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Hospital: Teen who was shot at Colo. school dies

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) - A suburban Denver high school student who was shot in the head by a classmate died Saturday afternoon, hospital officials said in a statement.

Claire Davis, 17, was in critical condition after being shot at point-blank range at Arapahoe High School on Dec. 13. Friends and well-wishers had posted prayers online and raised money to help pay for her medical care.

"It is with heavy hearts that we share that at 4:29 p.m. this afternoon, Claire Davis passed away, with her family at her side," the statement from Littleton Adventist Hospital.

"Despite the best efforts of our physicians and nursing staff, and Claire's fighting spirit, her injuries were too severe and the most advanced medical treatments could not prevent this tragic loss of life. Claire's death is immensely heartbreaking for our entire community, our staff and our families."

Karl Pierson, 18, shot Davis, who just happened to be sitting nearby with a friend as Pierson, armed with a shotgun, ammunition strapped to his body, Molotov cocktails and a machete, entered the school and headed toward the library. Davis appeared to be a random target, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson has said.

Pierson likely intended to track down a librarian who had disciplined him, but Robinson said Pierson's arsenal suggested Pierson intended to hurt many others at the school just 8 miles from Columbine High School.

Pierson set off one of the incendiary devices and fired five shots before killing himself just one minute and 20 seconds after entering the building. He knew a sheriff's deputy assigned to the school was closing in, Robinson said at a news conference.

Senior Chris Davis, who is not related to Claire Davis, said she loved horses, had a lot of friends and always seemed happy. Chris Davis, whose locker is next to Claire's, helped organize a fundraising effort for her family.

Students held vigils for Davis after the shooting. Typical was a story told by classmate Maggie Hurlbut.

"One time I remember I was upset in the hallway, and she came up to me and she just - it was like, 'Hey Maggie, I know we don't know each other well but are you doing OK?' And I told her yeah, and she was like, 'Anything you need, I'm here for you,'" Hurlbut said. "Again, that's who she is, and she just wants to take care of others, and that was really just a good representation of her character and who she was."

Gov. John Hickenlooper visited Davis and her family at the hospital and had asked for prayers.

Sheriff Robinson called Davis "a young woman of principle" and "an innocent young lady."

Pierson's original target was believed to be a librarian who coached the school's speech and debate team. Pierson was a skilled speaker and debater on the team. The librarian, whose name was not released, had disciplined the teen in September for reasons that haven't been disclosed. Robinson said Pierson had made some sort of threat against the librarian in September.

"We are looking into that, to the degree that it was understood, and then what interactions or interventions took place," the sheriff said.

The librarian was able to escape the school unharmed, Robinson said.

Pierson legally purchased his shotgun at a local store a week before the shooting and bought the ammunition the day of the shooting. Anyone 18 and older is allowed to buy a shotgun in Colorado; only those over 21 can legally buy a handgun.

Pierson, whose parents were divorced, lived at least part of the time with his mother in a higher-end neighborhood in suburban Highlands Ranch.

The Arapahoe shooting came a day before the one-year anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., attack in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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creativeminds916 December 23 2013 at 3:41 AM

My sincere sympathies to the Davis family. I am so very sorry for your loss. May God comfort you and give you strength.

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Robert & Lisa December 22 2013 at 11:54 PM

This is another reason to give the money for our childrens education to the parents to send their children to the school of their choice instead of being forced to attend the governments schools that are unsafe and lacking in good education. We spend more money than any other country in the world and yet we are 17th out of the top 17 industrilazed nations in quality of education.

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opnyde December 22 2013 at 2:34 PM

I live in Colorado. The denver post had the story of Claire's death in the paper today. There was a quote from the mother of one of the students that said "The thing that bothers me the most is that we have kids killing kids for NO reason". That statement is wrong there IS a reason ! People might consider it NOT A GOOD Reason. I say there is almost always a REASON. To say that there is NO reason just gives a good acuse for not looking at the REAL reason this has been happening. I believe I truly know what that reason is but no one will listen to my theory.

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muffin December 22 2013 at 2:29 PM

Prayers to the family. I was so worried about the anniversary of Sandy Hook. I told several that something would happen and that all schools would have to be extra diligent.Locking all doors would have helped somewhat, but someone hellbent on getting in would not be deterred. I was upset, too, about having the students file out in single file, hands raised, and being frisked after the shooting. As for the poster who stated that nothing like this happened when he was young. Surely he knows that world has changed in ways that no one ever could have expected. Instead of dwelling on that, we need to prepare for what is ahead. ALL SCHOOLS must be diligent about intruders. Our world will never be like the Norman Rockwell little town settings we like to fantasize about. We are forever changed--like it or not.

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tseidel9 December 22 2013 at 2:17 PM

I lived in Aurora for many years, my son went to this school! I am so very sorry for everyone's loss!!! I am grateful we moved away from there. I feel SAFE where I currently live. My hope is for grandchildren....This issue NEEDS to be resolved! I not anti gun, but if you own one, lock them down!! This is not an NRA issues this is a "gun owner" issue, this is not a video game, it's real life, and if we take the guns away from responsible gun owners, the criminals will still have them! PLEASE for the sake of OUR CHILDREN, get your head out, and WAKE UP!!
My heart goes out to all the families who lost their children to this type of violence. SENCELESS!

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ROY S. MALLMANN December 22 2013 at 2:11 PM

It is so sad when this happens. Maybe they could have taken the threat the shooter made to his teacher more seriously as that was a red flag. Normal people do not threaten others and in particular their teachers. Now to the anti-gun liberals, the shooter was a very opinionated socialst with leftist values so please stop the right wing bigotry and face the facts. This shooter had some underlying conflicts in his behavior that were missed. I know that I will not be popular saying this but I sincerely think they should raide the age tp purchase any fire arm to 21 as well as the age to get a driver's licence and return the voting age to 21, unless said person is in the military. The largest cause of teen death is auto accidents and are a thousand fold greater than gun deaths. Also black teens are dying on a regular basis in Chicago, New York , and other urban areas. This has to end. It is not gun control, it is a lack of criminal control.

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wadejeffords December 22 2013 at 2:09 PM

It seems to me that the easiest thing to do is raise the legal age for owning a gun. Maybe 28 or 30?
Increasing the age would allow for the most part, responsible adults to carry and weed out people with violent backgrounds or mental illness. I guarantee that if any of these murders have lived a few more years, they would have never dreamed of killing another person.

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havingfun December 22 2013 at 1:58 PM

Heaven now has a very beautiful loving angel

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Jack Adler December 22 2013 at 1:54 PM

I think she saved many lives...R.I.P. Claire...

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byjack007 December 22 2013 at 1:45 PM

So the right wing gun nuts/ bullies murdered another school girl...How many little ones did we lose ay Sandy Hook, at Columbine, at the Amish School Massacre (2006)? Not to mention the Batman theatre shooting....lets count...26+12+10+12....SIXTY DEAD.....Now....1 More Innocent. That's 61.
It's not a popular opinion, but I say the US Constitution must be changed (amended) that the 'right to bear arms' is forever canceled....and the right wing gun nuts be....stripped 'bare naked'....of all firearms.....let them fight for themselves with fists... Many of us ' weak liberals' are waiting.

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