LITTLETON, Colo. — After first speaking to FOX31 Denver last week, Christina Kolk Monday addressed other media saying she hoped to hold school administrators accountable and calling the shooting on December 13 last yea “preventable.”
Kolk held a media conference with her attorney, Dan Recht. Our original story from last week appears below.
Almost one year after the shooting at Arapahoe High School in Littleton, there are new accusations against the school and district administration that both ignored warning signs.
It was before noon on Dec. 13 when Karl Pierson walked into his high school intending to shoot and kill his speech and debate coach, Tracy Murphy. Police said Pierson was angry about being dropped as captain of the team.
Inside he shot and killed fellow classmate Claire Davis before committing suicide by shooting himself as police arrived.
Now there are accusations the school could have prevented Davis’ death if administrators listened to the threats Pierson made for months prior to the shooting.
Littleton Public Schools has refused to discuss the incident.
At an Oct. 10 media conference, citing the advice of the school district’s attorney, Superintendent Dr. Scott Murphy refused to address accusations of missed warnings and refused to provide any school records which may have answered serious questions raised by parents and reporters.
“We’re not going to address students or employees,” Murphy said more than 15 times that day.
When asked why he refused to answer questions regarding Pierson, Murphy said the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act did not allow him to do so.
However, in an Oct. 14 email to FOX31 Denver, The Department of Education said that law does not apply to dead students over the age 17.
Security guard comes forward
One employee of the school district was listening to that press conference and heard enough.
“I don’t think they are telling the truth,” said Christina Kolk, who has worked as a security guard at the school for eight years.
Kolk was at the school when the shooting started.
“I just heated up my lunch when I heard the first shot,” Kolk said. She and fellow security guard Cameron Rust ran towards the gunfire.
“One of the first things I was (thinking) was am I going to see my daughter again?” Kolk said. “I was also hoping to save as many kids as I possibly could.”
Kolk said her years as a security guard could never prepare her for what she was about to see, but experience told her exactly who she’d find holding the shotgun and the teacher the shooter was targeting.
“I looked-up and Karl was standing right there and had the gun pointed right at us,” Kolk said. “We all knew Karl had it in for Tracy Murphy and we all had a bad feeling about him.”
To this day Kolk isn’t sure if Pierson tried to fire the weapon at her. Unarmed, Kolk said she and Rust ran toward the special needs childrens’ room to insure their safety.
Kolk said school administrators don’t want her story to become public. Knowing that, Kolk spent the last year collecting dozens of school records to support her allegations.
She’s also been covertly wearing wires to meetings with school administrators.
In her first interview since the shooting, Kolk said the school ignored warning signs leading up to the shooting. She said she believes the shooting was preventable.
After a year of silence, Kolk said Littleton school district superintendent Dr. Scott Murphy, school principal Natalie Pramenko, and other administrators owe both parents and students answers.
Kolk also said that at the Oct. 10 press conference, she believes Sheriff David Walcher and school administrators tried to imply she and the other security guard failed to protect students while trying to mitigate the damage she could cause them.
At the news conference, Walcher wouldn’t even mention Kolk by name saying she and Rust headed in a different direction of the shooting.
When asked if she believed there was a coverup, Kolk said: “I do.”
“I want people to be held accountable and take accountability for what they did wrong,” she said.
What the records show
Kolk blames Arapahoe High School for some security failures leading up to the shooting. She said she has the documents to prove it.
The records include a document dated Sept. 3 that shows Pierson threatened to kill his speech and debate teacher.
The documents say a threat assessment was done on Pierson even though his parents have denied that.
The threat assessment listed Pierson as “not a high-level risk”.
Kolk said, however, that had administrators properly documented several of Pierson’s other discipline issues, the threat assessment would have been handled differently.
In addition, Kolk said Littleton Public Schools recklessly disregarded their own policy on how to handle student threats.
We obtained a copy of the policy which requires a minimum three day suspension for threats and a referral to law enforcement.
In the days following the shooting the Arapahoe County sheriff said the suspension never happened.
“The warning signs were there and if we’re constantly dealing with this kid and we’re all worried about this kid, why can’t we do something about it?” Kolk asked.
Kolk also describes threats the school failed to document entirely. In October, Kolk said she caught Pierson looking at shotguns online at school.
She immediately notified administrator Daryl Meredith but said a week went by and, despite Pierson’s threat to kill his teacher, neither Meredith nor the school did anything.
“A week goes by and the next Monday we were told to watch out for (Pierson). Meredith said, ‘We all know he’s going to fly off the handle one day. It just won’t be at Arapahoe,’” Kolk said.
Kolk also backed the claims made by her fellow security guard Rust earlier this year.
“They told us not to put anything in writing,” Rust told FOX31 Denver in February.
Kolk said the school’s actions are one example of administrators safeguarding their reputation first and putting student safety second.
Kolk provided school behavior records which she said show the school falsified records which it reports to the Colorado Department of Education.
One of the documents involves reporting on the shooting itself.
Despite the murder of one student and the suicide of the shooter, the document filed by the school lists no injuries, and no medical services provided.
Arapahoe High School also noted that the school incurred no damages even though a month before the report was filed, Principal Natalie Pramenko sent a letter to school parents acknowledging damage to the library and asking parents to contribute $1 million dollars to rebuild it.
“I think they’re not telling the truth,” Kolk said. “I think the truth is what the community needs.”
Littleton Public Schools tried to have Kolk fired
Kolk said she knew immediately after the shooting her job was in jeopardy.
“We were told we couldn’t enter the school unless we talked to the HR director. We talked to him and we were told and I quote, ‘The administration does not want you here because of things you brought prior to the shooting,’” Kolk said.
Kolk also said the school manufactured a case to fire her which included an August incident in which principal Pramenko told Kolk a parent complained about her during a situation at the school.
Kolk contacted the parent and provided us with a letter from the parent saying the school manufactured the complaint.
When Rust came forward earlier this year accusing the school of a cover-up saying the school knew of threats beforehand, the school denied the accusations and sent a letter home with parents calling Rust’s claims fabricated.
Kolk was determined not to face a similar attack and so she began secretly recording meetings with Pramenko and Moritz.
Kolk said Pramenko and Mortiz told her if she wanted to keep her job she’d need to disavow Rust’s public claims.
We obtained the audio from the recordings.
In the tape Moritz is heard saying, “You got labeled if you will because you didn’t come in and refute that email or memo or whatever it is. Unless you come and say I don’t share this opinion then it’s logical to assume you support it entirely. You also didn’t distance yourself from (Rust).”
Kolk replied, “Well I didn’t. I don’t feel like I should have to do that. I’ve done nothing wrong.”
“Right so in some respect we are reading that your silence is that you support Cameron,” Moritz said. “The fact is that that (Rust’s) post divided … it was call to have people fired …it was a call to hold people accountable.”
Pramenko interjects saying, “To hear you say you agree with a lot of things in it is troublesome to me.”
“I’ve done nothing wrong to deserve the lack of trust to deserve being shunned,” Kolk responded. “I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Kolk planned to tell local news media about threats
Out of all the documented history and heartbreak, there is one document which is the most difficult document for Kolk to talk about.
Kolk provided us an email dated Dec. 12 — the day before the shooting.
Frustrated by the school’s inaction over her warnings about Pierson, Kolk gave up on school administrators and drafted the email to local media asking for help. She talked about “administrations’ failure to act” over Pierson’s “threats” and his searching for guns online.
In an eerie prediction that would come true less than 24 hours later she wrote, “I don’t want to wait for something bad to happen.”
She sent the email to her family for approval and planned to send it anonymously to area news media.
She never had the chance. The shootings happened the next day.
“It hurts because sometimes I think there is something more I could have done,” Kolk said.
We have verified that the email was sent to members of her family.
Christina Kolk is still employed by the school district though she is currently suspended over the disciplinary incident involving the alleged manufactured claim by the school.
Cameron Rust settled his claims with the school district earlier this year. The terms of the settlement are private.
Kolk has retained legal counsel and says she intends to hold the district accountable by filing a lawsuit. Kolk said she’s not interested in money, but is interested in seeing the administrators involved testify under oath about what they knew.
She said it will be the first time any of them will be forced to tell the truth about December 13th, 2013.