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Karl Pierson's online image and more fallout from Arapahoe High shooting

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Update, 3:38 p.m.: Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, joined by Governor John Hickenlooper and Littleton School District Superintendent Scott Murphy, has just concluded a news conference offering more details about the shooting today at Arapahoe High School.

Among the revelations: The student who was shot is female -- and it appears she did not confront the suspect before he opened fire. Also, a device originally described as a Molotov cocktail was found in the school. Here are the latest details.

At 12:33 p.m. today, Robinson said, a lone gunman entered the school on the west side of the building. There, he asked students who were present for the location of a specific teacher -- and asked for the teacher by name. He was armed with a shotgun that he made no effort to conceal.

Word quickly reached the teacher about the student for him, and the fact that he was armed. At that point, the teacher exited the school immediately, which Robinson called "the most important tactical decision that he could have made. He left the school in an effort to encourage the student to also exit the school."

Robinson added that one student, later referred to as "she," was shot by the suspect. The student was initially thought to have confronted the gunman, but Robinson believes that report was inaccurate, and that the student just happened to be unfortunate enough to have been in the vicinity.

The injured student was transported immediately by Littleton Fire & Rescue, Robinson went on. He said she was in serious condition and undergoing surgery.

A second individual was also shot, but Robinson described that wound as "very minor."

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation will assist the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, Robinson said, "to process the crime scene, collect evidence and do the work to come to a final conclusion of why and how this happened." In addition, he said law-enforcement assets are being deployed "across the south metro area, talking to people who know the suspect or have some association with him."

In Robinson's words, the school was evacuated "methodically and very deliberately." Initially, students were sent to Shepherd of the Hills Church, which is very near the school, but the facility was quickly overwhelmed. At that point, a second site -- Euclid MIddle School -- was designated for additional evacuees. Also, Robinson noted that a "crisis intervention team available for staff and students of Arapahoe High School" was being assembled, and it would be available as long as needed.

A moment later, Superintendent Murphy made a few brief remarks before Governor Hickenlooper stepped forward. Hickenlooper reiterated the previously issued statement included below in its entirety, but he also noted the irony that Robinson had just announced his retirement in the context of praising the authorities for their efforts.

In a question-and-answer session with reporters that followed Hickenlooper's comments, Robinson noted that a "device" had been found in the school. Originally, this item had been described as a Molotov cocktail, but that had not been confirmed by the bomb squad at the time of the press conference, Robinson said.

In answering another query, Robinson said that the student made it "quite a ways" into the school; his body was found in a classroom, where it appeared he had fatally shot himself. In contrast, no law enforcement weapons were discharged during the incident -- and there is no indication at this point that the incident's timing, coming one day before the first anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, was a factor in what happened at Arapahoe High.

Thus far, Robinson said, it appears that "the shooter was the lone actor in this tragic event," but that can't be stated definitively until the investigation concludes. Law enforcement will remain at the scene throughout the rest of the day and evening, with the intersection nearest the school likely to remain closed until after 10 p.m.

In the meantime, Robinson lamented "these tragic episodes where people feel they have to even up the score with a weapon."

Continue for our previous coverage of the Arapahoe High School shooting, including photos and video.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts