Kids at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., part of the Littleton Public Schools, went through about 80 seconds of terror Friday, as a student entered the building during fifth period with a shotgun and incendiary devices, shot one girl at point-blank range, threw a Molotov cocktail in the library to ignite at least three bookshelves, and then killed himself, the Denver Post reports.
Claire Davis, 17, was critically injured, with severe head trauma, from the second shot fired from the gun of Karl Pierson, 18. He was a debater who was said to pick arguments over politics with teachers and other students.
A smart student, who as recently as the day of the shooting caused concern from fellow debate team members, according to a report in Tribune Newspapers, Mr Pierson had been disciplined by the debate coach a few months before the shooting and may have been acting in retaliation.
According to reports, Mr Pierson had purchased the pump-action shotgun legally on Dec 6. The minimum age for legally purchasing a firearm in Colorado is 18, and Mr Pierson had just celebrated his 18th birthday.
On Saturday night, many people in Arapahoe held a candlelight vigil for Ms Davis, and we join them in their prayers, wishing her a speedy recovery. News reports say she didn’t have any particular acquaintance with Mr Pierson, other than being a fellow senior at the same high school. It appears to be a case of her being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The apparent target of the shooting, a staff member who coaches the debate team and works as a librarian, was not named. He was reported to have escaped the building unharmed.
We have generally avoided reporting on gun violence this year, but Reuters said this shooting was the latest of “more than two dozen spasms of gun violence to shake US school campuses this year.”