"He was just an old guy who came on a mission, and I think he got what he wanted," 16-year-old male student Cassidy Grigg said while making the rounds of the television talk shows Thursday.
"I think he just went because he knew he wasn't going to come out alive," Grigg said on CBS News' The Early Show.
Other than that, not much is known yet about Morrison, 53. He wore a hooded sweatshirt and a backpack. He was living in his vehicle, Sheriff Fred Wegener said Thursday morning, but had a Denver address. Morrison had no known connections to the Bailey area.
"The motive at this time still remains a mystery," Wegener said.
At first, Morrison talked directly to hostage negotiators. Then he would communicate only through his six hostages, and then, after he had released four of them, he stopped talking at all.
Wegener defended his decision to have the SWAT team storm the Platte Canyon High School classroom.
"My decision was to wait and possibly have 2 dead hostages," the sheriff said. "We have confirmed he did traumatize and assault our children," and Wegener said the assaults were "sexual in nature."
Based on that information, "This is why I made the decision I did, we had to go save them."
Morrison shot one of the hostages, Emily Keyes, 16, in the head, then killed himself. Keyes later died at a hospital.
"Being a sheriff in a small community, knowing all the parents, knowing the kids — my daughter graduated last year, my son's a junior here — it is very difficult. Because I'd want whoever was in my position to do the same thing. And that is to save lives," he said.
Many of the first responders at Platte Canyon were also the first on the scene six years ago at Columbine. Law enforcement in this tiny mountain town refuse to discuss a motive but say although they'd trained for this kind of thing they never expect it to play out in their tight-knit community.
"I was just praying that we would do the right thing," said Wegener, who himself had a son in the school.
"Any time their's a school shooting, most Americans recall the horror of Columbine. That's true in this community less than 40 miles away," said CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers, who covered the 1999 school shooting as well.
"The images are similar, frantic parents waiting for word on their kids," Bowers said. "You may remember in Columbine, law enforcement were criticized for not storming the school sooner. That may be with why they took action earlier this time."