Karl Pierson ID’ed as Suspect in Shooting in Arapahoe High School in Colorado; Librarian was Target

December 13, 2013 Updated: December 13, 2013

Karl Pierson was identified as the shooting suspect that left two people injured in Arapahoe High School on Friday in Centennial, Colorado.

The Denver Channel reported that Pierson was the suspect. The station cited several high school students in its report. 

Pierson, a senior at the high school, is said to have shot and killed himself at the school. His body is still on the scene as police and law enforcement officials investigate.

Tracy Murphy, the librarian at Arapahoe High School and was the debate team coach, was the apparent target of Pierson.

“The shooter just ripped through the door, started yelling ‘Where’s Murphy?” a student, Max Minne, told the Denver Channel. “That’s the main librarian of the school. I saw him bust through the door of the library with a gun, so I just took off and started yelling, ‘Everyone get out, everyone get out.'”

“We were just in the library doing some work and we heard a loud bang. I thought it might have been someone dropping something, but then I heard 2 more,” he added.

Pierson was apparently kicked off the debate team and was on campus with a gun Friday looking to shoot Murphy, but instead shot two students instead. One of them is in critical condition, the Denver Channel reported.

“There was a girl on the ground and she was bleeding out of her stomach — at least that’s what I thought it was. I was sprinting so fast that I didn’t really get a look at her. She was on her knees,” Minne told the station. “It was just tunnel vision; I was just trying to get out as quick as I can.”

Pierson then reportedly turned the gun on himself and died.

Custodian Fabian Llerenas said that the suspect shot once at Murphy and missed his head.

“So when he did that he took one shot at him and missed his head, and he said he felt the wind just go up and down,” he said.

Quick-thinking students alerted the targeted teacher, who quickly left the building, and police immediately locked down the scene on the eve of the Newtown massacre anniversary, a somber reminder of how commonplace school violence has become.

One of the wounded students, a girl, was hospitalized in serious condition. The other student suffered minor gunshot-related injuries and was expected to be released from the hospital Friday evening, authorities said.

A third person was being treated for unspecified injuries but had not been shot, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson initially reported that the most seriously hurt student was wounded after confronting the gunman, but he later said that did not appear to be the case.

The gunman made no attempt to hide the weapon when he entered the school from a parking lot and started asking for the teacher by name, Robinson said.

When the teacher learned that he was being targeted, he left “in an effort to try to encourage the shooter to also leave the school,” the sheriff said. “That was a very wise tactical decision.”

Jessica Girard was in math class when she heard three shots.

“Then there was a bunch of yelling, and then I think one of the people who had been shot was yelling in the hallway ‘Make it stop,'” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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