Colorado School Shooter Had Bizarre Notes Written On His Body Outlining Large-Scale Attack

Colorado high school shootingREUTERS/Evan SemonStudents gather and reunite with their parents at a fast food joint across from Arapahoe High School.

The 18-year-old who entered a Colorado high school carrying a pump-action shotgun, a bandolier of shotgun rounds, a machete, and three Molotov Cocktails and shot a classmate on Friday had scrawled a Latin phrase and his plan of attack on his body the day of the shooting, according to a press release from investigators.

Karl Pierson used an “indelible marker” to write the Latin phrase “Alea iacta est,” which means “the die has been cast,” on the inside of his forearm.

He also wrote five letters and numbers on his arms that correlate with the library where he killed himself and five specific classrooms located in that area. Investigators believe this indicates that he planned to attack areas of the school other than the library.

During a press conference Saturday, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said Pierson planned to harm more people than he did. He committed suicide in the school library after a school resource officer confronted him, according to NBC News.

Claire Davis, a 17-year-old student at the school, is in critical condition after Pierson shot her in the head.

Pierson’s initial target was reportedly a faculty member at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., according to investigators. The faculty member was able to get out of the school after someone alerted him that Pierson was looking for him.

Pierson legally purchased the shotgun used in the attack in Colorado.

The full press release is copied below:


On December 13, 2013, just before 12:33 P.M., a lone and armed individual entered the north entrance of the Arapahoe High School. The individual, armed with a .12 gauge pump action shotgun, immediately randomly fired the weapon upon entering the high school and then fired a second time, causing serious injury to 17 year old Arapahoe High School student Claire Davis. The shooter fired the weapon three additional times, without causing injury to students, faculty or staff. The shooter died as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot while inside the Library/Media Center of the high school.

The investigation into The Arapahoe High School shooting has determined that the shooter entered the high school armed with a .12 gauge pump action shotgun, and made no effort to conceal the weapon from the view of others. In addition to the shotgun, the shooter also brought three (3) functional molotov cocktails, a machete in a canvas scabbard and more than one-hundred 20-five (125) rounds of assorted types of (steel-shot, buckshot and slug) shotgun ammunition into the school. The shooter carried numerous rounds of shotgun ammunition in two bandoliers that were worn across his chest and waist, while the remaining items were carried in a backpack worn by the shooter. Although it currently appears that the shooter acted alone, the on-going investigation will include consideration of any individual who may have provided any form of assistance regarding the tragic incident.

While examining the shooter’s body, with the assistance of the Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office, investigators determined that the shooter had used an indelible marker to write a phrase in Latin on the inside of his forearm. The Latin phrase is “Alea iacta est,” which translates to English as “The Die Has Been Cast.” In addition to the Latin phrase, the shooter had also written five separate letters/numbers on his arm, numbers which correlate directly with the identification of the Library and specific classrooms located in the immediate area of Library/Media Center of the Arapahoe High School. The letters/numbers written on the shooters arm is an indicator to investigators of the shooter’s plan. Teams of Sheriff’s Office Investigators will attempt to determine the relevance of the list of numbers written on the shooter’s arm to specific classrooms, while closely evaluating if the occupants of those classrooms may have also been targeted for harm by the shooter.

The investigation into the December 13, 2013 shooting at Arapahoe High School continues. The robust and on-going investigation into the Arapahoe High School shooting is being conducted in a deliberate and methodical manner. Additional investigative resources from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are assisting with the vast responsibilities associated with the complex investigation.

Additional information will be provided as details are available.

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