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1 year later, father of Colorado school shooter remembers son while community mourns victim

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DENVER — The father of a student who killed a classmate at a suburban Denver high school before committing suicide posted a newspaper obituary for his son on the anniversary of the shooting, saying he forgives his son and wants him remembered as a person "who lost his way for a moment."

The Saturday obit came the same day a candlelight vigil was held for 17-year-old Claire Davis, the girl slain in the attack.

Mark Pierson told The Associated Press that he didn't mean to disrespect the Davis family but wanted his son, Karl, to also be remembered for the good things he did in life. He said he did not post an obit immediately after last year's shooting because he felt it was not the appropriate time.

In the obituary, he called his son "a young man full of hope and promise, who lost his way for a moment, but now is found. I love you, I miss you, I forgive you." It was signed, simply, "Dad."

"I thought this was a nice tribute. He did some things right in his life. Everyone remembers Karl for the last 80 seconds of his life," Mark Pierson said Saturday. He said he also wants his son remembered as an Eagle Scout who had leadership qualities and a lot of potential.

Police say the 18-year-old targeted his debate coach when he entered Arapahoe High School with a shotgun, machete, homemade bombs and 125 rounds of ammunition on Dec. 13, 2013. He shot Davis before turning the gun on himself. The coach escaped unharmed.

PHOTO: Arapahoe High School students and supporters hold a candle light vigil during a one year remembrance ceremony on Clarity Commons, named for student Claire Davis, who was killed in a school shooting one year earlier, at Arapahoe High School, in Centennial, Colo., Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. The previous December, Karl Pierson, a senior at Arapahoe, entered the school with a shotgun and fatally shot Davis before killing himself. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Arapahoe High School students and supporters hold a candle light vigil during a one year remembrance ceremony on Clarity Commons, named for student Claire Davis, who was killed in a school shooting one year earlier, at Arapahoe High School, in Centennial, Colo., Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. The previous December, Karl Pierson, a senior at Arapahoe, entered the school with a shotgun and fatally shot Davis before killing himself. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Davis' parents couldn't be reached for comment about the obituary, but her father spoke at the Saturday night vigil for Claire Davis. The event took place on a grassy area in front of Arapahoe High School and was attended by about 400 people.

"It's been a year since any of us last talked to Claire. Or saw her smiling face and her twinkling eyes. And her bouncing walk," Michael Davis said.

"I want to thank all of you for coming out tonight and for being with us. And for sharing with us a few minutes to remember Claire and to make this a bit of a healing moment for everybody," he said.

Gov. John Hickenlooper also spoke at the vigil, as did the school's student president.

School officials said they did not punish Pierson after he shouted a death threat against the coach months earlier in a school hallway. The coach was so fearful after the encounter he considered resigning, according to police reports.

But administrators deemed Pierson low-risk, despite a threat-assessment that showed a history of violent behavior and angry outbursts.

The district has declined to comment about the way it responded to the shooting, the threat or Pierson's behavioral issues.

Nearly a year later, investigators released portions of Pierson's diary in which he described himself as "a psychopath with a superiority complex" and indicated he was exacting revenge for being teased in elementary school. He said he planned the attack to start a conversation about teasing.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2013, file photo, Parker Semin, a 2011 Arapahoe High School graduate, prays at a makeshift memorial bearing the name of student Claire Davis, who was shot by Karl Pierson, a classmate during school three days earlier in an attack, in front of Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo.  The father of Pierson posted a newspaper obituary for his son on the first anniversary of the shooting. The Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 obit came the same day a candlelight vigil will be held for Davis. Mark Pierson said he didn't mean to disrespect the Davis family but wants his son, Karl, remembered as a good son who lost his way for a moment.. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)
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