400 Gather To Pray For Arapahoe High Shooting Victim
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – Plans changed for the return to Arapahoe High School as students were not allowed back inside on Monday to get their things. They will be able to return to the school on Thursday and Friday but the school will be closed the remainder of 2013 for time to heal.
On Friday Claire Davis, 17, was shot in the head by another student. She is in critical but stable condition. Classmates and others gathered outside the school to pray for Davis on Sunday afternoon.
School employees kept reporters at a distance, but CBS4 learned approximately 400 people gathered as recovering from Friday’s violence inside their school has just begun.
“People of faith were able to come closer to God. Those without faith were able to, through all these people, heal their own way,” AHS senior Spencer Elliot said.
Their thoughts are with Davis, who was critically shot by 18-year-old Karl Pierson, who took his own life as a deputy approached.
“A lot of them are still in shock and they don’t know how they feel and everybody handles grieving and healing differently,” parent Sarah Lampard said.
The sheriff’s office says trying to understand Pierson’s motive to hunt down his debate coach, identified by the school as Tracy Murphy, may take much longer.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said he believes Pierson wanted to harm multiple people.
“We believe, based on the fact that he was armed with multiple rounds, armed with a machete and three incendiary devices, his intent was evil, and his evil intent was to harm multiple individuals,” Robinson said.
Pierson was apparently still upset with Murphy for disciplining him back in September. Murphy escaped the library.
“We’re trying not to talk about the shooter as much … trying to not make him a celebrity or anything and just focus on praying for Claire,” AHS sophomore Charlee Mendez said.
Senior August Clary was taking a chemistry quiz when the gunshots rang out. His teacher locked down the classroom.
“We were hoping to God that we weren’t going to die. But everybody was staying quiet, and if you were crying, you were crying as quietly as you could,” Clary said.
Pierson set off a Molotov cocktail before taking his own life in the back of the library. SWAT teams then went room to room, and in a scene reminiscent of Columbine, students fled the school with their arms up in the air to show they were unarmed.
Clary, who has known Pierson since third grade, said Pierson was an Eagle Scout and a smart student with a passion for politics who hated losing an argument.
“He wasn’t some creepy loner kid. He had a lot of friends,” Clary said.
“I don’t know that it’s ever going to be the way it was before,” Elliot said. “Having that sense of togetherness will allow us to regain that sense of normality.”
The school is closed until further notice.
Statement From Karl Pierson’s Parents, Barbara And Mark Pierson
We are shattered by the tragic events that took place on Friday at Arapahoe High School. Our thoughts and prayers are with Claire Davis and her family. They, and she, have suffered unimaginably, and we pray for her full recovery. We also pray for the entire Arapahoe High School community, as we know your lives are forever changed by this horrific event.
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. We ask for privacy during this unthinkably difficult time and hope that you will respect our need for time to grieve.
Arapahoe Donation Fund For Claire Davis
Those who would like to make a donation for Claire Davis can mail them to First Bank located at 2323 East Arapahoe Road in Centennial, 80112. Include “Arapahoe Donation Fund for Claire Davis” on the donation.