Police have identified Karl Pierson as the suspected gunman in Friday's Arapahoe High School shooting in Centennial, Colorado. Described as an 18-year-old senior, cross-country runner and a star of the debate team, it was his involvement in the latter extra-curricular activity that may hold the answers to his violent act. That's because Pierson went to his school armed with a shotgun looking for his debate coach, Tracy Murphy, who had allegedly kicked him out of the debate team. 

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Murphy, who's also the school's librarian, escaped unharmed. But a 15-year-old girl, an innocent by-stander who had nothing to do with anything, wasn't as lucky. Pierson shot her and left her bleeding in the hallway before running away to the classroom where he was found dead from an apparent self-inflected gunshot wound. 

The girl, who hasn't been identified, is in critical condition after undergoing surgery last night. According to the chilling details that have started to come out from the terrifying ordeal, a friend of the victim ran into a yoga class, her clothes drenched in blood, crying hysterically for help and alerting others that there was a shooter in the school. I can only imagine the terror those kids and their teacher must have felt at that moment. 

Beside the shotgun, which he made no attempt to hide as he entered his high school, Pierson also brought two Molotov cocktails with him. He detonated one, while the other one was "rendered safe" when police arrived at the scene. 

Police and a bomb squad searched Pierson's home--which happens to be about about half a mile from my own home--Friday night looking for clues that may help them figure out more about the gunman and his motive.

Meanwhile, a fellow student who'd known Pierson since freshman year, told CNN, "He was the last person I would expect to shoot up a high school. He was honestly incredibly humble and down to earth. He was a little geeky but in a charming way." 

So, what happened? Unfortunately, we may never find out. And, even if we did, it would never change the utter terror that was felt by thousands of unsuspecting students and their desperate parents once again--and on the eve of Sandy Hook's first anniversary, no less.

Image via thedenverchannel.com

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About the author

Roxana A. Soto is a Staff Writer for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a first-grader and a preschooler. She loves languages, traveling and good food – especially if it's cooked by someone else.

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