Students return to Arapahoe High for first time since shooting

Students checked outside Arapahoe H.S

Students evacuate Arapahoe High School on Dec. 13, 2013.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Students returned to Arapahoe High School for the first time Thursday since a senior there opened fire on classmates last week.

Juniors and seniors were allowed back to the school for a few hours to collect belongings left behind as they evacuated on Dec. 13. Freshmen and sophomores will take their turn on Friday.

“Everyone was already tearing up as they get checked in,” junior Colin Newton said. “I can’t imagine staying in there any longer than what it was.”

“It just brought  back all the memories,” senior Colton Smith said. “Like, I heard gunshots again.”

Students and staff still seemed to be coming to grips with the fact that Karl Pierson, 18, attacked the school with a pump-action shotgun, apparently over a punishment he received from debate coach Tracy Murphy, police said.

Senior Claire Davis, 17, was critically injured when Pierson shot her in the head at close range.

“I walked by the bench that Claire was sitting on and it was gone,” said senior Mysti Tatro. “Walking by the library and seeing it all boarded up, that was the hardest part. Just imagining (the shooter) walking through there again.”

“I’ve known that this kid has had anger issues, and I’ve always been a little weirded out by that, but I mean I never thought that anybody would be capable of killing or shooting at someone,” Smith said.

Classes at Arapahoe are canceled for the rest of the year.