Arapahoe High gunman entered school through door that was supposed to be locked
On the morning of December 13, eighteen-year-old Karl Pierson gave no indication that anything was amiss, according to Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson. He took the time to have a meal and go bowling by himself.
Sheriff Grayson Robinson.
Then, at around 12:30 p.m., he entered Arapahoe High School through a door that was supposed to be locked but was commonly left ajar. Armed with a shotgun, a machete, three Molotov cocktails and many bullets, he fired six shots -- one of which fatally wounded student Claire Davis and the last of which took his own life.
Those details and more were revealed this morning at a news conference hosted by Robinson and attended by Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler and Undersheriff David Walcher. Robinson spoke eloquently about Davis, a seventeen-year-old who he said "has left an impact on my life." He said the young woman "was very much engaged in the responsibility and process of preparing herself for her future" -- a future, he added, "that was taken from her and taken from this community by a murderer."
Throughout the entire press conference, Robinson never said Pierson's name. Instead, he referred to him as "the murderer" -- even while reporters called him "the gunman" or "the shooter." "There's no question that the person who entered that school armed is a murderer," he said. "He entered that school with evil intent and he entered that school with the focus of doing the maximum amount of harm to the maximum amount of people."
Robinson explained that the investigation thus far has revealed that Pierson entered the school's north side through a door that had been "probably blocked open, which is pretty much standard protocol because it's inconvenient for people to come and go from another area." He made no effort to conceal the fact that he was armed, Robinson said.
This screen capture shows students being evacuated on December 13.
He immediately fired one round "randomly" down the hallway, according to Robinson. He then shot a second round directly at Davis, followed by a third round aimed down the hallway. Pierson proceeded to the library, where he fired two rounds "into the immediate area of the offices of the librarian and speech coach," Robinson said -- a man whom investigators believe was the gunman's intended target. Early on, investigators said Pierson's motive seems to be related to a disagreement with the speech coach.
Pierson was carrying three Molotov cocktails in his backpack, and Robinson said he ignited one of them in the library, which created a fire that burned four bookshelves and triggered the smoke alarm. He then fired a sixth round, taking his own life, Robinson said.
An examination of his body showed the Latin phrase "Alea iacta est" -- which means "The die has been cast" -- scrawled on his forearm in indelible marker. Also on his forearm were five numbers that correspond to the library and classrooms, Robinson said.
"It took less than one minute, twenty seconds from the time the murderer entered the school until his body was lying on the floor in the library," Robinson said.
Continue for more details from today's press conference.