Arapahoe High shooter’s family says they are ‘devastated,’ grieving for victim


Arapahoe High School students are evacuated from their school after a deadly shooting on Dec. 13, 2013.

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Karl Pierson's family says they are "devastated" by the news their son shot one person at Arapahoe High School and they "cannot begin to understand why Karl did what he did."

In a statement Barbara and Mark Pierson said, "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," the statement said.

Davis, 17, was shot at close range during Friday’s shooting.  She remained in a coma Monday, her family said.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper visited the Davis family at Littleton Adventist Hospital for a second time on Sunday morning, a spokesman said. He spent a short time with the victim’s parents, but was not able to see Claire.

In a statement Sunday evening, the Davis family said Claire was stable but in critical condition.

“The first responders got Claire to the right place, at the right time, and the doctors and hospital staff are doing a wonderful job taking care of her,” the statement read. “We appreciate your continued good thoughts and prayers, and will provide updates as her condition improves.”

Police believe Karl Pierson launched the suicide attack because he was angry at a school staff member.

Witnesses have said Pierson was passionate about speech and debate, and he had a disagreement with the librarian who is also the speech and debate coach, Tracy Murphy.

Pierson's parents have called on the school district to be more forthcoming about information about their son's disciplinary process over recent months. The sheriff's department has said that is one of the many things it is looking into.

Arapahoe High to remain closed until 2014

Law enforcement released the crime scene at Arapahoe High School back to school officials at 6 a.m. Monday morning, but no classes will be held there until 2014.

In a letter to parents, Principal Natalie Pramenko announced the school would remain closed through winter break and into next year.

The decision came three days after an angry student came to school with a shotgun and critically wounded one classmate.

Staff will be allowed back inside the school on Wednesday, while students will be able to return on a staggered schedule to retrieve anything they may have left behind, the Denver Post reported.

Students will be able to recover their items on the following schedule, the school announced:

Thursday, Dec. 19: 

Seniors Class of 2014 – 8-10 a.m.
Juniors Class of 2015 – 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 20: 

Sophomores Class of 2016 – 8-10:00 a.m.
Freshmen Class of 2017 – 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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