Arapahoe High School Shooting

No one besides the shooter died at Arapahoe High School today, where a male student entered the school with a shotgun and asked for teacher/librarian/Tracy Murphy. The shooter shot at Murphy and missed. A janitor helped Murphy get out of the school and into a car. The shooter then shot two one student who happened to be nearby. He then went into a classroom and killed himself. He was found 5 minutes after the shooting was first reported. No law enforcement shots were fired and all 2,000 students have been reunited with their families. Two 2 molotov cocktail "devices" were also found.

The deceased shooter is believed to be Karl Pierson.

The motive, according to the Sheriff, was revenge following a disagreement with the teacher a few days ago when the teacher "docked him a few points" in speech class.


The Sheriff says the level of security at the school was not a factor and no level of security could have prevented this.

Two students were treated at Swedish Hospital and released (one was not shot but suffered an anxiety attack.) The third student, a 15 17 year old girl, was shot and has undergone surgery. Her condition has been downgraded from serious to critical. She is at Littleton Adventist Hospital. (Added 12/14/13: She is Claire Davis and her family says she is not doing well after surgery.)

The shooter lived on Sugarstone Circle in Highlands Ranch, and a bomb squad is at his home now, looking for explosive devices. He had a secondary home to which he had access that is also being examined. Search warrants are being applied for.

Authorities say Newtown and other school shootings had nothing to do with it. The kid had an issue with the specific teacher. The shooter may have been suspended Wednesday (Added: He was not suspended.) As usual, reports about him differ wildly, with some saying he was withdrawn and others saying he was outspoken and participated a lot in class. A friend of his who encountered the teacher when he left the school reports he was kind of nerdy and bullied. "He was a good person, people make mistakes."

The Sheriff says he is not aware of any advance threat or text message/social media warnings.

< Friday Open Thread | 7th Circuit Hears Blagojevich Appeal >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Karl Pierson, pictured, has been identified as the shooter at Arapahoe High School, according to one local news report citing students.

    thanks, I saw it too and updated (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 08:37:12 PM EST
    He was on the track team as well as speech and debate team. Tracy Murphy was the team leader.

    Jeralyn, "no one died" doesn't seem (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 08:40:44 PM EST
    accurate as the assailant shot himself to death.

    you are right (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 10:58:46 PM EST
    I will change that -- I meant the shooter didn't kill any students, but since he died, it's a poor choice of words.

    `Karl half-jokingly threatened to kill Mr Murphy, and Mr Murphy got him suspended for saying that,' Pierson's friend and teammate Joe Redmond told The New York Daily News.

    `Karl wanted to go to the Air Force Academy and hey don't look positively on suspensions so (Karl) felt like Mr Murphy had ruined his life.'

    Suspension from the debate team (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Towanda on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:22:05 AM EST
    does not ruin a life.  I doubt that it even shows up on a transcript to ruin admission to a military academy

    Over-reaction can ruin a life -- and over-reaction based in an over-weaning sense of entitlement certainly can ruin a life.  

    Thank heavens that it did not ruin lives of others around him.


    If ever there was an apple pie (none / 0) (#12)
    by jondee on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 12:52:29 PM EST
    captain of the football team and class president face, that's one..

    I wonder if he's another one brought up on Ritalin and SSSRIs..


    He may have mat made the life of the (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 07:31:23 PM EST
    female student he shot much different in the future b

    Yes, I thought the same (none / 0) (#17)
    by Towanda on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 12:31:33 PM EST
    after posting.  I hope that the girl's injuries do not ruin her life.

    From what I've been reading, (none / 0) (#18)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 01:47:37 PM EST
    I would not expect a lot of upside to the girl's condition.

    Sheriff Grayson Robinson clarified earlier reports and confirmed on Friday evening that Pierson had not been suspended from the school and he even attended classes this morning before bringing his shotgun with him while looking for Mr Murphy shortly after 12.30pm.

    It is very likely (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jack203 on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 10:20:24 PM EST
    Karl Pierson was going through more significant mental issues than only being suspended.

    It is a shame he didn't receive help in time.

    Not a vacuum (none / 0) (#8)
    by Lora on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 10:18:33 AM EST
    People don't go to a school with a gun and shoot or attempt to shoot people on a whim.

    Whether or not a particular cause and effect are found, I think it is misguided to ignore the effects of the uniquely American gun culture, the promotion of gun violence in the media and game culture that young people have nearly unlimited access to, and the lasting images created by other spectacular school shooting episodes that are burned into our collective consciousness.

    random act of violence (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:04:32 AM EST
    the gun didn't cause his rage, it was the means by which he expressed it.

    He also had two molotov cocktails, one of which was burning when police got to it.

    There are reports he had an outburst at school on Weds. over a locked door that others describe as "over the top." He was sent to the Administration office. (He left class to get water from his locker and couldn't get back in because the door was locked. He started banging on the door and screaming at the teacher.)

    Four people were stabbed outside the Bronco game this week -- the cause was a dispute over a fender bender in the parking lot.  Should we ban knives?

    Initial reports have been revised. Only one student was shot, not two. The Molotov cocktails could have injured more students.

    The media is over-hyping this story. There is no "trend" of school shootings in Colorado. Columbine was in 1999. The Aurora shootings (James Holmes) did not occur at a school but a movie theater.


    not exactly random (none / 0) (#11)
    by Lora on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 11:48:49 AM EST

    You say the gun didn't cause his rage.  I don't disagree.  However, it was, indeed, the means by which he expressed it.  And, unfortunately, it is the means by which other school shooters and mass shooters -- they are called "shooters," are they not? -- also express their rage.

    Yes, he had Molotov cocktails also.  Other methods for expressing rage besides guns are also used, sure, but in general, gun deaths and gun violence far outweigh the other methods.

    If he was acting inappropriately and had issues with the teacher, screaming, kicking, behaving in a way that was unacceptable and "over the top," then it would seem his violence didn't come out of nowhere and wasn't a random act.  There were the warning signs that apparently were ignored.

    Should we ban knives because four people were stabbed at a game?

    Now, that's just silly.  You know I never even suggested we ban guns, let alone knives.

    May I remind you that no one was actually injured from the Molotov cocktail?  And the shooter himself died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound?  Isn't "only one student" one too many?

    Obviously Molotov cocktails and bombs would have the potential of destroying a large number of lives and property.  Maybe that's why they are illegal.

    No argument on the media overhyping the story.  They always do.

    If you want to look at what's over the top, gun violence in this country is over the top.  There is no easy answer.  Maybe the gun culture and gun violence in general had no effect on this student.  (Personally, I bet it did.) But just like you can't point to a particular hurricane and say "global warming caused this," that doesn't mean that global warming has no effect on storms in general and dire consequences for the planet.

    If you're concerned about rights and freedom, what about the rights of our students to be able to go to school and learn without fear, repression, violence and killings?

    We avoid looking at gun violence and gun culture as a factor in mass shootings at our peril.


    If you toss out gang-related murders... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 06:35:56 PM EST
    ...like drive-bys, and things like that, then there is indeed a very dramatic increase in mass killings of the school-shooter, movie theatre shooter type. Just as an example, when the guy shot up a McDonald's in San Ysidro in 1984 it shocked us all because it was so outrageous and "new" in its scope of violence. We don't react that way anymore because, and obviously so, these events have become so commonplace as to have jaded us in a terrible way. We still see them as awful, only now we also see them as inevitable. And we know we do, and that is almost equally awful in our collective consciousness AND subconsciousness.



    1979. Brenda Spencer. Also shocking. (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Sat Dec 14, 2013 at 07:35:02 PM EST
    Jack the Ripper (none / 0) (#16)
    by ragebot on Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 01:06:29 AM EST
    is perhaps the first famous mass killer history records.  But my first memory of a mass killer dates to 1966 and

    Charles Whitman


    Matches (none / 0) (#19)
    by Mikado Cat on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 08:08:49 AM EST
    a trend in TV coverage of news. TV didn't create mass killing, it just made it popular.

    If Jack the Ripper (none / 0) (#20)
    by CoralGables on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 10:54:59 AM EST
    is the most famous of mass killers, I have a hard time comprehending how TV managed to make that happen.