman. The officer yelled at students along the hallway to get down and get back, according to Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson. Police later arrived to evacuate 2,000 students from the school.
Robinson said the deputy sheriff’s action saved lives as the shooter was believed intent on shooting many people with his tactical gear outfit, shotgun, ammunition, machete and firebombs inside a backpack.
Investigators learned that Pierson bought the shotgun on Dec. 6 and bought a large amount of ammunition at local stores on Friday. Robinson said Pierson acted alone and her mother was out of town and unaware of what happened.
The shooting rampage was apparently triggered by Murphy’s disciplining of Pierson in September.