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Colorado gunman kicked off speech team; no loner

Published: Tuesday, June 30 2015 3:51 p.m. MDT

Michael Vartuli, left, and Chris Davis, both seniors at Arapahoe High School, hang a sign asking for donations for the victim of the shooting at the school in Centennial, Colo., early on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.  Investigators were working to find out what motivated a teenage gunman to enter his suburban Denver high school armed with a shotgun looking for a specific teacher a day earlier.  The 18-year-old shooter critically wounded a 15-year-old student and was later found dead in the school, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  (David Zalubowski, Associated Press) Michael Vartuli, left, and Chris Davis, both seniors at Arapahoe High School, hang a sign asking for donations for the victim of the shooting at the school in Centennial, Colo., early on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Investigators were working to find out what motivated a teenage gunman to enter his suburban Denver high school armed with a shotgun looking for a specific teacher a day earlier. The 18-year-old shooter critically wounded a 15-year-old student and was later found dead in the school, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (David Zalubowski, Associated Press)

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A student who walked into his suburban Denver high school with a shotgun looking for a specific teacher was a skilled debater with strong political views who recently was kicked off the speech and debate team.

Eighteen-year-old Karl Pierson critically wounded one student before apparently killing himself Friday at Arapahoe High School as police moved in.

Steve Miles is an English teacher who taught Pierson as a freshman. He says the school librarian who ran the speech team cut Pierson from the team, but he didn't know why.

Authorities haven't identified Pierson's target, but students say it was the librarian.

Fellow students describe Pierson as outspoken and smart — not a loner. They also say he held communist views.

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