The parents of Karl Pierson, the student identified as the shooter at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado last Friday, have broken their silence, and many of those who witnessed the attack are beginning to share their stories as well.
The shooter’s parents, Barbara and Mark Pierson, issued a statement saying that they are “shattered by the tragic events that took place.”
Their statement went on to express their well wishes for Claire Davis, the 17-year-old student who was shot in the head during Friday’s attack, and her family. They stated that they have been, and will continue to, pray for her full recovery. They also offered prayers for “the entire Arapahoe High School community” and acknowledged that all those touched by the “horrific event” have been affected by it forever. The couple went on to request that the public honor their privacy as they grieve the loss of their son Karl and attempt to gain some understanding of what he did.
Just as the Colorado school shooter’s parents are speaking out, so too are several witnesses sharing their stories about their experiences during the attack.
Matt Bowers, a student at the school, has reportedly explained that he penned a note to his family on his arm during the shooting as he was hiding in a classroom with fellow students. Bowers feared that his life was in imminent danger. He reportedly wrote “(f)amily, I love you all so much” on his forearm and also drew a cross with the words “I’m here now” to indicate that he was heaven if he had been found dead after the attacks. Bowers has said that the event has changed his whole perspective on life.
Another student present at Arapahoe High School during Friday’s shooting was Ian Conboy. Conboy reportedly began texting his father from inside the school during the incident and continued to text and assure his father of his safety every five minutes thereafter until they were reunited.
Additional students have come forward to describe hiding in classrooms, students running through the halls yelling “get out! get out!” and teachers working to enforce the lockdown procedures put in place and rehearsed since the nearby 1999 Columbine High School shooting.
The school shooting began at 12:33 p.m. on Friday, December 13 when Karl Pierson entered Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado armed with a shotgun, a large amount of ammunition, three Molotov cocktails and a machete. It has now been reported that he had written plans to attack five areas of the school on his arm along with the Latin phrase for “The Die Has Been Cast.”
Just 80 seconds from the time he entered the school, the attack ended when Karl Pierson turned his weapon on himself and took his own life. During those 80 seconds, Pierson fired a total of four shots, one of which was the shot that critically injured fellow-student Claire Davis. Davis is reportedly in critical but stable condition, but remains in a coma. One other student received treatment for injuries resulting from the attack, but was quickly released.
Amid the shooter’s parents remarks and the stories already shared by a number of witnesses are sure to be many, many more. Details will no doubt continue to emerge as investigation into this Colorado school shooting is ongoing.
By Michele Wessel