CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBSDC/AP) — A Denver-area high school student shot two students before fatally shooting himself, a Colorado sheriff says.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said Karl Pierson entered Arapahoe High School in Centennial, which has more than 2,000 students according to CBS Denver, around noon Friday with a shotgun.
The student was reportedly looking for a teacher he identified by name. The teacher immediately left the school when he learned the student was looking for him, Robinson said.
The shooter then shot two students, one of whom is in serious condition at a hospital. The other is also hospitalized, with a minor gunshot wound. It was initially believed the student in serious condition confronted the shooter, but Robinson now says that wasn’t clear.
Students and faculty were evacuated shortly after police responded to the school with their hands up in a single file line. As each filed past law enforcement they were patted down and then allowed to put their arms down, CBS News says.
Robinson said the student is believed to have acted alone. Authorities also found a possible Molotov cocktail at the scene and are examining the device.
President Barack Obama has been briefed on the shooting, but has yet to make a statement.
The school is located about eight miles from Columbine High School in Littelton, the scene of a mass shooting in 1999.
The shooting also came a day before the first anniversary of the school massacre in Newtown, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Tracy Monroe, who had step-siblings who attended Columbine, was standing outside the high school looking at her phone, reading text messages from her 15-year-old daughter inside.
Monroe said she got the first text from her daughter, sophomore Jade Stanton, at 12:41 p.m. The text read, “there’s sirens. It’s real. I love you”
A few minutes later, Jade texted “shots were fired in our school.” Monroe rushed to the school and was relieved when Jade texted that a police officer entered her classroom and that she was safe.
Monroe was family friends with a teacher killed in the Columbine shooting, Dave Carpenter.
“We didn’t think it could happen in Colorado then, either,” Monroe said.
Follow WNEW on Twitter.
(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)