A US student who was shot in the face by a teenage gunman in the latest episode of gun violence in American schools remains in a coma, in a critical condition, the Colorado governor says.
“We all have to keep Claire in our thoughts and our prayers,” said Governor John Hickenlooper, who said he had visited 17-year-old Claire Davis’ devastated parents.
“I just can’t imagine what they’re going through, unspeakable.”
An 18-year-old Arapahoe High School student identified as Karl Pierson shot Davis point blank in the face with a shotgun Friday during a shocking rampage that officials said lasted 80 seconds.
He also wounded another student before taking his own life.
Hickenlooper said Pierson had been kicked off the school’s debate team and apparently bore a grudge toward the team’s coach.
“He didn’t seem to have mental illness, he had a lot of friends, he was outspoken,” Hickenlooper said.
But he said there have been several reports of Pierson being bulled, an underlying theme in past school shootings.
The Arapahoe High shooter entered the school with many rounds of ammunition, a machete and three Molotov cocktails, and he had purchased his gun legally at a retail store under Colorado law on December 6, authorities said.
Hickenlooper praised the quick response of “a deputy sheriff in the building who immediately ran towards the trouble.”
The latest tragedy took place just a few miles from the sites of last year’s Aurora cinema shooting that left 12 people dead and scores wounded during a Batman movie screening, and the 1999 Columbine bloodbath in which 13 were killed as well as the two student gunmen.
The incident came a day ahead of the first anniversary of the Newtown shooting in which Adam Lanza gunned down 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The Newtown attack briefly reignited the US gun control debate, triggered every time there is a major shooting, but attempts to pass tougher laws have made little headway in Congress.