Arapahoe H.S. security guard says warning signs were ignored before shooting

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DENVER -- An Arapahoe High School security guard is speaking out. He says there were warning signs that could've prevented last month's shooting that killed senior Claire Davis.

Cameron Rust says those warning signs were ignored. He spoke with FOX31 Denver's Julie Hayden a day after he wrote a post on Facebook detailing some of his concerns.

He says Pierson had made a specific threat to kill one of the teachers at Arapahoe. Even after that ongoing problems continued with the student according to Rust. That included an altercation the day before the shooting.

Rust says that when he raised general concerns about school safety, he was "dragged" into the principal's office and told don't ever put anything in writing again.

He is one of two security guards who confronted the gunman, Karl Pierson on December 13th.

"Karl was probably 10 to 15 feet away just kind of pointing the gun at us and kind of giving you the look of 'come on in, see what happens," Rust says about encountering the student after the shooting.

While first responders in general were called heroes for their handling of the shooting, the "first" first responder, Rust, says the school has isolated him from the beginning and to this day won't let him back into the school or at work.

He says he doesn't know why. He does say he's on paid administrative leave.

He points out that he was raising concerns weeks before the shooting about the way the school was handling Pierson and the death threat he made against the teacher.

"That he threatened to kill Tracy Murphy ... we were also told that Karl's mother decided to pull him out of school for three days and had reassured us that he was just angry when he said it and that nothing would happen. And then we were just told to keep an eye out for things," Rust says.

Authorities have said Murphy was the shooter's target, but the teacher was warned and was able to get out of the building.

A few weeks later he saw Pierson looking at a gun purchasing website on his computer at school. Rust reported what he saw.

"We then got told that it was his personal computer and that he could look up whatever he wanted and there was nothing that we could do," he says.

Rust says the school had made it clear in general: Don't write anything down. "We were told to just don't put things in writing and if you have an issue bring it to your supervisor and they will handle it from there. And then the ultimate decision is above us," Rust says.

Like other first responders, Rust risked his life for the students that day and he still worries about them today.

"They're kids. They're the eight wonders of the world, you know. So, they needed help. They still need help," he says.

Investigators say they plan to re-interview Cameron Rust. Other than that, neither law enforcement nor the school district are commenting about what he says.



  • Scott Evans

    Why so many sentence their children to the government schools I’ll never understand. There are a million reasons to pull your children from the clutches of these liberal, Godless institutions, but all it should take is one reason. Yet people still send them there and hope against hope nothing happens to them. What is wrong with people?

  • Pepitone

    Arapahoe will be sued to the stone-age. What kind of idiots allowed that to be at school? Whatta cover-up. Rust will be called up on the massive lawsuit. You bozos shoulda listened, especially to Murphy. Idiots.

  • Gerry

    School security is nothing but window dressing to these liberal educators. TThey don’t like it and they only have it to placate the public. Rust’s eexperience is by no means an exception.

  • Pancho

    Dirty liberals, I dislike them all!! (Even though Jesus was a liberal). Mexicans caused this shooting. Ban all abortions.

  • TJ

    Last year’s political gun control laws were meaningless – the weapons used in both the recent Arapahoe and New Mexico shootings were shotguns, legally purchased and recommended by our Vice President. The chemical incident this week at a charter school didn’t even involve a gun. I wrote letters to each Colorado Senator and Congressman saying the next shooting would be their responsibility if they focused on useless laws targeting law-abiding citizens rather than immediately focusing on placing armed security in each school. Personally, I don’t think the average liberal teacher should be armed, but rather only real security guards or police in the schools. The liberal administrators can’t even be trusted with properly dealing with a clear-cut threat by a student, let alone carry a firearm. There have always been guns in Colorado throughout our history – tell me why only in the past 20 years have these events happened? Could it possibly be because our morals, how we raise our children, and the swing to the left has also occurred during that time? No one is willing to look inside themselves and take personal responsibility, it’s always easier to make up a straw man like legal gun ownership.

  • TJ

    “Independent” is a prime example of what has changed in this country in the past 20 years – a foul mouthed rant with no actual point and blaming everything on Christianity’s faults over a thousand years ago. You made my point perfectly. No explanation of where we find ourselves today and no solution since that involves looking inside. You don’t seem like an introspective person.

  • Gerry

    Look, this is simple. Ask any high school principal about securing a school and preventing this sort of incident, and they won’t include taking proactive steps to identify a potentially violent student. The guard in this case was clear that Pierson posed a threat, but the principal blew it off and instructed him not to write it up.
    No, the schools won’t do anything to confront a student because it might “stigmatize” him. They prefer avoiding confrontation (remember how the teacher that Pierson was angry with left the school? That was their idea of “defusing” the situation.)
    I don’t know why the principal refused to act in a timely manner, but because he didn’t, two people are dead. I hope that’s not lost in the race to see who makes the most politically-correct pronouncements about preventing a repeat of this tragedy.

  • Amanda

    Generalization is for the lazy thinkers. Not all, nor even a vast majority, of teachers or administrators are liberal. Not all, nor even a vast majority, of school officials are more worried about the stigmatization of a student than they are the safety of their students. In plenty of schools, the opposite is quite true, and a student throwing a snowball at another student is dealt with like a bully. If this security guard’s story is true, then this is a case of the failure of school officials at this school. Even more relevant is the failure of the shooter’s parents. Parents need to take more responsibility for the types of children they are raising, or more accurately not raising. There’s something fundamentally missing in the morals of kids like this shooter.

  • L.R.

    This is for all that believe sending kids to the “clutches” of public schools filled with “liberal, Godless” people is one of the worst things you could do for your child. As an educator, my job is to teach to the standards the state has deemed required for students in order to be prepared to go on to the next grade. That’s what the description is cut down to. However, as an educator, my duty is to accept each and every one of my students with open arms, do my best to answer any question they have, guide them towards their unique goals and aspirations, encourage them in any of their pursuits, help them realize what is right and wrong based on human morality, not on a certain religion or political belief, and above all treat them with the respect I hope to gain from them. I would throw myself in the way of any danger or threat that came across any of my students without a second thought. That is what you find in these institutions.
    Signed, a liberal, Christian, educator. Oh, and I also support gay rights. Come at me bro.

  • Neo Conservative

    Dirty liberals have created a race of super mexicans capable of mind control, as was the case here. The young boy fell prey to the illegals who brainwashed him into committing the act, which is all part of an elaborate scheme by Obama to outlaw guns. Loosen up the borders and this is what happens.

  • *grabsachairandwaits*

    It’s obvious that a group is on here commenting in unison and patting each other on the back.

    They are angry that changes that they want to see are not being done, but no one commenting on here is stating concrete suggestions at what needs to be done to tackle public acts of destructive random violence like school or theater shootings. This group obviously talks about it a lot, so let’s hear. What are the exact changes that need to be done to effect change from home life to schools to politics? Let’s hear specifics so we can think about and discuss whether those would be effective changes.

  • Honest

    What has changed in the last few decades? Moms and dads do not raise their children anymore. Day care and new technology now seem to have a greater role and a greater effect on our children. The new economy has required that more moms work and many others choose to
    I know I’m sounding a bit old-fashioned but when Mom ran the home, when she was there to admonish and reward behavior, when kids looked at their parents, and maybe all people of authority, differently, things were different. Is it coincidence that guns and availability really hasn’t changed in decades, but the feelings of rage behind them seems to have. The assailants seemed to have changed. Over the years parents have left the home, be it the quest to make money, divorce, drugs, whatever. In some sad way we have abandoned our kids. That detachment from their moms and the family has happened over the years to a large degree and you can make what you will of that. To me the family breakdown has been very destructive to society. I understand this is 2014, not 1967. Things change, but sometimes not for the good.
    We should all know that high school can be torturous for many kids. If you didn’t know that, then you were possibly/partly to blame for that torture. So many non-jock, non-brain, non-stud, identity lacking kids are walking around those schools every moment. Disappointment has been striped from their lives by us, their new age parents that want ONLY the best for our kids. It’s analogous to the saturation of antibiotics and now we may be soon dealing with a killer bacteria. Dealing with rejection, disappointment and the like, is becoming harder for these young adults. Are we reaching out to them? Who? Who is reaching out? What popular jocks or cheerleaders are reaching out to the dorks? You want something big to fix? Fix that.
    I’m sorry to say this but so much of the BS I’ve read lately about AHS is LIP SERVICE! And the Warrior’s motto is the same as it relates to that school. They take care of the “winners” like every LPS and most likely every school in America. Teachers, administrators, and all of the staff dote on those kids that help give their school a “good reputation” with straight A’s, awesome athletics, or whatever makes that school look good. Problem kids are often relocated as to keep that sterling reputation intact. They are great at handling things when 93.2% of these kids are college bound. Are they as concerned with the 6.8%? Is that taking care of each other?

    • Amanda

      Harsh assessment, Honest, but in many ways very true. And I admit this as a working mom who functioned as a single mom for years. I had to, and still must, be ever more diligent to put in extra efforts with my kids and ensure I am always connected with them, with what is going on in their lives. We must be ultimately responsible for our children.

  • Honest

    The joke here began with the very first post which immediately needed to inject both Godlessness and liberalism into this conversation. Why is that mantra always the same on Fox-based anything? It cheapens any true attempt at conversation. And to even attempt to blame anything liberal on a shooting in which easily accessible legal guns came into play, again, makes one look so incredibly hypocritical, that there will be no real communication. The mantra thing kinda ruins that.
    Cameron Rust has a lengthy reputation of integrity and concern at AHS. I believe he volunteered before he was hired. EVERYONE, including those whom hired him, trusted him to safeguard that school. I believe him and Christine risked their lives for those kids as much as anyone that day. Many, many students love and trust him. The school has not earned that same devotion recently. That is very sad, but things change. People change. Schools change. This is damage control right now for LPS, so expect to hear nothing that an attorney doesn’t approve . Rust is not the bad guy, he looks to be more of the hero at AHS. We also teach so those with integrity will speak up. There is never going to be a good time and the tragedy can’t be undone. The Administration needs to step up and lead in the truest meaning of the word leadership.

  • Honest

    By the way, all those who love to label someone as liberal in an attempt to degrade or discredit them, look it up in Webster’s. The definition of liberal vs conservative? Seems like a no-brainer unless of course you prefer closed mindedness and unwillingness to change. I myself, have always tried to choose the path of open-mindedness, tolerance and acceptance to change.
    Thank goodness there are actually thinkers like Independent, Amanda, LR and a few others here.

  • Test

    Tempers flare because both sides are trying to find scapegoats. The Democrats want to punish gun owners who had nothing to do with the event and Republicans want to punish educators who likewise had nothing to do with the crime.

    While education and parenting and religion are all important and do shape the overall culture there is no 100% solution that makes all bad things go away.

    Sometimes the hardest thing to admit is that some things are beyond our control.

    In olden days doctors used to leach their patients to death, now we have better medicine, but our legislation is worse, we’re legislating ourselves to death.

  • Honest

    This particular AHS conversation is way too specific to fall under those terms of yours. In fact, the need to politicize this beyond the obvious is unnecessary and irrelevant.
    Right off the bat, I’m a “Democrat” and a gun owner, so now what? Do you think I’m alone? I’m not.
    If educators, administrators, or gun owners have done wrong, they need to be held accountable. Across the board, regardless of position, wrong is wrong. No one is asking Cameron Rust his affiliation. We don’t check voter’s Why you MUST immediately divide everything into Dem/Repub is silly and only creates contention.
    I believe you may be missing the point though. Many things are beyond control, but either you aren’t aware or don’t understand what has happened here.

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