Karl Pierson is the student who had a grudge against Tracy Murphy, the school’s librarian, and reportedly because Mr. Murphy demoted him in position on the speech and debate team.
By all accounts, Karl Pierson is the last person any of his students would have suspected to be the shooter. He was said to be humble and quiet, and “geeky but in a cute sort of way.” Karl Pierson also ran on the school’s track team.
But it was at speech and debate where he excelled, reaching the level of third best in “national extemporaneous debate” in America. So, this demotion, regardless of the reason, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
But even with that, Karl Pierson was said to have has a recent violent outburst. He went out to get a drink of water, came back, found the door locked, and pounded on it with such force, it scared the members of the group that were meeting at the time.