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Colorado girl dies from gunshot to head in campus shooting

English.news.cn   2013-12-23 03:22:27            

By Peter Mertz

LITTLETON, CO, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- A 17-year-old high school girl is dead, ending an eight-day fight for her life after sustaining a shotgun blast to the face by a disgruntled fellow student last week in a suburban Denver high school.

Littleton Adventist Hospital said injuries to Claire Davis " were too severe" and listed her death at 4:29 p.m. local time Saturday (2329 GMT). "The most advanced medical treatments could not prevent this tragic loss of life," the hospital's Facebook page posted.

On Sunday, hundreds of distraught students and parents stopped by a homemade shrine to Davis at Arapahoe High School south of Denver to pay their last respects to the slain junior, who was described as a sweet girl who loved horses and the English boy band One Direction.

Her family issued a statement Saturday night: "Although we have lost our precious daughter, we will always be grateful for the indelible journey she took us on over the last 17 years - we were truly blessed to be Claire's parents. The grace, laughter and light she brought to this world will not be extinguished by her death; to the contrary, it will only get stronger."

Davis' life was ended by Karl Pierson, 18, who on Dec. 13 burst into the 2,229-student high school armed with a 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition strapped to his body, Molotov cocktails and a machete, police said.

In an 80-second rampage, Pierson shot Davis, who was "huddled near a door," at point blank range, then set off an incendiary device before running to the school's library, according to police, who said Pierson's "revenge" target was the librarian and debate team coach Tracy Murphy who had disciplined him in September.

Although Davis appeared to be a random target, Pierson planned more carnage at the school, indicated by five separate letters and numbers written on his arm with a black marker revealing his plan of attacking five classrooms in the school, according to Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson.

After firing three more rounds inside the library at the fleeing coach, Pierson killed himself with a blast to the head as the school's armed security officer closed in to stop him.

Police arrived on the scene 14 minutes after the attack began and vacated students en masse in an orderly, room-by-room procedure.

Pierson purchased the shotgun legally the week before the attack and bought 125 shells the day of the shooting, Robinson said, crediting prompt, defensive actions by school officials and teachers for saving lives.

Arapahoe teachers had locked doors to their classrooms, turned off lights and clustered students against concrete walls and away from doors and windows, as gunshots boomed in the school.

Local schools have adopted emergency procedures for such attacks after the notorious 1999 Columbine High School massacre, 10 miles (16 kilometers) away, where Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and one teacher in a shooting rampage before killing themselves.

"Last week was truly a paradox in that we lost our daughter, yet we witnessed the wonderful love that exists in the world through the tremendous outpouring of support we received," the Davis family said.

Pierson's parents issued a statement last week.

"We cannot begin to understand why Karl did what he did," Barbara and Mark Pierson said. They also offered prayers "for the entire Arapahoe High School community, as we know your lives are forever changed by this horrific event."

Editor: yan
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