Arapahoe County, Colo., Sheriff Grayson Robinson holds a picture of Claire Davis during a briefing Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.(Photo: Ed Andrieski, AP)
ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (USA TODAY) -- A stunned community had a prayer vigil
Sunday in support of Claire Davis, 17, who was clinging to life after
being shot in the head Friday by a fellow student at Arapahoe High
The horse lover, babysitter and "great student" remained
in critical condition at Littleton Adventist Hospital. Her school
cancelled Monday classes.
Colorado's governor asked the nation Sunday for prayers for Claire.
John Hickenlooper credited security procedures adopted after the 1999
massacre at nearby Columbine High School for helping put a quick end to
"We all have to keep Claire in our thoughts and prayers," he told CBS' Face the Nation.
parents "are remarkable people. I feel so directly their suffering. ...
They raised this beautiful young woman who had her whole life ahead of
her," Hickenlooper told the Associated Press.
Clary, a classmate and friend, said horsemanship is a big part of
Claire's life. She spends long hours training her horse, Graphite,
very sweet girl. She's really smart, really bright," said August, who
has known Claire since freshman year. He had government class with her
"She wouldn't hurt a fly. She's just a really great girl, and we hope she's gonna be OK."
was "a funny kid," August said. "He's smart. He's in the Eagle Scouts, a
very intelligent kid. Did not like being wrong. If you're arguing with
him ... that's a feat if you win an argument against him."
of students, parents and community members filled a local park Saturday
night for a candlelight ceremony, expressing shock and pain at the
tragedy that unfolded at the Centennial school.
"It didn't feel
real until you see everybody" at the vigil, said Summer Skrzypek. "She
was a good friend and was always there if you needed her."
sang the school fight song and reminded each other that "Warriors"
stick together. They shouted out words of encouragement, held a moment
of silence and prayed.
Claire's neighbors were trying to process news of the shooting. Walter Bushnell told The Denver Post that Claire's grandmother had told him Claire was the victim.
"I just thought, 'Oh, my God, it's her' - it's just tragic," Bushnell said. "I'm just in shock."
Matt DeNero, who lives across the street from the Davis home, told the Post she was outgoing, a good athlete and great student.
"We've watched her grow up since she was 2," DeNero said.
Saturday, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson called Davis "a
young woman of principle. She is a young woman of purpose.... She was an
innocent victim of an evil act of violence."
Robinson said Karl
Pierson, 18, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot, entered the school
armed with a shotgun he bought legally, rounds of ammunition strapped
across his body, a machete and a backpack with three Molotov cocktails.
in less than two minutes, fired five shots and ignited one of the
Molotov cocktails before running to the back of the school library and
killing himself, Robinson said. Robinson credited the quick response of a
sheriff's deputy assigned to the school with stopping a mass murder.
shooter knew the deputy was in the area," Robinson said at a news
briefing. "We believe that the response ... was absolutely critical to
the fact that we did not have additional injury or deaths."
Murphy, a librarian and debate team coach, was believed to have been the
gunman's target. Pierson was unable to find Murphy, who coached Pierson
and had disciplined him in September. Robinson said Claire's shooting
appeared to be random.
The Davis family issued a statement
Saturday saying Claire "has severe head trauma as a result of a gunshot.
She needs your continued prayers."
The statement thanked family, friends, the community and the
equestrian community for their outpouring of love and support, as well
as the school for their continued support of the students and teachers."
The family also thanked first responders and medical personnel for "saving our daughter's life."
Meagan Fitzgerald and Laurie Cipriano report for KUSA-TV in Denver. Contributing: Carolyn Pesce, the Associated Press.
Check out some of our most read stories from 2013:
#shortyellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights
Terrorism Warning: Memo says terrorists practicing dry-runs on Florida flights
Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children
Courtroom apology: Woman apologizes for flipping off judge
Weird ice: Strange, giant circles appear on frozen pond
Controversial Club: College student organizes "White Student Union"
CFO Trouble: School administrative chief in trouble over her porn sex blog
Warning Shot Wife: Mother gets 20 years for firing warning shots at abusive husband
Science Arrest: Teen girl arrested over science project explosion
Wait, WHAT?? Dog shoots man in the leg with a handgun
Popular photo galleries:
Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers
Travon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos
Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant
Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV ***warning graphic***
Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole
Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here
Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here