A TEENAGER who may have had a grudge against a teacher opened fire with a shotgun at a Colorado high school, wounding two students before killing himself.
Quick-thinking students alerted the targeted teacher, who quickly left the building.
The scene unfolded on the eve of the Newtown massacre anniversary, a sombre reminder of the ever-present potential for violence in American schools.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson identified the shooter on Friday night as 18-year-old Karl Pierson.
The shooter entered Arapahoe High School armed with a shotgun and looking for a teacher he identified by name, Sheriff Robinson said.
“(The teacher) knew he was the target and he left that school in an effort to try to encourage the shooter to also leave the school,” the sheriff said. “That was a very wise tactical decision.”
One of the wounded students, a girl, was taken to hospital in serious condition. The other student suffered minor gunshot-related injuries.
Two suspected Molotov cocktails were found inside the school, the sheriff said. One detonated but no one was injured.
Within 20 minutes of the report of a gunman, officers found the suspect’s body inside the school, Sheriff Robinson said.
Students were seen walking toward the school’s running track with their hands in the air, and television footage showed students being patted down.
Authorities concluded that Pierson had acted alone.
“He had very strong beliefs about gun laws and stuff,” junior Abbey Skoda, who was in a class with the alleged shooter in her freshman year, told The Denver Post .
Thomas Conrad, who had an economics class with the gunman, described him as a very opinionated Socialist.
“He was exuberant I guess,” Conrad told The Denver Post.