Arapahoe High shooter was angry about debate team demotion

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Several students who say they know the Arapahoe High School shooter say he was reserved and had signs of rage, but none of them saw signs that would lead them to believe he would carry out the shooting.

Sheriff Grayson Robinson identified the shooter as Karl Halverson Pierson, 18.

"He was sorta nerdy, but in an almost charming way," said fellow student Frank Warnoff.

One students who didn't give his name said he last saw the shooter Wednesday. "He got suspended for yelling at my teacher," the teen said. "Last time I saw him in a rage. Then he left."

Pierson was a member of the school's Speech and Debate team, but had been kicked off by the teacher he allegedly targeted, Warnoff said.

"Apparently that was enough to set him off," he said.

Other students described Pierson as bright and conservative in his views on gun rights.

Authorities searched his Highlands Ranch home Friday night.



  • frank

    sad…until we start putting as much energy into parenting as we put into shopping on black friday these tragedys will continue.

  • TKH

    frank…you are right on the money!! Parents these days don’t realize that “parent” is not a noun…it’s a verb. It’s an action word…if you’re raising a child you need to an active parent!!

  • Maybelline Snuffleuptogus

    “Other students described Pierson as bright and *conservative* in his political views.”

    Not so, hope you will retract and correct to LIBERAL/LEFTIST political views.

  • Ger San

    We’ve conditioned this generation and the previous one that there are no losers, that everyone gets a blue ribbon. At the same time, we’re glossing over violent mental conditions, handing out medication as though that’s all that needs to be done. This kid was given a consequence for his actions, and we seem to have a case here of a violent reaction to being held to account for something. Too bad that will likely get lost in the rush to compare this to other school shootings and the “need” for gun control.

  • char s. o.

    I don’t like that people are blaming the parents right off the bat. They are assuming that the parents were some how ‘bad’ or ‘negligent’.

    For all anyone knows, he may have been brought up in a wonderful, loving home and given the upbringing that most people wish for their kids: love, teaching right from wrong, respect, value education, family and life, etc…. No one knows what the home life was.

    There are other people who have grown up in truly horrible family environment, or haven’t been picked for a team, or lost an electionetc… yet they DON’T act out by harming others…..they often work harder to make a better life for themselves.

    This killer, like so many others before him, made his decision to act in such a cowardly, childish way, on his own.

    All that I have read, which isn’t much at this point, implies that he got kicked off a debate and he couldn’t handle it. I doubt he is the first student to ever have been kicked off a team.

    He just CHOSE to behave in this manner. Can’t blame anyone else but HIM.

    Prayers for all the students, teachers, their families, and the killer’s family. What they will face in the upcoming months and years will not be pleasant. I hope that they all get counseling and guidance.

  • Pam D

    I thought I read in an original report that he had socialist leanings as far as his viewpoints, but now you say conservative. IF you are going to put labels out there, you need to support them with actual evidence or put nothing at all. It feels as if you’re changing the info to fit the narrative that you want it to fit.

  • Steve

    Conservative in his political views!?! According to his Facebook page he clearly posts statements that mock Republicans and takes more of a liberal stance. An article from Denver post seemed to get it right though.

  • jinxed13

    I hope people realize that the reason this young man didn’t injure or kill more people was because of the response of an individual ARMED with a GUN. This young man is typical of the gun control supporter types — he believed in his right to own a gun, but would have stripped others of their right to own one so that they could defend themselves against him. Of note was also the machete he was in possession of and the Molotov Cocktails. What did the Aurora Theater, Columbine, Paducah, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, etc. shootings all have in common? No armed individual on site to protect victims from individual/s who intended to kill.

  • jinxed13

    My prayers go out to the family of the victims and the family of the shooter. They are all victims. When are our schools going to start realizing that bullying has been behind these attacks, instead of blaming violent video games, movies, music, celebrities, etc. and take action against the bullies regardless of the reasons the bullying is taking place? Bullying needs to be taken very seriously and addressed immediately when observed or reported. A beautiful young woman is trying to recover from grievious injuries and a troubled young man is dead. I find it interesting that these attacks tend to occur at suburban schools, not inner city schools despite the fact that inner city schools are plagued by gang and other criminal activity. Maybe our suburban schools should be consulting inner city schools to see how they have successfully prevented similar student attempts to commit mass killings on campus.

  • Liberal Sanity

    Jinxed13, you really nailed it. We never see these crazed white kid shootings at schools like Gateway High and Central High, so its obvious that Arapahoe county needs to integrate the lower income students into the upper income schools like Arapahoe High, and bus AHS students to the lower income high schools to integrate these violent white kids into the peaceful Democratic lower income areas so they lose their rage and learn that life is about contributing to the commune; instead of reaching for this false alpha #1 Me Me Me selfish capitalist mentality. Integrate now and end the violence!

  • Mike How

    Teens need to realize that violence is NEVER, NEVER an answer or a solution!! It did not solve anything at all. It destroyed him and so many lives! There is a better way! Reach out to someoone! A friend or family! Get some help. Don’t let yourselves head down a dark path of destruction!!!! There is a bright future ahead if you let it!

  • SJ

    Interesting take I must say. I almost have to agree that the lower income schools seem to not have these shootings. Maybe thats because the shootings are already happening all around the schools on a much more regular basis.

    Go ahead and check the crime stats, and you will see that the crime rates including violent crimes are already elevated around these schools. But don’t let the facts confuse your argument, go ahead and rant all you like.

  • Havanly

    Wow people learn to read and stop trying to politically incite problems. The article states “conservative in his views on gun rights.” You CAN be conservative in a viewpoint and NOT be a conservative. One does not preclude the other.

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