In Friday’s shooting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Co., the presence of an armed deputy sheriff on regular duty was the key factor in preventing more deaths and injuries, says the Christian Science Monitor. As soon as he heard the first of five gunshots, the officer and two school officials raced toward the commotion shouting their presence and ordering students and staff to follow the school's lock-down protocol. As a result, said Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, heavily-armed Karl Pierson, 18, realized he was about to be confronted by an armed officer, and he took his own life.
Pierson was armed with a pump-action shotgun, two bandoleers filled with shotgun shells, a machete, and a backpack carrying three Molotov cocktail-style bottles of flammable liquid, one of which he ignited. He intended to confront his debate coach, librarian Tracy Murphy, with whom he had argued. Pierson fired random shots, hitting Claire Esther Davis, a 17 year-old senior, at close range. Davis, who is in critical condition, was s not an intended target but “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the sheriff said.