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Arapahoe High security guard: Warnings about shooter ignored

This Sept. 7, 2013 photo shows Arapahoe High School senior Karl Pierson as he poses for his class picture in Centennial, Colo. Pierson shot fellow student Claire Davis at the school on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, before killing himself. Mary McGregor, AP

Cameron Rust, a security guard at Arapahoe High School who says he was placed on leave following a fatal Dec. 13 shooting on the Colorado school’s campus, wrote in a Facebook post Thursday that an 18-year-old gunman had been a “known threat” to the school for “a long time” and that school officials could have done more to prevent the tragedy.

Rust wrote that Karl Pierson had been caught looking at guns on the Internet in the school cafeteria, had written “questionable symbols” on his school work and was known to have “uncontrollable anger outbursts.”

Police say that on Dec. 13, Pierson entered through a door of the school that was propped open and fatally shot student Claire Davis before killing himself. Investigators believe his intended target was a speech coach who had disciplined him.

“Claire Davis should not have died on December 13, 2013. Karl Pierson should not have died on December 13, 2013. Claire did not have a choice, Karl did,” Rust wrote on Facebook group page entitled "Bring Back Cameron Rust AHS" which appears to have been started by a student at Arapahoe High and has garnered over 1,000 members.

“Is Arapahoe High School Administration responsible for Karl’s choices? No! Are they responsible for their lack of action? Yes!”

Rust claims he and other security guards at the school expressed concern to school administrators prior to the Dec. 13 shooting in regards to a death threat allegedly made by Pierson directly to speech coach Tracy Murphy, as well as “symbols” the teen drew on his math tests and his recurring use of the word “comrade.”

Rust also says the security team reported to school officials that Pierson was looking up guns on his computer in the school cafeteria and that the “administration came back and told the security team it was Karl’s personal computer and he can do what he wants.”

He said many of the complaints regarding Pierson were not recorded in the teen’s school file, and lists multiple incidents he says proves his point that school officials ignored warnings and acted inappropriately.

“'We will read about that kid [Karl] in the news someday, it just won’t be at Arapahoe,’” Rust quotes school officials as saying in one of his points.

Rust also says Pierson was sent home due to an “anger outburst to another teacher” on the day before the shooting.

Following the shooting, Rust says he was placed on paid leave and was banned from the Arapahoe High School campus.

“I was told the reason I was being treated differently [than other security guards and staff] was because I would not hug and walked away from Principal Pramenko during the Monday, December 16th staff meeting, and at Claire Davis’s Memorial Service,” Rust wrote.

He says he refused to hug the school’s principal Natalie Pramenko because of the prior knowledge he claims she had that could have prevented the shooting.

Rust says he feels the real reason he was banned from the school is because of the warnings he had detailed to school administrators prior to the incident.

“When the security team documented certain activity and issued to school Administration, we were reprimanded and told not to put things in writing. We were told not to bring so many problems or issues to the Assistant Principals as they are too busy,” Rust wrote.

“… The school had been warned, they did not do enough,” he wrote.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said in a statement obtained by CBS News' Crimesider Friday that Rust has been interviewed by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office and that investigators plan to re-interview him.  Robinson did not directly address the claims made by Rust in his online post.

Crimesider also contacted Superintendent of Littleton Public Schools Scott Murphy as well as Arapahoe High School Principal Natalie Pramenko seeking comment on Rust’s accusations. The phone calls and e-mails were not immediately returned.


  • Stephanie Slifer

    Stephanie Slifer covers crime and justice for CBSNews.com.

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