The parents of Claire Davis, the teenager killed during the Arapahoe High School shooting on December 13, have forgiven the young man who killed their daughter. They also asked that the public be willing to forgive the shooter since "he didn't know what he was doing."
"My wife and I forgive Karl Pierson for what he did," Michael Davis said at a memorial service on Wednesday. "We would ask all of you here and all of you watching to forgive Karl Pierson. He didn't know what he was doing."
Pierson entered the high school seeking revenge on a teacher but instead shooting Davis point-blank. She died a few days later, and since then, her family has been relatively quiet about her life and their feelings toward the situation and Pierson. At the memorial service, though, they made themselves known.
Police and some media outlets have refused to use Pierson's name out of respect for Davis and hoping not to encourage copycats by making him famous.
"The young man that shot Claire had a name. His name was Karl Pierson. He allowed himself to become filled with anger, rage and hatred. The fact is that Karl was so blinded by his emotions he didn't know what he was doing. Claire was a gift to her mother and me and although we desperately wanted to hold onto this gift, we are learning to accept the fact that it was time to return the gift to the giver," Michael added.
Pierson's parents issued a statement soon after Claire's death and said they were "heartbroken" and sending their prayers to the Davis family and the Arapahoe community.
The Denver Foundation established a fund in Claire's name on December 16; all proceeds will go to support mental health care, anti-bullying programs and other needs chosen by the Davis family.
"Her influence and light is ours to keep and we will not let death take this from us," Michael concluded.