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17-year-old Colorado school shooting victim remains in coma

Colorado School Shoot_Cham64012152013.jpg

December 14, 2013: Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson holds a picture of Claire Davis during a briefing, at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo. Davis was shot by 18-year-old shooting suspect Karl Halverson Pierson at the school on Friday before he took his own life. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

A 17-year-old student at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo. remained in a coma Sunday evening, more than 48 hours after she was shot at point-blank range by a fellow student, 18-year-old Karl Pierson. 

The parents of Claire Davis issued a statement Sunday saying that she was in stable but critical condition. 

"The first responders got Claire to the right place, at the right time, and the doctors and hospital staff are doing a wonderful job taking care of her," the statement read. "We appreciate your continued good thoughts and prayers, and will provide updates as her condition improves."

The Davis family statement was echoed by Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, who visited Claire at Littleton Adventist Hospital Sunday. 

"We all have to keep Claire in our thoughts and prayers," Hickenlooper told CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Davis was the only victim of Friday's shooting, which authorities said lasted approximately 80 seconds and ended in the gunman's suicide. Authorities believe Pierson may have been nursing a grudge against teacher Tracy Murphy — a librarian and head of the school debate team — since September. Pierson was on the team and had been disciplined by the librarian for reasons yet to be disclosed, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said, adding that Pierson had threatened Murphy in September and came to the school Friday intending to harm him and inflict numerous other casualties.

A statement from Littleton Public Schools Sunday asked that the privacy of Murphy and the students be respected, and added that a plan was being finalized to allow students to collect their belongings from the school later this week. 

Hickenlooper and Robinson both credited security procedures adopted after the 1999 massacre at nearby Columbine High School for helping put a quick end to Friday's shooting. 

"It's nice to see how well the system worked. It's a remarkable improvement from before. This could have been much, much worse," Hickenlooper said.

After the Aurora, Colo., theater shootings and the Newtown, Conn., school shootings, Colorado's Democrat-led legislature this year implemented gun control measures that limited the size of ammunition magazines and instituted universal background checks. Colorado also appropriated more than $20 million for mental health hotlines and local crisis centers.

The measures were intended to address violence associated with so-called assault rifles, not shotguns that are widely owned for hunting and sport.

Hickenlooper acknowledged the latest shooting raised again questions about guns and violence. But he noted that Pierson "didn't seem to exhibit any signs of mental illness," and he cautioned that the investigation was in its early stages.

"Everyone in Colorado is asking the same questions," the governor said. "On the one hand there is a deeply held conviction for the freedoms laid out in the Second Amendment, but also a very, very strong conviction about the safety of children and the safety of the community."

Friday's shooting, he said, "defies any explanation, and you know we are searching for some pattern."

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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