School gunman Karl Pierson liked debate, running, but acted "weird" at times

Story highlights

  • Colorado school gunman Karl Pierson liked debate and cross-country running
  • But he alienated peers with talk about communism and winning every argument
  • "He was pretty geeky and nerdy, but in a charming way," friend says
  • One neighbor describes him as bright but a social misfit whose peers ridiculed him
To many of his neighbors, Colorado school gunman Karl Pierson was the wholesome boy next door who liked achievement and ran on the cross country team. He even worked on an Eagle Scout project two years ago.
To schoolmates, Pierson was known for his outspoken intelligence that served him well on the debate team. But at times, he acted "weird" and alienated peers with rants about communism and his aggressiveness to win every argument, they said.
One neighbor described him as bright but a social misfit whose peers ridiculed him. His mother had transferred him from another high school because of the mockery and altercations, the neighbor said.
Pierson, 18, opened fire Friday inside Arapahoe High School, where he was a senior. Claire Davis, 17, was wounded in a point-blank shooting, and Pierson, who apparently didn't know Davis, then killed himself in the library, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson told reporters Friday.
"He was a really smart kid. He was intelligent. He knew how to speak; he really did. I don't think I ever won an argument with that kid," junior Daylon Stutz said in the school parking lot on Saturday, when students were allowed to retrieve their cars.