Guns

Arapahoe School Shooter Karl Pierson Had 'Strong Beliefs About Gun Laws'

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Denver school shooter Karl Halverson Pierson, 18, had strong beliefs about gun laws, according to a classmate. On his Facebook page Pierson reportedly made fun of Republicans.

Pierson opened fire at Arapahoe High School on Friday with a shotgun. According to classmates, he was upset with his debate coach, Tracy Murphy.

"He had very strong beliefs about gun laws and stuff," junior Abbey Skoda, who had class with Pierson during her freshmen year, told The Denver Post. "I also heard he was bullied a lot."

On his Facebook page Pierson wrote "you republicans are so cute,” according to the Denver Post. He also posted an image that read: "The Republican Party: Health Care: Let 'em Die, Climate Change: Let 'em Die, Gun Violence: Let 'em Die, Women's Rights: Let 'em Die, More War: Let 'em Die. Is this really the side you want to be on?"

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Saturday the comments were removed.

Friends described Pierson as geeky and smart. They said he was into politics.

"Only those that could cope with his personality became close with him," said one student.

Multiple students told the Los Angeles Times that Pierson got into an argument with the coach about changes he wanted to make to the team. Pierson was booted from the team. In September he was suspended from school for making threats against the coach.

The team co-captain Joe Redmond said that Pierson wouldn’t consider rejoining the team, saying that he still hated Murphy.

Redmond said Pierson told him, "Apparently you get suspended for threatening to kill a teacher."

Pierson was allegedly shouting the coach’s name when he opened fire. Murphy escaped and fled the school building.

Investigators say that the Murphy leaving might have saved lives, taking the danger with him.

Pierson turned the gun on himself. It is unclear where he obtained the gun.

One girl who was shot is in critical, but stable condition Saturday. Two other students suffered minor injuries, and it is unclear is they were caused by the gun.

Sources: New York Daily News, Denver Post, Los Angeles Times