One hurt in Colorado school shooting as US marks Sandy Hook anniversary

December 15, 2013 - 10:45:57 am
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in a candle lighting yesterday in Washington to remember the 20 children and six adult school employees killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town, Massachusetts, one year ago.
CENTENNIAL, Colorado: Police yesterday were looking into the motive of a student who opened fire at a Colorado High School, severely wounding a teenager before apparently killing himself, as the US state sought to understand the latest in a series of shootings. 

Karl Pierson, 18, entered Arapahoe High School in a Denver suburb around midday on Friday brandishing a shot gun and asked fellow students about the location of a teacher. He then shot a 15-year-old girl who was nearby, a county official said.

He was later found inside a classroom with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. The teacher, who quickly fled the school, was unharmed.

Fellow students said Pierson was a smart and likeable member of the school’s track team and debate club.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said detectives were investigating “revenge” as a possible motive, but did not elaborate, though investigators believed the youth acted alone.

Police said they knew of no prior discipline problems.

“I believe the shooter knew that deputy sheriffs were immediately about to engage him, and I believe that shooter took his life because he knew that he had been found,” the sheriff told a news conference.

He said a firebomb-like device was detonated inside the school by the suspect, but a second such incendiary device did not go off and was rendered harmless by authorities. Nearby businesses were evacuated as dozens of police arrived at the scene with guns drawn. They never fired their weapons as they pursued the gunman and evacuated the school.

Colorado Governor John Hickenloopercalled the shooting an “all-too-familiar sequence, where you have gunshots and parents racing to the school and unspeakable horror in a place of learning.”

One year later, the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, still evokes raw emotion and sadness. 

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, 20, shot his way into the school he had once attended and murdered 20 first-graders, all aged 6 and 7, and six adults. Before heading to the school, he  killed his mother, who had legally purchased the guns Lanza used that day.

Newtown officials say the town wanted to be left alone on the anniversary. Some of the victims’ families have encouraged those moved by the shooting to mark the day by performing an act of kindness in their own communities. 

At the White House, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama observed a moment of silence after lighting 26 candles to honour those lost at the school. 

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