- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 12, 2014

LITTLETON, Colo. — He called himself a “psychopath” in his secret diary and vowed revenge for slights dating back to elementary school before the Arapahoe High School shooter killed another student and himself last year, according to a sheriff’s report released Friday.

Law enforcement and school officials said that 18-year-old Karl Pierson, furious over being demoted Sept. 3 as a debate team captain, had become a discipline problem at school and threatened the debate coach, Tracy Murphy, before the deadly Dec. 13 rampage.

In his diary, Pierson also cited “elementary school teasing” and described himself as a “psychopath with a superiority complex” who wanted to commit “mass murder and be in a place of power where I and I alone are judge, jury and executioner.”

But two psychiatric evaluations conducted during the fall semester — a threat assessment by a school psychologist and a mental health evaluation done by therapists at a private behavioral clinic — determined he was a low-level threat, according to the 37-page report summary.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said at a Friday press conference that the gunman acted alone and that there were no plans to pursue charges against those who had evaluated him.

“There will be a question of what was missed and was there some other criminal liability for any of the other mental health professionals who dealt with the shooter in this case. I don’t see that,” Mr. Brauchler said.

Pierson had bragged in his diary that he had lied during the evaluations, saying, “Let the record show I lied through my teeth through the test” at the private center.

“Despite the involvement of people in the mental health field, the shooter, like so many others, obfuscated his true thoughts and his goals and his intent,” Mr. Brauchler said.

Pierson shot 17-year-old Claire Davis in the hallway and fired two shots at Mr. Murphy before lighting a Molotov cocktail and then killing himself in the library with a shot to the head. Pierson was being pursue by James Englert, an armed Arapahoe County sheriff’s deputy assigned to the school.

Davis died at the hospital several days later. Her parents released a statement Friday saying once again that they had forgiven the shooter and describing him as “an adolescent that allowed himself to become filled with confusion and darkness.”

“The result was a terrible tragedy for all of us,” said the statement by Michael and Desiree Davis, who attended the press conference.

While Pierson’s diary wasn’t discovered until after the shooting, a number of teachers and students interviewed later said they were worried about his threats and erratic behavior. His grades had dropped and he was acting out in class. One teacher said he was calling other students “stupid.”

Mr. Murphy told investigators that another teacher had heard Pierson threaten to kill him after he was removed as a debate team captain for inappropriate behavior. Several students said Pierson had told them in December he had a shotgun and a machete, and even showed them photos, but that he didn’t disclose his plans.

Pierson was found with a shotgun, a bandolier of ammunition, a machete and three Molotov cocktails, according to the report.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide