The Friday attack on Arapahoe High School continues to reverberate not just across the Denver area but nationally, thanks to coverage from major media outlets across the country.
The latest? Barbara and Mark Pierson, the divorced parents of shooter Karl Pierson, who took his own life after critically injuring fellow student Claire Davis (still comatose in critical but stable condition), have issued a statement in which they say the terrible events have left them feeling devastated.
As we've reported, Pierson entered the school on Friday afternoon armed with a shotgun, three Molotov cocktail-like incendiaries, a machete and additional ammunition. He was looking for Tracy Murphy, librarian and coach of the debate team, with whom he'd had some "controversy," according to Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson.
During his search for Murphy, who'd left the building in what Robinson called an important tactical decision, Pierson fired off blasts from his legally purchased shotgun, with one of them striking Davis, seventeen, in the face in what appears to have been a random act. She might not have survived without the quick action of Arapahoe High school resource officer James Englert, who has not yet been made available to the media -- and the attempt by some reporters to track him down at his home earned a harsh rebuke from Robinson.
The sheriff's office has now returned custody of Arapahoe High to the Littleton School District. Classes have been canceled for the remainder of the week leading up to winter break, but students have been congregating there to leave messages expressing support for Davis.
In the immediate days after the shooting, Barbara and Mark Pierson stayed out of the limelight. But they've now released the following statement:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Claire Davis and her family. They, and she, have suffered unimaginably, and we pray for her full recovery. We also pray for the entire Arapahoe High School community, as we know your lives are forever changed by this horrific event.
"As parents, we loved our son Karl dearly and we are devastated by what happened Friday. We cannot begin to understand why Karl did what he did. We ask for privacy during this unthinkably difficult time and hope that you will respect our need for time to grieve."
Mark also spoke to the Denver Post, telling the paper that he and Barbara had sat through "multiple disciplinary hearings" with Arapahoe officials, presumably over the aforementioned issue with Murphy, who Mark referred to as "the key player" when it comes to better understanding what motivated their son -- an assertion sure to raise the hackles of some observers.
In the meantime, the Littleton Adventist Hospital Facebook page has posted the following photo....
...and this message:
Thank you all for your comments and messages for Claire and the Davis family.
If you would like to make a donation, the Davis family has requested that the following organizations be supported:
• Local youth mental health awareness and support programs through the Littleton Hospital Foundation at www.littletonhospitalfoundation.org/gift or by calling the foundation office at 303-715-7600.
• Donations of funds or goods to TLC Meals on Wheels on Claire's behalf. You can find out more information about TLC Meals on Wheels here: http://tlcmealsonwheels.org/donate/.
Additionally, cards for Claire and the Davis family may be dropped off at the main entrance of the hospital and placed in the "Cards for Claire" box at the Information Desk. Cards may also be mailed to the hospital, at:
Claire Davis c/o Littleton Adventist Hospital 7700 S. Broadway Littleton, CO 80122
The family asks that no flowers or gifts be delivered or mailed. Thank you for your continued good thoughts and prayers for Claire.
One more thing: The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office has designated an e-mail address for those with additional information about the shooting: AHSInfo@arapahoegov.com.
Here's a 7News report synopsizing recent developments.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our News archive: "Karl Pierson's online image and more fallout from Arapahoe High shooting."