(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) — Colorado authorities confirmed a shooting incident at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo. on Friday that left one student dead and another injured.
The suspected gunman, 18–year-old Karl Halverson Pierson, was found dead inside the school from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The injured student, a 15-year-old girl, was transported to a local hospital. She is in critical condition with a “significant gunshot wound,” according to Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson. Two students were previously reported to have been injured, but it was discovered the blood found on the person was from the sole victim.
Robinson said Pierson entered the school Friday afternoon around 12:33 p.m. with a shotgun, looking for an specific teacher. The teacher, who was asked for by name, exited the school immediately.
Active shooter protocol was initiated. In a press conference Friday, Robinson said it was a “very wise tactical decision” for the teacher to leave.
Within 20 minutes of the shooting report, deputies found the suspect dead inside the school. Officials also recovered two “Molotov cocktail” explosive devices at the scene. One was detonated in the school during the incident, with the school resource officer and deputies facing “significant amounts of smoke” in the immediate area of response. The second device was located and rendered safe, unused by the suspect.
Pierson’s possible motive may have been “some controversy or some disagreement between the teacher and the student.” Revenge may have been a driving force, according to unconfirmed preliminary information, Robinson said Friday.
The investigation of the crime scene continues, and officials are looking into Pierson’s home, as well as a secondary home the gunman had access to.
Students were evacuated from the building with their hands in the air, some being frisked by authorities on their way out. The school was evacuated “methodically” and “deliberately,” Robinson said, to make sure there were no other suspects or collaborators.
Officials believe the shooter acted alone, though it remains under investigation.
Berny Accosta, a student at the high school, said he was three classrooms away from the incident when he heard the first shot, followed by what he said were least three more.
“We went immediately into lockdown drill. Turned all the lights off, got as far from the windows and doors as we could,” Accosta said. “I saw blood on the ground of the study center when evacuated — that’s where there was a lot of blood on the ground. That’s where the ambulance carried people out from.”
Another student, Courtney Leytoldt, said she and others in her class heard a bang, and then another student with blood on her shirt came in screaming “help me.”
“Our teacher just put all of us in the closet, and we didn’t hear anything else,” Leytoldt said. “And then, we just heard someone try to come in our classroom and we heard screaming and yelling, and it was just, it was terrible.”
Other reported medical conditions included anxiety attacks, two cases of which were treated on scene and another at a local medical facility, according to Robinson.
Students were initially transported on school buses to Shepherd of the Hills Church to be reunited with family members. A second site was established shortly after at Euclid Middle School in Littleton, Colo.
Arapahoe High School will remain closed on Monday, and decisions are to be made on the school’s status for the rest of the week pending the crime scene investigation.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Unfortunately your browser does not support IFrames.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Recent posts in National News