A Complete Chronological Report
By the C.R.T.F. Webmaster
Written June 11th, 1999
Updated July 14th, 2000
At 11:21 a.m. Mountain Time on April 20th, 1999, a total of five calls were first received by the Jefferson County Communications Center of the Sheriffs Office. Loud noises were reported by local residents living near Columbine High School, located within Jefferson County, Colorado. It is at this time, as reported by eye witnesses and the press, that at least two armed people entered the southeast Columbine High School parking lot. They reportedly threw a few devices that exploded in the parking lot, and shot at the school. A student named Brooks Brown was allegedly warned by the assailants to leave the area. Brown said one of the shooters was unloading duffel bags from his car, which likely contained bombs and ammo.
"Students tell [Channel] 9 News two people came into the school wearing long, black trench coats and face masks. They were carrying shotguns, grenades and pipe bombs."
"I saw the two students take their guns out of black duffel bags, nod to each other, and then the shooting began outside the school next to the library," said Kim Blair.
"They proceed[ed] inside, to the school cafeteria, shooting as they walk, then upstairs to the library, still shooting", reported the Associated Press. Other students, such as Rachel Scott, were shot outside the cafeteria by a gunman located on the "upper stairs". "Two gunmen were on top of the stairs at the entrance of the school," when they began shooting said The Denver Post.
Some have said the gunmen began their shooting in the southeast school parking lot next to the cafeteria. There it is said they unloaded their duffel bags full of weaponry from a nearby vehicle. However, others say they arose from a hill nearby and began shooting at the cafeteria. "By 11 a.m., [the gunmen]...came over the small hill toward Columbine's cafeteria. Denny Rowe, a 15-year-old sophomore, was among the first to see them coming. Sitting on a knoll not far from the cafeteria entrance, he watched as one of the two took off his coat to reveal what looked like grenades."
A mass exodus of at least 1,500 students fled the school as soon as the shooting began, while others hid in classrooms within the school for hours. The assailants stalked the halls early on in the shooting, blasting away innocent people. One student was killed in cold blood on a sidewalk near the back entrance to the cafeteria. In upwards of thirty students were terrorized by the shooters in the large library of the school, with nearly a dozen killed in cold blood. "I heard maybe 50, 60 shots in the library and they chucked four-five pipe bombs in the room," said student Evan Todd.
Lindsay Elmore, a 17-year-old junior at Columbine, was one of the survivors of the killing zone in the school library. At one point, the gunmen apparently ran out of ammunition. "They started yelling that they needed new clips," Elmore said. "I think they had their stuff outside or something because they started yelling about it and then they left."
Conflicting reports suggest the shooting ended at 11:46 a.m., 12:00 noon, 12:05 p.m., 12:15 p.m., 12:30 p.m., slightly after 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. or 3:45 p.m Mountain Standard Time.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office now claims that the gunmen were dead at 12:05 p.m. or 12:08 p.m. "[Police officer] Smoker said shooting from inside the school ended after police fired en masse on the second floor of the library, where the killers had taken shots at rescue workers and police. Police accounts put that shootout sometime before noon." It is true that a shootout took place, and it is possible the gunmen were killed in this shootout. However, eye witness accounts place gunmen inside the school well after 12 noon.
Two of the shooters, who were seniors at the school, were found dead in the library later that day, and identified as the now infamous Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. "When he looked at me, the guy's eyes were just dead", said student Nick Foss of one the shooters.
Fourteen students, including the shooters themselves, and one teacher, died during the attack. A total of 15 deaths. About 25 students and faculty were seriously injured.
The shooters reportedly used one 10-shot Hi-Point model 995 carbine rifle, one Intratec AB-10 (TEC-9) pistol, and two thirty year-old Savage 12-gauge shotguns. These low-quality weapons, as a whole, would be considered an unsophisticated arsenal. The sheriffs office claims that at one point, Eric Harris's gun "jammed" as he ran back inside the school after exchanging fire with an officer. Pipe bombs and at least two 20 lb propane bombs were also used by Harris and Klebold. Click here for quotes from students indicating that "hand grenades" were also used.
Were other shooters involved?
Rumors, eye-witness testimony, official statements, and some evidence suggests other gunmen were involved. However, since ballistics reports from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation find no evidence of other shooters, the issue has become a moot point for the sheriff's office and the news media.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says that 853 "pieces" of ballistic evidence was recovered during the investigation. If 853 actual shots were fired, such might indicate the presence of other gunmen. CRTF has also received reports that 1100 rounds of ammunition were fired, but this remains unconfirmed. Officials currently say Harris and Klebold fired about 200 rounds.
TIME Magazine reported on May 3rd, "...the killers fired off an estimated 900 rounds, using two sawed-off shotguns, a 9-mm semiautomatic carbine and a TEC-DC 9 semiautomatic handgun." The higher the number of rounds fired, the more likely other gunmen were involved.
CRTF has credible reports that .223 casings (or casings of similar size) were found in the school, along with different weapons, including an MT 64 50 assault rifle. Witnesses reported hearing the fire of fully automatic weapons throughout the day within the school. Some witnesses reported seeing "machine guns" in the hands of the gunmen. Click here to listen to a Real Audio file of police and dispatchers mention "large caliber" shots fired near the school. There were shell casings from a high caliber weapon found on the roof of the school where a "sniper" or gunman was seen early on.
Investigators would argue that the above could be explained away due to SWAT team "cover fire". It seems odd to us, however, that a SWAT member would be on the roof of the school firing -- or inside of the school firing off bursts of fully automatic fire around numerous students who remained inside. In fact, we can find no plausible explanation as to why any SWAT team member would fire any rounds inside the school, especially if the gunmen were dead by 12:05 p.m. Yet, shots were heard throughout the day.
CRTF can report with great confidence that dozens of witnesses saw three or more gunmen. We have gathered these reports from sources in the Denver area, through news articles and from statements from officials. Below are the reports that can be fully verified at this point in time.
"Many mysteries surround the most lethal school shooting in history. Just how many members of the Trenchcoat Mafia might have been involved? Several eyewitnesses told police and NEWSWEEK that they had seen a third gunman."
Obtained from an ABC News interview (likely from Nightline, April 20th), one of the students pictured here stated the following, "Then we looked up, then one of the gunmen turned towards us and started shooting, so we just fell down to the ground and we just sat there for a while and we turned our heads and once we knew they were done shooting we stood back up and saw the kid in the white on the side of the school start throwing some kind of bomb on the top of the school. It was a grenade or some kind of bomb."
Found in a CNN article published April 20th is confirmation of the above quote, as well as further confirmation that a third accomplice was spotted, "Another male student who said he was about 100 yards away from the shooters said there were three of them, including one fellow student he recognized and another boy dressed in white 'throwing the bombs on top of the school -- some kind of grenade or something.' That account was supported by another student interviewed on local TV."
"Beyond the two dead gunmen, students described seeing another youth dressed in a white shirt throwing bombs that looked like soda cans. A youth matching that description later was seen being led away by police," reported USA Today.
"We were in the crossfire between the Science Hall and the Choir Room," said student Adam Foss (left photo) on CNN on the day of the shooting. The conversation continued with the journalist:
"And you saw the guns opening fire, and did you get a quick glimpse of at least how many...?"
"I, ah, how many guns?"
"No, how many guys."
"I think three, three guys, and maybe twelve gauges, I think. I don't know, maybe smaller guns."
Click here for the Real Video clip of this above exchange. We can also email you this clip. Foss later confirmed, face to face, with an investigator in Denver that he did in fact see three gunmen. Due to the smoke inside the school, he could not see their faces or recall whether or not any of them looked like Harris or Klebold.
Special thanks to a fellow investigator in Denver for providing the following audio file. The file contains the eye witness testimony of three girls ("Heather, Amber, and Shelly") who were present in the cafeteria, or "commons" area, as the shooting began. They related their story to Mark Koebrech of Channel 9 News TV on April 20th. Click here for the full Real Audio file. (We can also email you this file). When Koebrech asks if anyone saw the shooters, a girl responds, "We saw three guys with guns...*pause*...and then we saw a really tall guy in a black trench coat." In the audio file the girl seems to indicate that a fourth assailant (the "black trench coat") was present. The other girls present seemed to agree with the statement and made no objections. The investigator who provided us this file also went to the school and talked personally with the girls. They confirmed that four gunmen were seen, but expressed little interest in pursuing the matter further.
"At first we thought it was fireworks, then we saw them shooting. He saw us and then he started shooting at us. Then a guy in a white T-shirt threw two hand grenades on the roof. ...", said Jake Apoeaca, 16, according to an AP article written by Robert Weller, dateline 4/20/99; 7:39 p.m. EDT.
The AP article continues:
"Three young men in fatigues and black trench coats opened fire at a suburban Denver high school Tuesday...A third young man was led away from the school in handcuffs more than four hours after the attack, and student Chris Wisher said: 'He's one of the ones who shot at us.'" (Chris Wisher has repeatedly told investigator John Quinn in phone interviews that he personally saw a third shooter on the scene and that friends of his saw a half-dozen trench-coated assailants with weapons -- see "John Quinn" section for more info).
"Police escorted one handcuffed young man away from the school. It was unknown why he was detained," said CNN. "We had three names, we've got two bodies that belong to two of those names up there, and the third name -- that person was not in the school," said Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone of the assailants.
"A young man identified by officials as an associate of two alleged gunmen," according to APB News, is pictured above in two high-resolution photos recovered by CRTF. The photos were found in the APB News archive on the Columbine shooting. We have received a report that this young man was video taped later in the day on April 20th exiting a white van at the Harris home in the company of Eric Harris's father, Wayne Harris.
An article from The Denver Rocky Mountain News on June 28th lends a clue as to the identity of the above pictured person. The article focuses on the parents of Nate Dykeman, who was a friend of Klebold and Harris. Dykeman's step-father, Victor Good, complained of the tragic events of April 20th, and is quoted as saying, "We had already watched on television as police led Chris Morris away in handcuffs." Chris Morris worked at Blackjack Pizza with Klebold and Harris and was a direct member of the Trench Coat Mafia. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing by officials.
A Denver Post report says assailant Eric Harris removed his trench coat later on in the shooting thus revealing a white T-shirt he was wearing. The newspaper said, "Harris had taken off his trench coat sometime earlier, and was wearing a white T-shirt. Klebold, who wore a vest and ammo belt over his dark T-shirt, had dropped his trench coat onto the library floor." The white T-shirt does not explain away the numerous reports of a third-gunman, however.
The Rocky Mountain News reported, "Adam Thomas, 16, a freshman, said he was outside the lunchroom area when two people in trench coats started shooting. 'They dropped their trench coats and pulled out what I thought were AKs. He shot my friend, Michael Johnson, in the leg,' Thomas said." AK-47s do not look similar in any way to a Hi Point 9mm or TEC-9.
The Rocky Mountain News also reports in another story, "Sophomore Amanda Stair was in the library when she heard a commotion in the hall. 'We hid under different tables,' Stair said. 'Two guys in black trench coats walked in. They said get up or they would shoot us. I heard a lot of shots and one guy put his gun down on the desk I was under.'"
The above indicates: 1) the two shooters were outside near cafeteria first (as has been reported), removed their trench coats and shot for a while, then put their trench coats back on and went upstairs to the library; 2) that there were two sets of shooters, or a number of shooters, some with trench coats on, the others without.
Kim Sander is a mother of a student who had escaped early in the attack. During the massacre, at 12:10 p.m., Kim was interviewed on KUSA-TV, carried by MSNBC. During that interview Kim described what her daughter had just told her she had seen:
Kim Sander: "She looked up and saw a gunman in a black trench
coat with a very huge gun in front of him.... He had dark brown hair, thick, bushy
eyebrows and was very ugly. She said he was a white male. ..."
News Anchor: "Kim, did your daughter say if the gunman that she saw was a student at the school?"
Kim Sander: "She didn't recognize him as a student. No. Not as a student."
Both Harris and Klebold had light brownish-blond hair and did not have "thick, bushy eyebrows". This report suggests this gunman may have been someone else.
A source reported to us by way of email his observation from viewing the shooting on television, "I remember many students saying they didn't know who was responsible for the shooting, 'because the men were wearing masks.'" (Source name on file)
The following is a revealing quote from Newsweek explaining teacher Dave Sanders' heroics and ultimate demise. It appears Sanders, after seeing a gunman outside the cafeteria, run upstairs only to be confronted by Harris and Klebold. Who was outside shooting?
"More would surely have died had it not been for Dave Sanders, a popular business teacher and basketball coach. He was standing near the cafeteria doors when the first students went down. Sanders went running into the cafeteria shouting loudly: 'He's got a gun! Get down!' The urgency in his voice broke through the lunchtime din, and hundreds of students fell to the floor. There was a hail of gunfire, and Sanders and other teachers shouted at the kids to keep moving.
Instead of seeking safety, the 47-year-old Sanders ran upstairs toward the library and science rooms to warn other students. It proved fatal: he found himself face to face with Harris and Klebold. They shot him in the chest."
All of above material indicates clearly that other gunmen may have been involved. The sheriffs office subsequently confirmed those reports during the weeks and months after the shooting (see below timeline). However, since July of 1999, the office has dropped the "third gunman theory" and claims unequivocally that only two gunmen were present during the shooting due to CBI ballistics evidence.
Most of the students were unclear as to how many shooters there were or who the shooters were (they usually didn't say how many there were). Most reported seeing black trench coats, many reported gunmen wearing masks, others reported seeing Klebold and Harris.
According to a CNN report, a "school district official said school Principal Frank DeAngelis 'actually saw one of the gunmen and was able to push some students into a location to protect those students.' Jonathan Ladd, another student, said he heard a loud noise like an explosion and then gunshots. He said the shots were coming from the back of the school toward the school office." (Ed. note: The school's office is clear on the other side of the school in relation to the cafeteria and library area where the shooters' rampage was reportedly concentrated -- it has been confirmed that the school office received enormous damage and a window was shot out near the front of the school early on the shooting. This clearly incidates there may have been someone shooting near the front of the school).
Numerous people from around the country have reported to Mr. John Quinn and the CRTF webmaster that they saw a large, blue "NATO" truck located on the Columbine High School grounds at about 11:30 a.m. It was shown from a helicopter. The cameraman zoomed in and immediately the video feed was cut. One source told CRTF, "I remember seeing a large vehicle -- blue, black -- I remember it being dark in color, as for blue or black I am not positive regarding the color. However I do remember seeing 'NATO' on the truck and I remember the shield on the vehicle." The words "NATO" were possibly imprinted on a shield on the front of the vehicle.
Others reported seeing "NATO" SWAT personnel. A news video tape was sent by a source to Mr. Quinn which showed these men with "NATO" inscriptions in white on their uniforms/body shields. Quinn says the uniforms/shields do in fact appear to say "NATO", although the video is of poor quality.
As bizarre as the NATO reports are, we feel they are completely credible since dozens of people initially reported to John Quinn the same facts independently, and some facts that had not yet been released by Quinn were corroborated independently by various people. Whether the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was present seems very unlikely and remains unconfirmed.
Sgt. Mark Lewis of the Denver Police Department offered us this explanation, "...could it have been NTOA, which stands for National Tactical Officers Association?" The following web site offers an explanation per the NATO shields. A credible source also tells us that when viewing a Denver SWAT operation on TV in late 1999, completely unrelated to Columbine, he saw a large, blue truck with the letters "NATO" imprinted on the side. The truck was part of the SWAT operation.
According to ABC News, SWAT teams, at 12:00 noon, found "several explosive devices around the school". By 12:30 SWAT Teams were allegedly making sweeps of the school. Parents gathered around nearby Leawood Elementary School. Some parents later complained that SWAT teams didn't enter the school quickly enough.
"'It was not two hours before a SWAT team went in,' [Sheriff's spokesman Steve] Davis said," in response to questions about the slow response times of SWAT members. "Several other officers responded within three minutes, and the first SWAT team was in the building in about 20 minutes, Davis said. Efforts were slowed down by uncertainties about what was happening. A full-scale SWAT entry didn't occur until about 1 p.m., about a half hour after the shooting stopped." It is generally accepted that SWAT teams simply did not enter the school until 12:30 p.m. or thereafter. If they did enter "20 minutes" after the shooting began no lives were saved and no one reported a SWAT team's presence at that time.
"We had initial people there right away, but we couldn't get in. We were way out-gunned", said Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone. "Out-gunned" by two kids who couldn't aim? There are indications that officers were receiving return fire from each entrance of the school during the first hour of the shooting.
"Shortly before 1 p.m., a second volley of shots rang out. Officers explained they were shooting to keep the gunmen down as deputies made their way into the building." If the gunmen were dead by 12:05 p.m., who were the officers shooting at?
It must be noted that a bomb was detonated a few miles from the school earlier in the day before the shooting began. "The explosion of two backpacks a mile from the school 40 minutes before the shooting may have been linked to the tragedy." The Sheriff's Office later said that the bomb went off "three minutes" before the shooting began. The bomb went off a few miles away from the school and black marks remain on the sidewalk today.
Throughout the day it was reported by officials that 25 people were probably dead. That total turned out to be 15. A Denver Post article on April 21 stated, "'I've heard numbers as high as 25' deaths, said Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone, adding that 17 were confirmed." (17 were confirmed?) The article went on to say, "By 3:45 p.m., shots still rang out inside the school." "One male student said he and three friends grabbed 'all the kids we could' and hid in a very small room -- as many as 60 of them in all. 'Then, after that, we just had to walk out over all the dead bodies,'" said a CNN report. It must be noted that there were no official reports of deaths in the halls of the school. The only deaths occurred in the library, outside the school, and one in a science room. Therefore, how is it possible that those hiding in the "very small room" made their way out into the halls and had to "walk out over all the dead bodies"? It is possible if more than 15 people actually died. "Jonathan Vandermark, 16, a sophomore, said he passed three bodies in a stairwell as he and other students were rescued from the biology lab by a SWAT team," said The Denver Post on April 20th, indicating further that unknown bodies were seen inside the school. The Denver Rocky Mountain News reported, "Inside the school, Jonathan Vandemark's biology class turned over tables for protection. The 16-year-old saw the shooters set off flares inside the school, and smoke filled the halls. He and his classmates watched the television inside their classroom, and stayed there until a SWAT team ordered them out. They walked downstairs, past three bodies, bodies of students. Vandermark was sure of that: 'They still had their backpacks on,' he said...There were dozens dead in the halls of Columbine High School." Salon.com writer and Denver resident David Cullen reported on the 21st, "Colorado authorities lowered the death count from 25 to 16 Wednesday." CRTF would like to note that a witness told a Denver investigator that as he made his way through the halls of the school he passed bodies dressed in black "ninja" clothing.
The school was said to be "cleared" by SWAT teams by 4:30 p.m. A bomb was found later that night in a car and removed by SWAT teams. "Explosive devices were found in two or three cars near the school. Investigators are working to identify the owners of the cars and what their role was, if any, in the attack," said CNN.
"Investigators said they need at least two more days inside the school to collect crime evidence. All bodies finally were removed by 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The grim task was delayed in part because the killers spread live bombs around bodies", said The Denver Post.
On the same day of the shooting a gas line leak was reported at 8276 S. Reed St., the home of shooter Eric Harris. The Littleton Fire Department responded at 2:24 p.m. that day. "Live bombs with live triggers and lots of gas found, they will be standing by for the bomb squad to clear the home, hand lines laid out and have connected to a hydrant," the department reported. Spilled gas was found on the garage floor. A local neighbor reports sounds of "breaking glass" coming from the garage days before the shootings. The Denver Rocky Mountain News reported on the 21st that student Matthew Good, a neighbor, "...heard a lot of noise coming from the Harris garage over the weekend. 'It sounded like power tools and breaking glass,' Good said."
Newsweek reported further on May 3rd, "Matt Good, a 16-year-old neighbor of Harris's, says that in recent weeks the boys were always in Harris's garage, and last weekend they were loudly smashing glass; cops now say that was for the shrapnel in their bombs." Newsweek also said, "Police searching Harris's room last week found a sawed-off shotgun and pipe-bomb ingredients in plain view." Apparently, the Harris parents were unaware of this.
A lot of stuff was clearly visible and the parents should have known, Jefferson Country Sheriff John Stone said on April 24th. I think the parents should be accountable for their kids actions.
As for the two known shooters themselves, it appears Eric Harris,
who kept a diary detailing plans for the massacre, had strong opinions and heavily
influenced Dylan Klebold, who was considered quiet, unassuming and nice, though prone to
temper tantrums. The shooting itself had been planned at least a year in advance. Both
Columbine students "were ordered to perform community service work and attend an
anger-management seminar" after stealing $400 of electronic equipment from a van in
January 1998. The crime was considered a "prank" and both killers passed the
community service and anger diversion program with flying colors.
The students both worked at Blackjack Pizza near the school and spent time bowling. (In the early morning hours of April 20th, Harris and Klebold attended their bowling class, appeared dressed in normal clothing, and exhibited no signs of agression, according to news reports). Both were heavily involved in anarchist or violent material, as well as hard-core industrial rock music. Klebold was a baseball fanatic ("His hero was Roger Clemens," said friend Chris Hooker), and Harris played soccer and baseball. It was also reported that they hated "jocks" and athletes involved in sports, even though they were also involved in sports. They were both said to be racists, yet on Harris's web site, he explicitly states he is against racism and expresses his patriotic "love of country" and desire to serve in the military.
Many people report that the two students were very vocal about their desire to unleash a rampage upon the school. Students report that they were aware that something could happen on April 20th.
It is said that Harris improved his attitude during this last semester of school, and Klebold, just weeks before the shooting, had attended the University of Arizona with his father, and his father had placed a deposit for a dorm room; Klebold was expected to attended later this year. Many consider Klebold's parents to be excellent parents, while Harris's parent's background in parenting is less clear. Harris's father, Wayne, has an extensive military background. The Harris family has left Littleton.
"That's the scary part. He was talking about the future," said Nate Dykeman, friend of Harris, commenting on a conversation he had with him during prom night three days before the shooting. The USA Today article further explores indications that Klebold and Harris were acting in a normal, capacitated manner days and weeks before the shooting. Click here to read this article.
The Trench Coat Mafia was a clique of students that had formed at least two years before Harris and Klebold "joined" it. It was formed by a young man named Joe Stair. This 1998 yearbook image proportedly shows Chris Morris and Joe Stair.
Reports that prior warnings of the shooting were posted on AOL were circulated a few days after the shooting by the press and by journalist Matt Drudge. Click here for an excellent ABC News web page that features a full story and the AOL Profiles posted by suspected Trenchcoat Mafia members.
Johnathan Vandermark made revealing comments to NBC's Katie Couric later on that night about the "Trench Coat Mafia". He said, "They like to say they are bi-sexual, and are proud of it. They practice Satanic rituals, I believe, and walk around the school in black clothing, usually in a trench coat. They're clearly a gang. They don't move for people in the hall. They're not courteous to anybody. They'll bump you in the shoulder or something like that...they'll turn around and just give you a stare like they don't care, and what can you do to them? Kind of like they're above everybody."
Vandermark made other comments, this reported by USA Today, "[School officials] act as if they never knew that these people were around the school. They were obviously a gang and thought that they could change the world in the way that, I guess, they thought Hitler couldn't finish."
Before the shooting itself began on April 20th, school announcements
were broadcast through video to every school classroom before lunchtime began. At the end
of the announcement a cryptic message was relayed, "I bet you wish you weren't here
today -- 4-20 -- 4-20 -- 4-20."
"They obviously were very prepared", said Patrick Simington in reference to the cryptic message. Read the full story here.
Another student, Evan Todd, also said that a message showed up on the TV monitors earlier before the shooting that said, "Today is not going to be a good day." Who posted the message and was it in direct reference to the shooting?
On April 22, Jefferson County district attorney Dave Thomas said, "I think there is some evidence to suggest that other people were at least aware of what was going on and, as the sheriff (John Stone) indicated earlier, there are an awful lot of devices and this took a lot of time," reported the Denver Rocky Mountain News in a story titled "The nagging questions: Did others help?"
The report went on to quote U.S. Attorney Tom Strickland as stating, "I think we have to pursue vigorously, at least for the time being, the idea that there may have been other people involved at least in the planning and knowledge that this might occur. There were other people who are knowledgeable or seemed to be associated with this group of people. What we are a little bit unclear about is how all these devices got here and whether other people assisted them."
On April 23rd, according to a news report that day by Channel 9 News, Colorado governor Bill Owens toured Columbine High School and "emerged saying investigators were all but certain that the two gunmen had help from others. Police said security cameras may provide crucial evidence of a conspiracy. 'There are backpacks with bombs in there everywhere,' Gov. Bill Owens said. 'The officers in there are convinced there had to be more people involved. There's just too much stuff in there.'"
The report continues, "Officials returned to campus today to continue scouring for hidden explosives a day after the discovery of a powerful bomb made from a 20-pound propane tank heightened suspicions that Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, intended to destroy the school, and could have had help in assembling their arsenal. 'They may have had confederates,' said sheriff's Sgt. Jim Parr.
"Explosives expert Sid Woodcock said propane explosives of the type found are 'fairly sophisticated.' Just one bomb 'probably would have destroyed a good part of the school,' he said. 'These subjects were not only on a killing rampage,' said Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone, 'They were going to burn the school up.'
"Larry Bettendorf of the [B]ATF says the propane tank was rigged with a can of gasoline and an egg timer. He says the bomb was poorly designed and that may be why it never exploded. Or he said gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold may not have had time to set the timer. Bettendorf says the big question for now is how the gunmen got such a big bomb into the school." (source for all above material)
An ABC News report from April 23rd outlines clearly that the propane kitchen bomb was a real bomb. The sheriffs office now claims bombs were never found in the kitchen. "The large bomb that authorities found in the school cafeteria kitchen Thursday was a 20-lb. device attached to a propane tank that had shrapnel, including nails, attached to it. The bomb was set with an egg timer, matches and a model rocket fuse, said Lawrence Bettendorf, an ATF agent. When the timer went off, it would trigger the match, which would light the fuse and ignite a gas can next to the propane tank. The bomb would have been enough to seriously damage the school building, but not level it, authorities said. A bomb squad removed and safely defused the device Thursday."
(By May 7, the final word was that 60 bombs were found in and around the building. A total of 67 bombs has also been reported. As of June 2000, the number is over 90).
A student named Makai Hall refused to discuss with reporters some of the things he saw during the shooting rampage. Hall was injured in the library by shotgun fragments during the shooting. "The teenager explained why he was not willing to describe everything he saw and heard during the shooting rampage. 'People have asked me not to discuss some things. And some things I don't feel people should know,'" said Hall cryptically.
Commenting on a 20 pound propane bomb found inside the school kitchen, District Attorney Dave Thomas said, ''No one saw them carry it into the school and people did see them enter. So we have to explore how that device got into the school.''
Also on April 23rd, Sheriff's spokesman Steve Davis said, "We feel like there's an extremely good chance that there are more than two people involved." He also said, "It's a feeling from our investigators that the chances are very, very good that we have more than two people involved."
April 23rd Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Mark Pautler appeared on CNN's "Burden of Proof" (12:45 pm ET) and was asked if any witnesses had said they had seen more than two gunman, he answered: "I'm not at liberty to answer that question."
Also on the 23rd The Denver Rocky Mountain News reported the following:
One Columbine High School student and the parent of another said they had been questioned by police about a teenager suspected of lugging duffel bags of bombs into the school and fleeing before the assault that left 15 people dead and 23 wounded. The teen-ager disappeared, according to his friends, who are cooperating with investigators.
The Columbine student and the parent said investigators told them not to mention the third suspect or reveal his name.
"We cannot tell anyone who it is," the student said. "They don't know where he is."
She said detectives have interviewed the boy's family twice.
She said he was not present when Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fired on teachers and students.
"He left before it even happened," she said.
A bomb was also found "tucked away in the school kitchen late Thursday morning...fashioned from two 20-gallon propane tanks." (It must be noted that Jeffco spokesman Steve Davis, in a personal phone conversation with CRTF recently, denied that bombs had been found in the kitchen).
A construction worker said that about 10:40 a.m. Tuesday -- 40 minutes before the gunfire erupted -- he saw an older-model black BMW carrying four teen-agers about a block from the school.
The driver made a U-turn and drove off, followed closely by a tan sedan carrying two more teen-agers.
"It's unusual to see four young kids in a BMW," construction worker Roger Anderson said.
Anderson later said that he knew it was Klebold's car since he saw the BMW sitting in the school parking lot on television as the shooting unfolded. The Rocky Mountain News article continues:
One student insisted that a third teen was part of the attack.
The student, whose mother asked that he not be identified, said he was in the parking lot and saw two people wearing trench coats -- Harris and Klebold -- and a third teen-ager in a white T-shirt.
"The kid in the white T-shirt, he threw what looked like a grenade on top of the school, and then he turned and kind of smiled at the other two guys," the student said. (source for above material)
"It's kind of hard to go blazing into a school when you've got more than you can carry. It could be a third, it could be four, five, it could be six, it could be numerous", said Sheriff Stone of possible gunmen on the 25th. Also on the 25th The Denver Rocky Mountain News reported, "Officers were told there could be as many as six killers."
On April 26th, Sunday, Vice President Al Gore, wearing a black trench coat (click here for the picture), Governor Bill Owens, singer Amy Grant, Gen. Colin Powell, among others, attended with at least 70,000 citizens the memorial service in Clement Park next to the high school. (The Columbine Memorial Service Videotape can be ordered by calling Bayaud Industries at 303-830-0478. Cost is $37 and it runs 2 1/2 hours.)
Three teenagers dressed in fatigues were found near the school and quickly arrested on the day of the shooting. In a report released by CNN on April 28, "The three, according to [Sheriff John] Stone, said they had heard reports of the shooting on the radio. Stone said those comments were made before the radio report had aired. 'From my understanding from talking to the officers right at the scene, that is the alibi, or the statement that they had used: that they heard about this on the radio. And that was very early on into the investigation, which sparked my suspicion of these individuals. I have not been one to follow up with the investigations with these individuals to find out what had transpired since then.
"He said if investigators were 'satisfied these people just happened to be three innocent people in fatigues walking by a siege of the school, stranger things may have happened.' Stone also said the three teens named the gunmen before the names of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had been released. Stone also said a video tape from a surveillance camera in the school cafeteria was being examined. 'From what I understood from our investigators,' Stone told reporters, 'there is graphic information on there, and it was being sent to Washington, D.C. to the FBI lab to have this tape enhanced.'"
More of Stone's comments were revealed in an Associated Press article, dated the 28th. "They were in combat fatigues. They said they heard it on the radio. Well, it wasn't on the radio at that time. They are subjects of our investigation. We'll be going back to talk to these kids." Stone had felt the students were involved. He said, "There's too much stuff in there. You can't walk in there blazing with more stuff than you can carry." The AP article continued, "The three young men, who Stone said knew the gunmen and had previously been associated with their 'Trench Coat Mafia,' have maintained their innocence. Investigators tested them for gun residue after the shootings and found no evidence that they had fired guns. The Denver Rocky Mountain News identified the three as Matthew Christianson, Matt Akard and Jim Branetti. All three claimed to have heard of the slayings on the radio - and were able to name the gunmen - before the names had been released, Stone said. He said one had been expelled from Columbine High."
Stone also said, "[The gunmen] shot the hell out of the administration office, but apparently there was no one in there." The current "official story" does not account for Harris or Klebold making their way across the massive school to the administration office.
The AP article continues, "The sheriff also said the two gunmen initially tried to escape through three separate exits, and killed themselves only after being turned back by deputies' gunfire each time. Stone said a diary seized at the home of one of the killers indicated the gunmen planned to fly to Mexico or another country if they could escape, and kill themselves if they couldn't get out. 'They wanted to go to Mexico, or find an island, some place to get away from America, or maybe come out and hijack and crash an airplane in New York City,' he said, giving details from a diary that investigators have characterized as a sheaf of papers.
"Gary Sowell, 50, an employee at a Hugh M. Woods store in Littleton, told investigators he saw Harris and Klebold buy propane tanks, wire, screws, nails and duct tape - material believed used in the bombs. He also said he copied keys marked 'Do Not Duplicate' for the teens. Police have said they are searching for a missing set of keys to the school, which authorities speculate may have allowed the killers to carry bombs inside before the attack. 'I duplicated some keys for them, two sets of keys. On the keys it said 'Do Not Duplicate,'' Sowell told the Post. 'They brought in a set of five keys.'" (source for all of the above) (Sowell was then oddly arrested a few days later for "making a false report to authorities" and falsely claiming that he had seen the two gunmen. Authorities said inventory records showed he was lying and he was booked with $1,000 bonb. John Stone commented, Maybe this will slow down some of these crackpot calls that were getting. " [source] [source 2])
It is possible that the shooters gained access to the school the night before the shooting or on prom night over the weekend. A parent of two Columbine students told CRTF that a suspicious student -- not Harris or Klebold -- was seen outside the school the night before the shooting. At the time, the parent was unable to recall the name of this particular student.
On the night of the 28th, a hasty news conference was held by Sheriff Stone in an effort to "clear things up". Apparently, Stone was "dragged out of bed" by an official and driven to the news conference. It was then reported that the three above young men found near the school were no longer suspects. Officials said that Stone had been ill-informed when he made his comments on the three young men earlier that day. An updated AP article went on to say, "Initial reports that 25 were killed were eventually revised to 15. Investigators first said three gunmen were in the school, then changed that to two. Investigators said a girlfriend of one of the gunmen bought a handgun and a rifle used in the crime - and then on Wednesday said she actually bought two shotguns and a rifle."
Meanwhile, it emerged on April 29, in a report by CNN, among others, that Eric Harris was rejected by Marine Corps recruiters just five days before the massacre because he was on an anti-depressant medication known as Luvox. The drug, said the report, is most commonly prescribed to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder.
On April 29, in an article titled "Striker patches for igniting bombs suggest rampage carefully planned", the Denver Rocky Mountain News reported, "[The shooters] preparations even went down to wearing abrasive striker patches so they could ignite match head fuses on their pipe bombs with a stroke of the arm. More than 50 homemade bombs, some powerful and sophisticated, others crude and simple, exploded or were recovered in the investigation. Capt. Phil Spence of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department said the bombs were made of carbon dioxide canisters, galvanized pipe or metal propane bottles. Some of the bombs were more sophisticated, equipped with timing devices, such as one in a backpack that exploded near South Wadsworth Boulevard and Ken Caryl Avenue as a diversion minutes before the rampage. 'They may have been crude in some ways, but I saw one that blew a hole clear through a wall in the library,' Spence said."
On April 30th it was revealed that the Klebold family had been receiving "threats" after the shooting.
By May 1, the parents of Eric Harris, Wayne and Kathy Harris, refused to talk with investigators without immunity from criminal prosecution. Meanwhile, that same day, 8,000 people protested the National Rifle Association convention in Denver.
Also on May 1, the Sheriff's Department indicated that, "the two students blamed for the Columbine High School massacre apparently acted alone and it is not likely others will be charged in the attack", said a CNN report.
On May 3 students of Columbine began classes at Chatfield High School. Ten friends of Harris and Klebold were asked not to return to school for the remainder of the year. (source 2)
This same day, Mark Edward Manes is arrested for providing either Klebold or Harris with a 9mm pistol. Manes is said to have shown integrity throughout the shooting ordeal and had no prior knowledge the shooting would take place.
On May 5, "Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone reiterated his belief that Harris and Klebold may have had help in carrying out the attack", reported the Denver Rocky Mountain News. The Denver Post quoted Stone as saying, "There was quite possibly one other person shooting. We do have witness statements.'' (source2)
Stone came under attack for comments made about student Brooks Brown, who was told by Harris as he unloaded duffel bags before the shooting to leave the scene. "I believe Mr. Brown knows a lot more than he has been willing to share with us," said Stone. The Brown family blasted back, noting that they were originally responsible for reporting to the sheriffs office that Harris had a web site with death threats toward their son.
On May 6th spokesman Steve Davis said, "We have had a lot of witnesses tell us there was a third suspect and we've said that from day one. But, from day one, we've said we hadn't had any concrete evidence to show that."
On May 8th the Denver Rocky Mountain News released an article raising concerns over Dwayne Fuselier, the FBI official in charge of the Columbine investigation. Fuselier's son attended Columbine in 1997 and during that time produced a school film depicting trench-coated teenagers shooting up the school and eventually blowing it up.
"Witnesses have also indicated the possibility of a third gunman,'' said Lt. John Kiekbusch during a news briefing on May 12.
On May 13, The Denver Post released an article also detailing Dwayne Fuselier's son's video creation. This article sheds a more flattering light on the Fuseliers (the son's name is Scott) then the Rocky Mountain News article. "I've searched my heart and my soul for anything that was wrong here - that the kids (who made the video) should not have done. There certainly was no evil intent...It is a terrible irony, and they would never make that video again," said Fuselier, who's younger son, Brian, attends Columbine currently. The Post reports, however, that the video depicts laser battles "over Colorado", and Columbine is indeed destroyed at the end, but by a laser instead of bombs, which turns the building into a ball of fire. Scott Fuselier is also quoted defending the video.
The Associated Press also released an article on the matter (May 8). The article reveals that, "[Dwayne] Fuselier is best known as one of the top negotiators in the 'Freeman' standoff in Montana. He is a former member of an elite FBI squad known as the Crisis Management Unit." (Much controversy surrounded the Freemen standoff. Reports of unfair if not brutal treatment and abuse of imprisoned Freemen followed the incident. For more Freemen info click 1 or 2).
The article also stated, "In a call to the agent's home, a woman who answered the phone said, 'Scott and the boys that are with that movie don't want to talk about it.' In a later call, Dwayne Fuselier refused to comment. 'You can stop right there - nothing, goodbye,' he said Thursday evening when a reporter began asking about his son's connection to the video."
"They purportedly have some level of involvement, ranging from
advance knowledge to being present during the incident,'' said Lt. John Kiekbusch on May
14 in reference to a few friends of both Harris and Klebold. Considered a "straw
buyer" at first, friend of Harris and Klebold, Robyn Anderson, 18, had bought
the two gunmen the rifle and two shotguns used in the attack.
Authorities are said to be questioning a few friends of Harris and Klebold, says a Denver Post article, dated May 15, which details the involvement of the possible accomplices.
On May 14th, in an Associated Press article, Sheriff's spokesman Steve Davis is quoted as saying, "[Some students] are very adamant about the fact that there was a third gunman. All along we've been trying to prove or disprove that theory...From day one we've always felt like there was a very good possibility that that more people were involved. It may not mean that there were people actually in the school that day, but there's a good possibility that people were involved in ways such as supplying weapons or maybe building explosive devices."
On May 20, student Thomas J. Solomon, Jr. opened fire with a .22 caliber pistol at Heritage High School, near Conyers, Ga., a town east of Atlanta. There were no life-threatening injuries but six schoolmates were injured. The student, upset over a break-up with his girlfriend, was quickly taken into custody after being "talked-out" of committing suicide by the vice-principal, Cecil Brinkley, after placing the gun inside his mouth. The student was taking Ritalin and possibly anti-depressants. Congress quickly passed gun control measures after the shooting. Future reports would later prove that Solomon was in some way connected with the Trench Coat Mafia.
The same day, Jefferson County sheriff's spokesman Steve Davis states, "We're leaning toward Harris and Klebold being the only ones in there, but we've had several witnesses tell us they felt there was a third gunman or that they saw a third gunman."
The next day, May 21, the Denver Rocky Mountain News released an
article indicating the Sheriff's Department's doubt that other accomplices were
involved in the shooting, in part because "except for a large bomb in the school
cafeteria, all of the explosives could have been carried in a large gym bag." (60+
explosives could be carried in a "large gym bag"? By whom and when was the bag
The Clintons also arrived in Littleton to meet with parents and victims. President Clinton reportedly said that Hillary has cried every day since the Columbine attack. During the visit anti-Clinton protesters gathered around the Catholic church Clinton was due to visit holding signs stating "Ban Government Schools, Not Guns,'' and "Clinton: Rapist.''
On May 27 the parents of Klebold and Harris are sued by victim Isaiah Shoels' parents, Michael and Vonda Shoels for $250 million dollars. Attorney Geoffrey Fieger, the attorney for Jack Kavorkian and former Michigan candidate for governor, filed the lawsuit.
Isaiah Shoels was supposedly shot in the head in the library during the attack. Witness and student Evan Todd said, "Once when they [the shooters] shot a black kid, one of them said, 'Oh my God, look at this black kid's brain! Awesome, man!'" CNN reported, "...he [Shoels] was shot in the head execution-style in the school library, specifically because of his race and athletic interests, witnesses said. His father says he believes that account." Student Aaron Cohn, who was in the library, said, "...one killer put a pistol to his head but did not shoot him. Instead, he said, the shooter turned his attention to a black student, saying, 'I hate niggers.' Cohn heard three shots but couldn't see what happened." The Rocky Mountain News also reported, "'He said, 'We are going to shoot black people,' one girl quoted a gunman as saying as she begged him not to kill her. 'Then he shot a black guy sitting next to me. He shot the black kid in the head.'" Numerous other reports circulated in the news media indicate Shoels was shot in the head at least once. However, it has been confirmed that Shoels's autopsy report reveals that he was shot once in the chest with a shotgun. CRTF has obtained the entire autopsy report, which was eventually released in July at the appeal of the Shoels family (see below timeline). The projectile entered his left side and exited his right side, inflicting both arms and the torso, in a slightly downward fashion. The autopsy report makes clear Shoels' scalp, face and cranium region is unaffected by a gunshot.
Newsweek also confirmed shots to the head, "Shoels's father says he had complained to school authorities about the boys. He thought they were dangerous racists. 'Hey, I think we got a n----- here,' one of the killers said now, spotting Shoels. They shot him in the head, and when he crumpled to the floor, they added two more bullets in the face. 'Hey, I always wondered what n----- brains looked like,' one of the boys is said to have laughed." Is the autopsy report a fraud? Or were the witnesses told to lie about what they saw?
On Friday, May 28th, Jefferson County District Court Judge Henry
Nieto refused to release autopsy reports of the shooting victims. Family members wept as
Nieto announced his decision. (source
[ap article may expire soon]) (another
It was reported on May 27 that Jefferson Co. officials and families of the victims were asking for the autopsies to be "restricted". Why?!
Reported on May 28, Nate Dykeman, a friend of Eric Harris, said in a "Good Morning America" interview that week that Wayne and Katherine Harris found a pipe bomb made by their son "months" before the shooting. They destroyed the bomb and failed to report it (Dykeman later retracts the statement reported by the National Enquirer that Wayne Harris helped explode the bomb with his son, while the Enquirer says the quote is accurate [source]). As reported by The Denver Post, the Harris family, as of the 28th, apparently still refuse to talk with investigators.
The Denver Post released a lengthy article on May 30 detailing the slow response times of SWAT teams who failed to save the life of teacher Dave Sanders, who bled for four hours inside a school science room even though police were constantly told of his location by a student and a teacher with a cell phone. The SWAT teams, who were on the scene by 12 noon, were slow and methodical in their "sweeps"; and now the SWAT members refuse to talk to reporters about what happened.
The article also states, shockingly, "Other reports merely heightened the confusion. There were reports of anywhere from two to six gunmen, on the roof, in the cafeteria, the main hallway, hiding above a room where ceiling tiles had been removed. SWAT officers were told the shooters may be changing clothes and mingling with other students, a report that forced them to treat every student as a suspect. For hours, the gunmen were thought to be holding hostages somewhere inside the school."
Biology teacher Bev Williams said it was about 12:15 p.m. when she heard a chilling bravado declaration from one of the gunmen in the library: "'Today I am going to die!' It was like he was screaming to nobody,'' she said. (the Denver Post article)
There have been some reports, such as the above, noting a gunman was seen on the roof of the school. According to The Houston Chronicle, "[Spokesman Steve] Davis said three deputies exchanged gunfire with the suspects, including deputy Neil Gardner, assigned as security at the school, who remained inside during the ordeal. The other two deputies, Deputy Paul Smoker and Lt. Terry Manwaring, exchanged gunfire with one of the suspects when he appeared on the roof of the school." Officials now say Deputy Gardner never entered the school, and that no one was on the roof, let alone fired upon.
Between June 1 and June 11 events included students' return to Columbine to retrieve bags and books; task force probing the Columbine High School tragedy is scaled back from 80 investigators to 30; Colorado Bureau of Investigation is active in analyzing ballistics; repairs at school begin.
"The Dylan of late sounded not like the Dylan of old time," said Lyle Welsh, whose two sons survived the assault. Witnesses claim Klebold was loud and brutal during the shooting, unlike his portrayal as a quiet follower of Harris.
Over $5 million dollars is reportedly the tally of contributions to The Healing Fund of the United Way for Columbine victim's families. "The $4.7 million far surpasses the $400,000 raised after the Jonesboro, Ark., shooting and the $450,000 generated after the Springfield, Ore., attack." The fund has been called "hush money" used to keep locals "quiet" about what happened during the shooting.
On June 12 Columbine teacher Patti Nielson aired her story of the events she witnessed to The Denver Post.
Between approximately 11:20 and 11:22 a.m., Patti Nielson, a young-looking 35-year old art teacher, and student Brian Anderson, after hearing gunshots outside, were shot at as they walked down Columbine High School's "north hall" and "got to the second set of doors." The gunman "turned around and looked straight at us. He did not have a mask over his face, but he was wearing some kind of black hat. I thought he was small, but I found out later he was pretty tall. But he was thin and kind of lean. He smiled at me and pointed the gun," said Nielson.
Apparently, two or three shots were fired. Anderson was spared, while Nielson was grazed in the back. Nielson "pushed the student back inside", suggesting that both her and Anderson were between the double doors when shot. "They sprinted around a corner into the library", which is on the upper level above the cafeteria.
"The library was full of kids. 'I screamed there was a man with a gun, and the kids were looking at me shocked.'" Nielson rushed over to the librarian's desk (the librarian was at lunch at the time). She grabbed the phone and called 911. She could hear yelling outside of the library doors, which were open at the time. At this point, she felt there was more than one shooter involved. "I have said that it felt like there were more than two, but I cannot account for that...", says Nielson. Approximately three-to-five minutes after she entered the library, and just after 911 had been contacted, Nielson says the gunmen entered the room. "They're in here. They're killing kids. I need to go now.'' She left the phone off the hook and crawled beneath the desk. The phone remained off the hook for 26 minutes until the connection was broken, but not by Nielson. Those 26 minutes were recorded by the 911 operator and never released to the public.
The Rocky Mountain News reports, "At 11:26 a.m. -- five minutes after the first shots were fired from outside the school -- she [Nielson] called 911 from a phone at a desk...Investigators now believe that Harris' and Klebold's killing spree was over within 20 minutes."
"I thought they were on illegal drugs, but I guess the autopsies show they were not, which is also kind of bizarre, because you can't believe anyone in their right minds would do this," said Nielson. The gunmen spent about 10 minutes in the library before, in their own words, departing for the "commons" or the cafeteria (ed. note: Had they not been there yet?). During that time they shot and killed a number of students. "...Most of the students who were unharmed or injured ran out of the room and downstairs to an exit." If they ran downstairs, it would mean they ran into the cafeteria. Harris and Klebold must have ventured into other parts of the school at that point in time. Nielson never saw the shooters during this time. However, after the killing was over and 10 students were dead, the shooters approached the desk Nielson was hiding under, yet left before they found her.
While it appears that both shooters left the library at around 11:40 a.m., The Denver Post reported the following, "11:41 a.m. - One suspect in cafeteria, another in the library firing shots. Bombs continue to explode." This indicates that bombs were exploding downstairs, and that two assailants were in two different areas simultaneously. Jefferson County also reports that Deputy Niel Gardner was involved in a "shootout" with an assailant at exactly 11:30 a.m. outside the school, a time in which the shooters were said to be inside the library.
Nielson crawled out from under the desk a few minutes later after the gunmen left. "Inside the library area are several smaller rooms. Nielson crawled around corners and spotted a cupboard under a kitchen sink. She sat on a paint tray, twisted her body into a fetal position and shut the cupboard door as much as she could." She looked at her watch and it said 11:45 a.m. About twenty-five minutes had passed since she had been shot.
"I wondered why the SWAT teams weren't there yet. I thought at any time someone would come in and say 'It's all right to come out.' It didn't take that long to get to the school." Sometime after 1:00 p.m. Nielson says she heard someone return to the library and she heard more shots. "I didn't hear any conversation, any yelling, just rat-tat-tat.'' Nielson even checked her watched for the exact time.
CNN confirmed Nielson's statement, "One student identified as James, who called a television station on his cell phone from inside the school, said he had heard more shooting around 1 p.m., about two hours after the incident began."
"I knew there was no way that was possible,'' Nielson said in reference to the belief that the gunmen killed themselves at around 12 noon. "When I looked at my watch and saw 1 o'clock, they hadn't come back to the library.'' By 4 p.m. she was finally found by a SWAT team and escorted out. She did not look at the bodies laying in the library as she left."I could see hundreds of backpacks scattered everywhere, and at the door there was this backpack we were told to be careful of.''
An April 20th CNN report confirms part of Nielson's account with the following account from witness Cathy Clark who was in the library, "This girl [Nielson] came up screaming ... like, 'Someone's got a gun.' She said get under the table. So everyone got under the table. These two guys came up and they were shooting randomly -- there was bombing, I guess, downstairs and people were screaming." (Were bombs going off downstairs synchronously while the gunmen were in the library?)
Patti Nielson's account contradicts the notion that the gunmen were dead by 12 noon or slightly thereafter. It also contradicts teacher Bev Williams account that the gunmen were in the library at around 12:15 p.m. and may have killed themselves then. Williams may have heard the gunmen while they were outside the library.
Timelines of the event, contradictory to that of Nielson's, appeared in print and on television on April 20th indicating an hour-by-hour synopsis of the shooting. The timelines suggested the following, "...They (the gunmen) proceed inside, to the school cafeteria, shooting as they walk, then upstairs to the library, still shooting." The question remains, Who shot Nielson if Harris and Klebold were in the cafeteria as reported? Nielson has never stated that she saw Eric Harris, though witness Brian Anderson has said he did see Harris.
An AP article claims that at "11:35 a.m. Harris and Klebold enter the school through the back cafeteria door...11:40 a.m. Harris and Klebold go upstairs to the library, still shooting." The shooters are said to have entered the school at around 11:20 a.m., not 11:35 a.m. Nielson was shot at around 11:20 a.m on the other side of the cafeteria. The shooters entered the library at around or before 11:30 a.m., not 11:40 a.m. These conflicting timeline reports only indicate further that more than two gunmen may have been involved. There has never been a clear indication of whether or not the gunmen actually went inside the cafeteria at first.
"Shots are heard until almost 12:30. About that time, in the library, Klebold and Harris turn their guns on themselves, though no one will be sure of this for hours. As 12:30 passes, after no shots echo for several minutes, SWAT teams begin sweeping the building room by room", said the Boulder News, contrary to other reports.
Where was Nielson shot?
Please refer to John Quinn's report in the "John Quinn" section for more analysis of Nielson's comments. CRTF has attempted to contact Ms. Nielson to no avail. Nielson, however, did talk personally with a fellow CRTF investigator in Denver. She said the gunman who shot her seemed old, like a "man" as she has stated, and did not look like Harris or Klebold. He was wearing a black "beret". She said she felt others were involved.
The sheriffs office on June 13 questions whether Klebold committed suicide or was murdered due to the location and trajectory of the bullet that entered his left temple. Klebold's autopsy report may be released in July.
The Denver Post reports on June 17th in an article titled, "Video shows no 3rd gunman", that the Columbine High School video surveillance tape, which was hurriedly transported to the FBI in Quantico, Virginia to be "enhanced" immediately after the shooting, has now been reviewed by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. Spokesman Steve Davis states, "There's nothing (on the tape) to substantiate the theory of a third gunman at all." The tape, apparently, only shows a brief view of Dylan Klebold walking around a corner. The Sheriff's Department received the tape back from the FBI about three weeks ago.
It's interesting that the tape was quickly shuttled off to FBI headquarters immediately after the shooting. While they claim "enhancements" were done, we can only speculate that various video shots of a third gunman were removed from the tape before Jeffco investigators viewed it. The Denver Post article reveals very little, unfortunately. Did the library have a camera? How is it possible that only one shot of Klebold was recorded when it appears both gunmen were traversing about the school for well over an hour?
"We already had some cameras in the cafeteria and parking lot areas. As long as they aren't in classrooms,'' said Columbine student body president Mike Sheehan on June 16.
According to Denver's KMGH-TV, "7 News has reported that on April 20th there was a surveillance camera working, inside the cafeteria at Columbine. Sources say the tape shows the two gunmen, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shooting randomly and shooting at the bombs, apparently trying to set them off." What happened to this scene on the tapes?
On June 18 "Philip Joseph Duran, 22, [who] worked with the
gunmen at a Blackjack Pizza store and introduced them to friend Mark Manes, who sold them
the TEC-DC 9 in late January...was charged with unlawfully providing a handgun to minors
and possessing a dangerous or illegal weapon."
"The sheriff's department doesn't anticipate any additional arrests in the near future,'' said Division Chief John Kiekbusch.
Brian Rohrbough, father of shooting victim Daniel, blasts Jefferson County school superintendent Jane Hammond, calling for her termination, in an article in the Denver Rocky Mountain News on June 19. Jane Hammond has said it could cost $50 million to repair damage to Columbine High School. The repair ended up costing $1.2 million.
"I've said all along there were more people involved and nothing has changed my thinking," said Sheriff John Stone in an interview on June 19 with APB News. Stone apparently talked with APB News during a recent Colorado Rockies baseball game he attended with his 11 year old daughter, Lori. The full interview can be found here.
On June 25th Harris's autopsy report is released, while Judge Nieto says, "I believe I exceeded my jurisdiction" in making the ruling to seal all of the autopsy reports (yet the reports, with exception to Harris and Shoels, remain sealed). "When he died (due to a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head through the mouth), Harris was wearing a white T-shirt with the inscription 'Natural Selection' on its front. He also wore black combat boots and a black glove on his right hand with the fingers cut out," said the Denver Rocky Mountain News. The report, however, did not note the time of death, and, "...the report also does not explain what happened to the pants, ammunition vest and trench coat Harris was wearing on April 20. Did investigators take them as evidence before the autopsy was performed on April 22? Investigators would not comment." What happened to the masks as well?
An interesting excerpt from a Post report:
On April 20, the boy with the usual light-brown hair and military-style cut had black hair. That day his usual clean-shaven face was stubbled.
"The scalp is covered by short, bloodstained, black hair ... the eyebrows are brown,'' the report said.
Judy Brown, whose son Brooks had known Harris, said she had never seen him with dyed hair.
"He never dyed his hair,'' Brown said. "It was kind of a lightish brown; it certainly wasn't black.''
Did Harris dye his hair days before the shooting? Surveillance video later revealed a Harris with light-colored brown hair. It appears the autopsy report merely reflects the probable fact that Harris's hair was blackened from his own blood.
June 30, a resident of the Denver area informed us of an email exchange that took place between himself and a student of Columbine High School. For the sake of privacy, names, email addresses and some of the content of the email has been removed from the following:
My name is (deleted), I am researching what happened at Columbine on April 20th. I was hoping that you could elaborate on what you saw that day, and if you could verify some of the eyewitness accounts that there was a third shooter? I know that this may seem a bit forward but from the evidence I've seen it looks as though there could be more than two people involved. If you decide to talk to me I won't use your name if you wish to remain anonymous. I can be reached at (deleted) and I can be reached by phone at (deleted). Thanks, and I hope that you are doing better now after your ordeal.
The author of the above email has been in contact with us for the past few weeks. He is actively researching the shooting. He sent the above email to a student of the school. The below text is of this student's response to the above unnamed researcher:
You do raise a good argument and if you speak the truth of your experiences with such cases then I cannot argue with you in a structured or competitive manner. I can say that your experience in other cases have caused you to be a dainty, truth seeking individual. I will tell you that us students haven't shared a lot of things. Things we intend on keeping to ourselves. Things we don't want the entire population to know. Want to know why? Because we don't care what the "outsiders" in the community think. If you don't go to CHS as a student or teacher, you may contemplate and assume all you want without worrying about getting a negative smirk from me. Thank you for the invitation to your gathering, but I have already given out enough information about the victims, details about the tragedy, Dylan and Eric, and all sorts of other things. I also do not wish to hear what a bunch of retired police officers and army personnel think about the shooting. Unless, of course, they went to CHESS.
The above can be interpreted in a many number of ways. However, the prevailing notion is the incredible yet inexplicable bitterness expressed by this student toward a sincere local individual seemingly simply trying to find the "truth". "Things we intend on keeping to ourselves...things we don't want the entire population to know", says the student. What "things"? His comments are similar to those of student Makai Hall.
During the month of July the mother of Isaiah Shoels, Rhonda, said, "How can you go around making pipe bombs and killing people...and not think I was going to ask questions? I want justice.'' She also inflamed locals during an appearance on a local radio show when she questioned how Patti Nielson managed to survive the library attack and not save the lives of other students.
On July 3rd The Denver Post released an article which conveniently explains that the Columbine school surveillance video now shows Klebold and Harris in full view holding a TEC-DC9 handgun, two shotguns and a carbine rifle. It was previously reported by Jeffco that the video only showed Klebold briefly walking around a corner. In April, before the FBI confiscated the video, indications were given that the video showed "graphic information" and scenes of both shooters firing at propane tanks in the cafeteria. The story changes once again.
The Denver Post article also says that the Colorado Bureau of Investigation has concluded through ballistics tests that there is no evidence of a third gunman. (It must be noted that physical evidence would not necessarily be required to prove or disprove the presence of a third gunman in the school.)
"Officials said Harris and Klebold marched through the cafeteria at the start of their rampage, then returned there after killing 10 students in the library. They set a fire in the cafeteria, and, as soon as it began to spread, they went back to the library, where they killed themselves."
The above "official" statement is at odds with a good deal of information since revealed by this web site and Mr. John Quinn.
"There was a lot of useful information for our investigators but nothing to support the theory of a third gunman,'' said Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokesman Steve Davis, implying that eye witness testimony of other gunmen was considered irrelevant. Jefferson County prosecutor Mark Pautler, however, indicated that more interviews needed to be conducted before the third gunman theory could be ruled-out.
Angela Sanders, the daughter of slain teacher Dave Sanders, threatened a law suit in July not for monetary gain, but to incite "...people to wake up, to realize it could've been prevented, to pay attention," she says. Angela was originally angered by the slow response times of the SWAT members, but since her initial comments made days after the shooting she has recanted her position, saying her comments were made out of "anger" at the time.
The sheriffs office, by July 14th, continued to possess letters written by Kathy Harris to various families of the slain victims. The office says it has had a great deal of trouble contacting the Harris family and wants the Harrises to deliver the letters themselves. "We can't get (the letters) to the Harrises' attorney,'' said Sgt. Randy West. "They're busy, we're busy and we can't seem to connect with them...it's really not our job [to distribute the letters]." Later in the month the Harrises finally sent letters out to the victims, but the original letters first sent to the office were "lost" -- "The district is concerned about the missing package of letters and has sent a message to all schools and departments, asking them to check their summer mail and make sure the package of Mrs. Harris' letters was not inadvertently sent to the wrong location,'' spokesman Rick Kaufman said. Why can't the sheriffs office get in contact with the parents of one of the known killers, let alone interview them?
"There's no physical evidence that was discovered that supports the direct involvement of another individual,'' said John Kiekbusch, a division chief with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, on July 29th.
A massive body of evidence along with ballistics reports from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation was forwarded to the Jefferson County Sheriffs Office on July 29th. The information, as reported at the beginning of the month, does not indicate the presence of a third gunman on the scene of the Columbine shooting.
However, an Associated Press article released on July 29th at 6:49 p.m. Eastern time quoted Sheriff John Stone while vacationing in Florida, "I've never thought it was just two [suspects] because of the amount of stuff that was brought in. But we don't have enough to charge anyone.''
The article also quoted Spokesman Steve Davis, "From day one, the question has obviously been if there was a third gunman. We know every weapon that was fired. If we find any bullet that doesn't match a weapon, we'll have to go back.''
(Stone, in December, once again reiterated his belief that others were involved. The Denver Rocky Mountain News reported, "Stone also faced public criticism for some of his statements, including his speculation the first afternoon that the death toll could reach 25 and that Harris and Klebold probably had accomplices. Today, Stone defends himself, saying he was merely giving out the best information available at the time. That first afternoon, he notes, a teacher told investigators there was a 'whole bunch' of kids shooting up the school. It angers him that he was criticized by the same people who clamored for information -- reporters. Months later, after assuming a lower profile, Stone said he didn't regret his blunt comments early on. 'I think the public's got a right to know,' he says.")
The Rocky Mountain News stated conspicuously in an article also released on the 29th, "Dozens of witnesses interviewed by police after the crime claimed that from five to eight individuals participated in the shooting that left 15 people dead, including the killers, and more than 20 injured."
Did the Colorado Bureau of Investigation carefully misconstrue and distort the ballistics evidence given to the Sheriff's Department?
The Columbine Task Force, a group of community leaders, parents and school officials, proposed Orwellian-like security measures in July to be implemented in local schools in light of the Columbine shooting. A final decision on the measures will be made on August 9th, and formal action taken by the school board on August 19th. Some of the measures include, "Requiring students and visitors to wear IDs at all times", "Studying whether adding another armed guard at each high school would be effective", "Having one armed resource officer at each of the district's middle schools", "Studying whether cameras recently installed at Columbine are effective for districtwide use."
Most recently, on August 6th, the Columbine Task Force indicated that it's proposal will include, "...provisions increasing the number of security guards districtwide, restricting access to schools and installing security cameras on a trial basis...the use of drug- and bomb-sniffing dogs and the installation of panic buttons in school offices."
On August 10th the finalized security measures for Columbine High were presented by the Columbine Task Force. These measures will be voted on August 19th by the school board, but teachers and school officials will likely begin implementing them before then. Students will be required to wear IDs at all times during school. "What happens to those who don't wear their IDs? Will they be sent home? Denied an education? Denied lunch? Some students feel we are being punished for what Eric and Dylan did, " said student Sergio Gonzales. Overall security will be increased at the school and visitors will only be allowed to enter the school through one entrance.
CNN reports that "16 color video cameras that will watch over the school inside and out" and a "third uniformed guard to join a roving patrol, which includes an armed sheriff's deputy" are new added security measures.
More information was revealed on August 10th about the Conyers, Georgia shooting at Heritage High School on May, 20th. A note by the 15 year old assailant, Thomas Solomon, was found in his room and read to the press by a Georgia Bureau of Investigation officer that said, "One big question I leave behind for you to find is why. But for the sake of my brothers and sisters related to the Trench Coat Mafia, those answers will have to remain out of the public eye." This is the first time that the shooting appears to be related to the Columbine shooting. "I have been planning to do this for years, but I finally got pissed off enough to do it. This has nothing to do with Hitler, and it is not because I was picked on," the note continued. Solomon may face up to 351 years in prison if convicted. The defense argues that Solomon is mentally ill.
"As far as I know he was a normal student. No one picked on him," said senior William Britt of Solomon.
"He heard voices telling him to do strange things, but they were robotic voices, not human voices," said Dr. Eddy Regnier, who teaches psychiatry at Harvard University and who was hired by defense attorneys to examine Solomon.
(We would like to note that 16-year old Kip Kinkel, who in Springfield, Oregon in May of 1998 opened fire in a high school and also killed his parents, was taking Prozac and heard loud voices in his head who commanded him to kill ).
The Shoels family is living in fear and has left Littleton, according to the New York Post on August 13th. The family has received threats since the shooting. One caller to their home said, "If you don't keep quiet, something drastic is going to happen to you." In an interesting revelation the article states, "[Michael] Shoels' fears began to materialize two days before his son's burial when two white youths wearing the same black trenchcoats sported by Harris and Klebold stood outside his home in a threatening manner." The article mentions that Michael Shoels, the father of 18 year old shooting victim Isaiah, is very upset "...that Isaiah was called a 'nigger' before he was gunned down by the two Nazi-loving Internet users." Shoels reportedly will not sleep "in the same bed twice" in fear for his life.
A credible woman living in Highlands Ranch, who has provided us with information in the past, told us the following on August 12th:
"I have received new info regarding Columbine. This comes from a source I know; I also know many of his co-workers. This man wishes to remain anonymous. He was a member of the very first rescue squad to arrive at Columbine, about one hour after the shooting started. His job was to go into the school with the SWAT teams to help the injured and to help escort out students. Every student he saw -- he saw a lot -- were screaming that there were three shooters in the building! These kids were all coming from different parts of the building so there was no way they could have all gotten together to make this up!
"He said the military was not there when he arrived, but they were there soon after, as was a tank. He did not notice any NATO or U.N. My source knows we are being lied to about the number of shooters because he believes the students and saw their terror. He had no other info."
Other information was revealed by this woman that indicated understandable reasons as to why the rescue workers -- there were at least two who made claims to this effect -- wish to remain anonymous. The information was related to the woman's husband, a former firefighter of over 20 years, by the rescue workers. CRTF has met personally with both of these people and the story has been re-confirmed. The two rescue workers will simply not come forward and share little interest in pursuing the matter.
On August 12th the Associated Press, among other news agencies, reported on a list of "about" 15 people Eric Harris had written. It was considered a "hit list", however, "...none of the students on the list was injured or killed in the April 20 shooting attack."
"There's been a lot of speculation that it included all athletes or minorities. It doesn't. There's quite a spectrum there", said spokesman Steve Davis about the list. "Sheriff's Division Chief John Kiekbusch said a lot of evidence they gathered on Harris and Klebold 'didn't make a lot of sense'", mentioned the article.
Columbine High School re-opened Monday, August 16th, for the '99-'00 school year in a flurry of fanfare and celebration. Ribbons were cut. Flags were raised. Triumphant jubilations of pride were gushed by school officials and students. A chain of parents and friends blockaded the news media as students funneled into the school. The songs of rock bands "Pearl Jam", "Everclear", "Big Head Todd" and the "Monsters" were blared through loudspeakers. Most students were wearing school-commissioned T-shirts that said, "We Are...Columbine".
No mention was made of the victims of the April 20th, 1999 attack.
"This is really cool. It's like a homecoming,'' said Julie Lesback, a parent of two Columbine students. "I was so excited, I felt like I was on a sugar high," said student Kayla Harrison.
On ABC World News Tonight the scene was called "festive", and film of the event showed a huge stage with speakers that had been erected on school grounds, surrounded by hundreds of students where Principal Frank DeAngelis exclaimed, "I have waited for months to say this, and I say it with great pride. Columbine, we are back!'' Students cheered and waved pompoms, others ignored him.
Also on stage was student body president Mike Sheehan, who aroused the crowd when he said, "Although we were surrounded by terror and destruction, we still stood strong. We have prevailed. We have overcome. Welcome home Rebels!''
Dissent was voiced by some students and parents who felt the "human chain" formed by parents was needless, others felt the entire event was overdone. "They left out all the victims. They left out all the injured kids. They were thrown under the carpet. That's how they're treating it. I would not allow [my son] to go back into that school,'' said Brian Rohrbough, whose son Daniel was killed at Columbine. "This is all really dumb. I think a lot of this is show for the media. The human circle is just adding to the circus,'' said student Matt Koch. "It was rah rah. Let's forget about the kids that died...let's forget what happened. I think that's wrong,'' said Rick Petrone, the step-father of Daniel Rohrbough.
Four freshly "etched" swastikas were found on Columbine school grounds on August 16th. Two were found in the recently repainted girl's bathroom, one in the boy's bathroom, and one outside the school on a wall. The swastikas were small in size. "It's like they are laughing in our faces, 'Ha, ha, school's back in session and so are we,' " said parent Tammy Theus.
Division Chief of the Sheriffs Office, John Kiekbusch, said on CNN's "Early Edition" program on the 16th, "Well, we have witnesses who are identifying additional gunmen. We're comparing that information against the results of the forensic testing. And, as I indicated, there's no physical evidence to support the involvement in the attack of another gunman."
On August 27th, four Jefferson County high schools received "anonymous letters that appear to threaten more violence. Authorities are investigating the letters, which were sent to Dakota Ridge, Standley Lake, Pomona and Bear Creek high schools, said Jefferson County Undersheriff John Dunaway. The letters were sent via U.S. mail..." While the letters were not released to the public, Dunaway said the basic intent of the letters was, "essentially that if you think your schools are safe, you're mistaken.''
"The threatening letters were typed and contained no specific threats of action, just general statements that the Columbine High massacre was the start of more school violence, district spokeswoman Marilyn Saltzman said."
This same day school ID requirments -- specifically mandates which require students to wear IDs during the school day -- were reconsidered by community leaders and school officials due to public dissent. "I have no problem with people knowing who I am. But I do have a problem with being numbered and categorized and catalogued. It's like living in communist China or Nazi Germany. It makes you feel like less of a person," said local student Rick Hammack.
August 29th a representative for a major Denver newspaper, which will remain unnamed at this time, responded to questions posed by CRTF about multiple/numerous assailants -- including "five to eight" shooters seen by "dozens of witnesses" and reports of a third gunman -- at Columbine High on April 20th, 1999. The actual theme of our letter and the questions posed were as to why the witnesses of these multiple shooters have yet to be interviewed by the news media. The representative's entire response is below:
"Sir, after four-plus months of exhaustive investigations by local authorities, national media and local media, do you really think the possibility of eight shooters actually exists[?] Come on, get real."
The above response fails to answer our questions as to why witnesses of multiple gunmen have yet to be interviewed by the news media. We shall assume the above quote is the official position of this newspaper concerning the "third gunman" reports. We would remind our readers that no newspaper or official arm of the news media has made any coherent, credible inquiry into the multiple gunmen reports. Witnesses were never interviewed and questions rarely asked. Unfortunately and predictably, the newspaper in question has already made its conclusion on the validity of those reports without, apparently, ever doing any research into the matter.
This is but another example of unprofessionalism and arrogance in the press.
On September 2nd further eye-witness testimony is revealed that more than two gunmen were present during the shooting. See the "John Quinn" section in the sidebar to the right for the story. (CRTF has subsequently confirmed this testimony with the mother of the witness).
September 3rd: The Jefferson County Sheriff's investigation into the Columbine High School shooting is "winding down", with 15 remaining investigators still pursuing the case, down from the original 80.
Jefferson County Administrator Ron Holliday reiterated that "there is no physical evidence'' of more than two assailants during the shooting. He also said, "The investigation is truly winding down.'' With many questions still unanswered, we might add.
In other news, a panel of 20 individuals appointed by Governor Bill Owens released a report stating that funding is needed to aid in the "counseling" of 373,847 people related in some way to the Columbine shooting. These people would include a range of "high", "moderate" and "low" risk individuals from the victim's families to "persons who witnessed the incident through the media and the entire state of Colorado.'' The funding for such a program would reach into the millions of dollars. Governor Owens blasted the report, stating, "The primary persons at 'highrisk' in this report are the taxpayers...I think the mental health professionals who drafted these recommendations need to have their heads examined."
A second set of threats were mailed to local south Denver schools. The first threats were sent one week ago. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department has given little indication of what the threats actually say. Officials say they believe the threats were likely crafted by teenagers.
"They don't tell us anything. They just say, 'We got a letter, we're taking care of it.' I want to know what it said. I think it's probably just someone goofing around," said Bear Creek High School student Matt Mansell of the sherrifs office.
The Denver Post reports on September 14th that the Harris family has yet to be interviewed by investigators. Benjamin Colkitt, attorney for the family, remains aloof.
"We're calling on this nation to immediately stop giving money to the United Way until we have a complete accounting of what I refer to as the charity industry ripoff in Colorado,'' said Sam Riddle, spokesman for the Shoels family. The family is furious over how the millions in donations have been handled by the United Way. "The Shoelses have moved out of their Littleton home, saying they didn't feel safe, and are trying to relocate to Denver. They spend each night in motels, and their children are staying with relatives, " said The Denver Post.
In an article about evidence to be released to the public by the sheriffs office, The Denver Post stated on September 18th, "School officials and parents had been worried that photos of the library and a surveillance video of the gunmen in the cafeteria might be released as part of the public report." It was previously reported by the Sheriff's Department that the video did not show the gunmen in the cafeteria. The evidence itself -- 10,000 photos included -- may or may not be included in a final report by the office this November.
On the 18th the Department announces that of the 10,000 crime scene photos of Columbine High, only a few will be released in the sheriff's final report in November. The final report "is expected to detail how Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold acted alone, both in carrying out the April 20 shootings and hauling in the dozens of pipe bombs they planted in and around the school", said The Denver Post.
On September 23rd internet magazine Salon.com published a report detailing the entire shooting incident. (source1) (source2)
"...the biggest myth remains that the building was still under siege... Many Columbine students are still unaware that the killers lay dead hours before they fled the building with their hands on their heads. The entire episode lasted less than a half hour." Such is the conclusion of a lengthy Salon Magazine report by Denver writer David Cullen, dated September 23rd, 1999. The article, in our view, is a mix of fact, important revelations, rehashed material and distortion. CRTF readers will recognize immediately the questionable statement from the above quote. If the shooting "lasted less than a half hour", who was firing shots after 1 p.m.? Why, then, if the shooters lay dead for so long, did SWAT teams fail to enter the school in a timely fashion and save the lives of those who remained inside?
Another portion of the article states, "Harris and Klebold planted the two main propane bombs in the center of the room just after 11 a.m., then returned to their car to gear up." The placement of these large bombs was in question for many months -- apparently, it has been cleared up. Apparently, the two shooters managed to place two huge propane bombs in the cafeteria -- in the "center of the room" -- in the presence of students and faculty without anyone noticing. The truth is, no one knows when or how those bombs were placed there. Another fact overlooked by the article is the report that the two shooters were seen on school surveillance video tape shooting at the propane tanks.
We highly recommend that readers visit the Salon web site and make their own conclusions. Those who are learned in the facts of case will immediately recognize some of the oversights, errors, and lurid peculiarities left behind in the article.
Howard Cornell, the manager of security for Jefferson County Public Schools, "abruptly" quit his position also on the 23rd. "Cornell has long envisioned an armed, uniformed security force run from district headquarters." The community and officials, however, did not agree with his position completely and he decided to quit.
The lawyers for Eric Harris's parents attempted to remove lawyer Geoffery Fieger from the Sholes's lawsuit, citing that, "...based upon Mr. Fieger's record and his recent conduct and comments made with respect to this case, Mr. and Mrs. Shoels' motion to have Mr. Fieger specially admitted should be denied." Fieger later blasted back, and criticized the lawyers. A motion was also made to move the proceedings of the lawsuit from Denver to Jefferson County.
The Denver Post published an interesting story on the 26th examining the Sholes family.
Jefferson County School officials, on the 30th, attempted to block the release of a video made by the Littleton Fire Department showing the inside of Columbine High after the shooting and before repairs and renovations were made.
The Post reports on October 3rd that the Harris family will soon meet with investigators after a five-month holdout. (The meeting, as of mid-October, has yet to take place).
On the 5th it was reported that a lawsuit has been filed against the Jefferson Co. school district after hand-made tiles commemorating slain students were removed by officials from the Columbine High grounds -- the tiles contained religious symbols and wording. Officials later responded.
Geoffery Fieger announced on the 10th that a litany of new defendants, including gun manufacturers, would be added to the Sholes's lawsuit.
On October 13th CRTF posts the following report...
An approximately 60 to 90 second edited video tape of at least 20 minutes of raw surveillance tape footage shot within Columbine High School was circulated within law enforcement circles around the country after the shooting in April. This edited version recently found its way to Albuquerque at a school safety seminar for law enforcement officials, which was attended by CBS Affiliate KRQE-TV. The news affiliate videotaped the footage off of the projector where the tape was being shown. The story was then presented on the CBS Evening News. Officials with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office were quietly outraged -- some even suggested legal action be taken against those who had circulated the tape into the hands of people unauthorized to view it (read: the public).
The tape contains two scenes of assailants at Columbine High -- both scenes originated in the cafeteria. One of the shots shows what appears to be a man, though quite possibly Eric Harris, in a white T-shirt bending down in an assault-position and firing into the cafeteria (the other shot is brief, showing a gunman diving as a bomb detonates nearby). The person appears at first glance to have a pony tail and dark hair. He is not wearing a trench coat. The gun he is using appears to have a sling. In the tape, he appears to be calm, collected and capable. He may also be wearing a helmet or mask. One newspaper, however, conveniently identified both gunmen in the blurry tape, "The tape also captures Eric Harris entering the cafeteria and firing a 9mm carbine across the chair- and table-strewn room...the tape shows Klebold diving for cover moments before a bomb explodes." (As for Klebold diving from an explosion, one very credible reader wrote to us and noted, "The gentleman in the video diving before the bomb went off was a teacher - check out the dress pants and the dress shoes").
We would remind our readers that witnesses reported a wide range of sightings, from men in masks to the popularized theme of two trench-coated figures. There was a report of an "ugly" man with dark hair and bushy eyebrows in a trench coat. A "kid in a white T-shirt" was seen accompanying two trench-coated assailants (though these reports were buried by the newsmedia).
Please note the following comments made by a Denver researcher, "This is my professional opinion -- having worked in film and video for years -- that the video has been fooled around with. If you look at the stills, they are in blue. But the CCTV camera in the cafeteria is black and white. Now, for the reason you use a blue haze on a black and white film or still [is] simple, a blue haze put over a black and white frame will cast shadows on the subjects in the frame, thereby clouding the clarity of the video frame. Now, why would you do that? Simple; so that you can't see clearly the faces of the people in the frame. I should know, I do this on feature films when I'm doing lighting to cast shadows on the actors faces to make them seem mysterious."
While the above photo is in black and white, the video on the CBS News web site has a blue tint to it and is very unclear.
Special thanks to a reader for the following graphic:
The 9mm rifle in the surveillance photo seems to be about 5 inches shorter than the actual rifle. Nevertheless, both rifles appear to be the same. The rifle in the picture may be shorter due to the lack of a suppressor or muzzle break.
Please read the following articles:
John Quinn's report
CBS story 1 & 2 (w/ full video clip) ( * Removed by CBS. Only works with Internet Explorer)
The Denver Post - "Aired video irks sheriff"; "CBS airs cafeteria tape"; "Decision not to air is suspect"
The Denver Rocky Mountain News - "Station airs video from Columbine"; "Police say Columbine tape..."; "Police want video copier...prosecuted"
* The video clip on the CBS web site has been removed. The original clip could not be saved to a hard drive, and efforts to capture images from it were futile. If you can provide a location where the clip can now be found please email us.
On the 15th Columbine High School teacher Patti Nielson has announced her leave of absence from the school to deal with the emotional pain involved in being a witness to the tragedy of April 20th.
On October 20th a 17-year old Columbine High student, Eric Veik, was arrested and jailed (with bond set at an astronomical $500,000) on the night of October 19th on charges of "inciting destruction of life or property, and theft for allegedly stealing a school microphone". Officials were given word of the student's plans, which included a diagram of the school and other writings, by a fellow student who had heard him say he would "finish the job" in the wake of the April 20th tragedy by initiating another shooting.
The Denver Rocky Mountain News has reported the most complete story so far.
The Denver Post also released a story which reveals a great deal of information. The Denver Post (on November 11th) submitted a request to open the proceedings in the sentencing of the student. The proceedings have been closed from the public by Judge DeVita.
On October 22nd, the mother of a Columbine High victim killed herself with a gun in a Denver-area pawn shop. The following is a sad, shocking and inexplicable story that should put into perspective what a great tragedy the shooting was. Friday's AP article is reprinted here.
November 11th: In a phone conversation with a young woman, who intimately knew both Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, further information was revealed on the recently released surveillance tape, Eric Harris's autopsy report, and the confusion over the identity of a student arrested at Columbine High on April 20th.
The young woman tape recorded the footage of the surveillance tape (see story below) when it first aired on television. She relayed to CRTF that the tape shows a "gunman" bending down and firing a gun. As we indicated below, the "gunman" seems to have a pony tail. The young woman noticed this immediately upon viewing the tape, and says that during most of the scene the pony tail is visible (she also said that he was not wearing a helmet). Eric Harris did not have long hair and did not have a pony tail.
She says that in the tape, when the gunman stands up and walks off, his face is noticeably "blurred", while the rest of his body appears clear and at normal resolution. She felt the tape had been altered to hide the gunman's face, which is unrecognizable on the tape. She also said that the gunman was wearing a relatively small vest on his chest, seen when he approached the camera. A strap holding the vest was wrapped around the gunman's neck. Asked if the strap could account for the pony tail, the young woman felt otherwise and said the strap was thick and large.
In another scene on the tape, the young woman says that the person diving from an ignited bomb is not Dylan Klebold, as reported by the newsmedia. She says that he is wearing fully black attire in the tape.
Eric Harris had short dirty blonde hair was not known to have dyed his hair. However, his autopsy report indicated that his hair was dark brown or black. It was either dyed or bloodstained. The young woman, who personally knows Brooks Brown, said that Brown had told her that when he saw Harris unloading gym bags from his car before the shooting began on April 20th Harris's hair was not dyed. She also said that Brown has expressed dismay to her as to why the sheriffs office has remained suspicious of him.
The young woman expressed that she never would have believed that Harris and Klebold were capable of carrying out such a shooting. She also feels that other shooters were likely involved. She told CRTF that she remembers seeing television footage taken from a helicopter on the day of the shooting. The footage showed a view of the busted windows around the library portion of the school. As the helicopter filmed the scene, two young men approached the windows from the inside. One of them was Dylan Klebold. The other was not Eric Harris, according to the young woman. CRTF also recalls seeing this specific footage broadcast the day of the shooting.
In other news, an Associated Press article from April 22nd says that two 35-pound bombs were found in the school cafeteria by investigators. Since late April the newsmedia has maintained that only one large propane bomb was found in the cafeteria. The article also emphasizes the concern officials expressed at the possibility that more accomplices may have been involved in the shooting. Since May, that concern has all but vanished. See article locations 1 and 2.
In an unprecedented move, a committee formed by a group of Colorado state legislators, chaired by Rep. Penn Pfiffner (R-Lakewood), has blasted psychotropic "mind-altering" drugs being inflicted upon the nation's young people. The committee is asking the Colorado state Board of Education to ban the use of the government-mandated drug Ritalin in Colorado schools.
The committee, connected with the Church of Scientology and comprised of a number of state legislators, paraded a group of qualified experts before cameras and journalists Tuesday. The group blasted so-called "Attention Deficit Disorder", saying the ADD diagnosis is unproved. The committee blamed the CIA, military-industrial complex and pharmaceutical companies for forcing upon America's children an epidemic of mind-altering drugs that only do more harm than good. They cited recent cases of school shootings, and noted that most of the assailants involved in the shootings were on ADD-prescribed drugs. Eric Harris's use of Luvox was given as an example.
Sen. Jim Congrove (R-Arvada), when confronted with the notion that Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold was not on any drug, mused, "You don't know that he wasn't."
Dr. Peter Breggin, an M.D. and psychiatrist, testified that there is "no evidence that Ritalin improves long-term behavior.'' He also said that Luvox has a "cocaine-like effect'' and that "scientific evidence is irrefutable'' that Luvox causes "psychotic mania'' in about 4 percent of the young people who take it.
Pro-drug groups in Colorado blasted the efforts to ban the use of psychotropic drugs in schools -- some said they were "outraged" and expressed "strong opposition" to any measure to ban the use of the drugs by schools. The Denver Post made its position clear: the efforts to ban these drugs are being conducted by a group of "clowns" and "whackos" in a "circus" of "paranoia". The paper also warns that likely not enough of the nation's children are diagnosed with ADD --- See articles provided below.
A reader from Denver, Mr. James D. Schindler, wrote to us and said, "[Chuck Green's] report was totally inaccurate and bordered on character assassination [ed. note: see Green article below]. I was at the hearings, both the State School Board hearings regarding their resolution (it passed 6-1), and the Legislative hearings at the Statehouse. For your information, the School Board had already started moving through the passage of their resolution prior to Rep. Pfiffner setting up the Statehouse hearings.
"I went into the hearings carrying my own knowledge related to personal experience with kids and drugs, legal and illegal. I was objective in my approach when listening to testimony on both sides of the issue. I did not understand why those of the APA (American Psychiatric Assn.) would be so 'up in arms' over a resolution which advocates that school personnel not become involved in medical decisions, but rather rely on those in the medical profession for those decisions.
"Why would they (APA) resist being placed in a position of sole authority when it comes to medical decisions? It became much more clear to me when I watched a video of the APA's Consensus Hearings on ADD/ADHD, held recently. They were having a very difficult time coming up with a statement for the public regarding the diagnostic criteria of these disorders/diseases. When asked by one of the hearings attendees what they looked for as classic symptoms demonstrated by a child who would be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, no one could provide any definitive answer. It was simply that 'you know it when you see it', and, 'if a parent and the child's teacher come to you stating that they believe the child has some problem...' What that tells me is that the diagnoses is not made by the physician, but rather by a consensus that 'something seems wrong', as observed by the parent and teacher! When the teacher is being asked by the school board not to become involved in something that is out of their area of expertise (via the resolution), the end result is the removal of fifty percent of the diagnostic criteria currently being used by the APA to validate putting children on prescription drugs. This raises very serious questions in my mind, as I feel it should in the minds of others.
"One last thing, for this time anyway, relates to the total lack of information being passed on to parents of ADD/ADHD children regarding potential side effects and negative reactions of the prescribed medications. As the information gradually gets out, many parents are horrified with the realization that these substances have the potential to produce such negative results, which are directly opposite of the desired results."
(Articles will open in new browser window -- please read them!)
"Drugs for unruly kids attacked"
"Hearing more like a circus" - by Chuck
"Board to soften drug resolution"
"Ritalin can be right Rx" - by Diane Carmen
On December 13th, TIME Magazine released an article "detailing" 5-plus hours of home video created in March and April of 1999 by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. CRTF considers the article to be puerile reporting at best, laced with filler, philosophical musings and inaccuracies.
The Sheriff's Office of Jefferson County claims it never intended for the tapes (or transcripts thereof) to be released to the public. Parents have confirmed that the office had promised them such after the shooting. In fact, no parents were ever allowed to even view the videos. Sheriff John Stone explained, "I got 'scoundreled' by a national publication. I made a mistake by trusting a journalist that I thought was trustworthy." Stone said that there was an agreement between the journalist and himself not to report on it when the tapes were shown.
Nevertheless, TIME reporter Tim Roche was given full access. While no copies of the tapes were made, Roche was able to transcribe all of the tapes. He and TIME refute the Office's claim that the content of the tapes were to remain sealed. Yet, the original intent of Roche's "six-week investigation" was to follow up on the slow response times of SWAT teams while the shooting was taking place. It is clear that the original intent of the article was bulldozed by TIME when the sensational tapes were viewed and transcribed.
The tapes themselves, in our opinion, provide an interesting yet unsurprising view into the world of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Unfortunately, TIME, with transcript in hand, decided to give the reader only a tease of information on the tapes. A few events and quotes were revealed, but with five hours of tape it is obvious a great deal of information was withheld with no apparent reason except to save page space.
The tapes make perfectly clear, in the words of the two killers, that their parents and friends were not involved in the planning of the shooting. This is predictable since the shooters likely would not incriminate their friends or family in the first place, especially on a tape they expected to be shown around the world after it was discovered. We also know through private eye-witness reports given to CRTF that a friend of Eric Harris, who spent time at his home, saw a shotgun laying near Wayne Harris as he watched TV. The friend also says that once Wayne Harris entered Eric's room and a box of shotgun shells were sitting nearby. The TIME article -- and 5-hour tapes -- imply that the parents were not aware of the weapons whatsoever.
Also in the article, TIME tries to make sense of SWAT-team response peculiarities -- specifically, why no one bothered to enter the school and attempt to save the lives of the dozens left inside. The article quotes one student, Evan Todd, "I described it all to them, the guns they were using, the ammo. I told them they could save lives. They told me to calm down and take my frustrations elsewhere."
"When five hundred officers go to a battle zone and not one comes away with a scratch, then something's wrong. I expected dead officers, crippled officers, disfigured officers -- not just children and teachers," said Dale Todd, Evan's father.
TIME attempts to reconcile this dichotomy, and officials try to put things into "perspective". Yet no argument can be made to soften these questions, or rationalize them away.
"Just before 11 a.m. [the gunmen] hauled two duffel bags containing propane-tank bombs into the cafeteria..." The bombs were apparently set to explode at 11:17 a.m. "But the bombs didn't go off. After two minutes, they walked toward the school and opened fire...then they headed into the building." Apparently, the kitchen propane bomb has vanished from the "official story".
"They were dead by 12:05 p.m...", says TIME, flatly. This is speculation and completely out of line with eye witness reports. On Eric Harris's autopsy report a time of death isn't even noted. TIME says the shooting lasted 46 minutes before Klebold and Harris shot themselves. This, of course, is mere speculation, yet reported as fact by TIME.
TIME made the following indirect remarks concerning other gunmen, "Through most of the 46 minutes that Harris and Klebold were shooting up the school, police say they couldn't tell where the gunmen were, or how many of them there were. Students and teachers trapped in various parts of the school were flooding 911 dispatchers with calls reporting that the shooters were, simultaneously, inside the cafeteria, the library and the front office."
Another concern is that TIME decided to place a glaring surveillance camera photo showing both shooters (see above) on the front cover of the magazine. We feel this was out of line and disrespectful, yet it is exactly in line with what Harris and Klebold wanted.
Click here to read the full TIME article on-line.
APB News article on controversy over release of tapes.
On Monday, January 31st, the CRTF webmaster was a guest on the nationally broadcast radio show "Sightings with Jeff Rense." His appearance lasts an hour and one half. Click here to listen with Real Audio.
February 14th, at approximately 12:45 a.m. Monday night, two Columbine High School students -- Nicholas Kunselman, 15, and Stephanie Hart, 16 -- were found dead inside a Subway sandwich store located less than a mile from the school. Both suffered fatal gunshot wounds. Hart, at the time, was believed to have been visiting Kunselman, a Subway employee. The suspect is described as being "a white male in his teens or early 20s who was wearing a red jacket and flared pants." He was seen near the shopping center about the time the bodies were discovered. Strangely enough, Salon.com reported that Nathan Grill, a friend of Kunselman and present in the store that night, "...was wearing both a red jacket and flared pants Sunday night, but [said] 'I know I'm innocent. I'm not worried.'" A surveillance camera was present inside the shop, though appears to have been turned off. Click for The Washington Post and The Denver Post stories.
On Tuesday, The Denver Rocky Mountain News reports that cash was left in the register inside the store. The store was noted as an unlikely target for a robbery since large currency is placed in a locked safe throughout the day. "It's not worth robbing, 50 bucks, maybe," said employee J.J. Hodack. The shooting appears to have taken place sometime between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. A witness, present in the store at 9:55 p.m., reports that all was normal when the store closed, though a customer was present when he left. An employee, driving by the shop at around 1 a.m., noticed the lights were unusually on inside. The bodies were then found behind the counter inside the shop.
A source in Denver visited the Subway recently and confirmed to us that the shop's three entrances appear to be fully intact and no damage is visible. There does not appear to be a forced entry. This suggests that a late night customer is responsible for the crime, or a "friend" of Kunselman, Hart, or both, possibly enticed them to open and unlock the door later that night. A robbery seems most unlikely. Another source says just after the shooting the windows were shot out and taped up. Were the windows quickly replaced?
Investigators were seen searching trash bins behind the shop, as well as searching the top of the roof of a building across the street from the Subway (a Denver source told CRTF, "I don't believe that the shooter or shooters ever entered the store because I saw bullet holes in the windows on the news...we might be dealing with some type of professional shooter here"). No weapon has been found. No motive has been determined, though a "murder-suicide" was quickly ruled-out. Both young students were a two-year couple and, according to a family friend, Kunselman's father said, "...he's never seen two young people as in love as they were."
The Subway store located at 6768 W. Coal Mine Avenue is just two blocks south of Columbine High School. Slain student Rachel Scott once worked at the Subway. The shop is also near Blackjack Pizza, the former employer of Harris and Klebold.
A series of tragedies have preceded Monday's shooting. Two weeks ago, the body of 11-year-old Antonio Davalos was found stuffed in a trash bin within a mile of Columbine High School. There have been no arrests. Antonio was a fifth-grader at Centennial Elementary School.
Composite drawings based on two eye witness sightings show the current suspect. He was wearing a black baseball cap with the bill turned forward, a black coat with a red lining on the inside, and black or blue jeans with white shoes.
See the links for The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News in the right sidebar for the latest.
In other news, The Denver Post released an article on the 14th detailing the bomb arsenal used by Harris and Klebold. It is now revealed that they used in upward of 95 bombs in their attack. The article quotes an official who claims Klebold and Harris brought the bombs into the school about fifteen minutes before they began shooting. Apparently, no one noticed they were carrying four 20-lb propane bombs and no one noticed them place them in the kitchen and cafeteria. The article does not mention the presence of the kitchen bombs. There appears to be a discontinuity in the official story in that there are conflicting reports on whether or not propane bombs were found in the kitchen. It was first reported that at least one propane bomb was found in the kitchen in a well placed, hidden location.
Also, the recall of Sheriff John Stone has picked up steam and a force of locals are preparing to gather the 41,991 signatures needed to place the recall on the ballot.
In a smattering of articles in The Denver Post on Sunday, March 12th, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office reveals further information on the progress of the "final report" being produced concerning the Columbine High School shooting.
Five articles attempt to dispel "rumors" and explain the delay in the release of the final report. Mention is made of "third-gunman" reports; the Sheriffs Department says witnesses were simply confused, and due to the sound of gunfire and bombs "mistakenly" believed more than two were involved. As for the report's six month delay, parent Rich Petrone muses, "Maybe they're trying to hide stuff."
"'There were conflicting descriptions of the subjects. Reports of people on the roof. All kinds of unsubstantiated reports' about as many as four gunmen'," said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Ron Knight, who dismissed those reports.
One article dispels the so-called "myths" -- There was not a proverbial "third-gunman"; Harris and Klebold did not use "walkie-talkies" or communication devices; they did not have keys to the school; they had no help whatsoever in planning the shooting; no one knew beforehand the shooting would occur; bombs were not brought into the school days before the shooting; the shooters were not members of the "Trench coat mafia"; they did not target blacks, Christians and jocks during the shooting; they did not plan on escaping the school.
The above "official line" on these various issues will likely surface throughout the final report. Whether this information is true or not remains to be seen.
Soon, with the release of the final report, we will be able to determine whether or not our law enforcement personnel have carried out their civic duties properly -- their conclusions will either bring closure or ignite further controversy . Below are the five individual articles.
No second-guessing SWAT during 'mayhem'
Facts clarify but can't justify killers' acts
Author wants report to be 'absolutely
Lessons a balm to personnel
Detailed report nears completion
On Monday, March 27th, 2000, Jefferson County Undersheriff John Dunaway spoke at the Columbine Review Commission, a panel appointed by Gov. Bill Owens. During his speech he made reference to the apparent fact that the "final report" on the Columbine incident will not contain all of the facts of the case. According to The Denver Post, he said one will be an "investigative report" that has been completed but will not be released, and the other a "public report".
Later, Jeffco denied there will be "two reports". Spokesman Steve Davis said there was "some confusion" between the actual "investigative files", to remain sealed, and the final, public report. Nevertheless, they confirmed some information will be withheld.
Parent Rich Petrone complained, "I'm so sick of that sheriff's department...They're so incompetent that it's taken them a year to make a report on an incident where they have the only two killers supposedly there, yet they say it's an 'ongoing investigation.' We're not very happy about it. To me, it's just a cover-up."
Petrone voiced further displeasure, "We don't even know yet how Danny [Rohrbough] died. The stories they've told us don't even line up. We don't know what happened with Danny, and nobody else knows what happened to their children."
Sue Petrone asked, "What do they have to hide? It's like having two sets of books for the IRS -- one to hide what you got, the other whatever you make up. I think it's cruel. This is my only son. I should know blow by blow, shot by shot, how he died."
However, anti-gun crusader and parent Tom Mauser noted, "I want it to be withheld, but I don't want to comment more than that."
"I want the full version," said Angela Sanders, daughter of slain teacher, Dave Sanders. "I don't want any edited crap."
"I've believed all along that they're hiding things, and that's why this report has taken so long and has not come out publicly. The sheriff's department will never return my calls," said Judy Brown, parent of Brooks Brown.
In an editorial titled, "Edited report a crime", The Denver Post said, "Several survivors have expressed outrage at the sheriff's department for offering them only the 'edited' report, and we share their disappointment...Very few people will be motivated to pore over 200 volumes of police work. But for those who do have a compelling interest in this case, the investigation should be an open book."
On March 29th, Jefferson County said that they will now make efforts to answer any questions parents of the slain or injured have about the case.
Brian Rohrbough, whose son, Daniel, was slain outside the school April 20th, responded, "It's just what I have to assume is one more lie, trying to ease public pressure, once again saying they're going to do something that they won't do." Rohrbough said that he has contacted Jeffco numerous times to arrange a meeting to no avail.
Regarding the delay in the release of the report, Bob Miller, a former U.S. attorney for Colorado, told Dunaway, "I have never seen a report that's almost a year in the making." Miller said such a delay would have made a prosecution in the case "impossible." Dunaway has said that some information is being withheld in case other suspects in the crime are to be pursued in the future. (sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)
On the 30th, Sue Petrone said, "If they can show the guns to Time magazine, they can show me my son's clothing." The Denver Post released an article where the parents of Daniel Rohrbough complained that their son's clothing has yet to be returned to them by Jefferson County. The sheriff's department rebuts that the case is not closed and if another suspect is to surface they need the clothing as evidence. Others disagree, citing that the department continues to claim only two people participated in the crime and assails any notion there were other gunmen involved.
On Wednesday, April 26th, at 3:00 p.m., Jefferson County made KCNC News 4 and KUSA News 9 helicopter footage, a Littleton Fire Department "training" video, and some surveillance footage available to the public in VHS video format. Judge Brooke Jackson, on Monday, said the footage could be released to the families without restriction (before, it was to only be viewed by the families at the Jefferson County building). County Attorney Frank Huftless then unexpectedly ordered both tapes released to the public, outraging parents and victims.
"The families are shocked and outraged. It shows a complete lack of sensitivity to the victims' families. It's outrageous," said attorney Jim Rouse.
The "training" footage is about 25 minutes long, and shows graphic footage of the library after the bodies were removed. The entire video contains "background music", including one fringe anti-gun song. It was so offensive to the Fleming and Rohrbough families they turned the sound off the television they were viewing the video on at Jeffco last week. "The families were so offended that we simply turned down the sound so no one could hear it," said Rouse.
One of the pirated songs contained on the video is Sarah McLachlan's, "I Will Remember You". The singer reacted to the release of the tape, stating, "The thought of adding music, any music, to these images for whatever reason is sick, and the idea of profiting from selling someone else's tragedy is pitiful and cruel." Jeffco says it will not edit the music out of the tape, saying such would violate the judge's order not to edit the tapes. A lawyer for Sony Music said the county may be asked to cease release of the tapes and track down already released copies.
According to Randy Brown, father of Brooks Brown, the tape proves the police response was inadequate. "If you want to know how bad the police response was, go rent 'Gone With the Wind,' and watch the entire thing. It took the police longer than that movie to get [teacher Dave Sanders], who was bleeding to death, out of that classroom. That's too long and unacceptable."
Why were the apparently incriminating tapes released to the public? It appears the release was spurned by a mere legal snafu and nothing more -- the county had no other option but to release the tapes. A Denver lawyer, Scott Robinson, said when the training video was presented at over eighty law enforcement venues over the past year, such action immediately rendered the tapes public property. In our opinion, if Jefferson County had previously been open and forthcoming with the parents and families last year, all of this could have been avoided.
In the interest of examining the footage from
an investigative standpoint, CRTF will attempt to obtain the video as soon as possible. Of
special interest to us will be the helicopter footage -- when the footage begins (it lasts
"two to three hours") and whether or not it has been edited.
If you are interested in obtaining the video yourself, click here.
Michael Ian Campbell, 18, was sentenced Friday, the 29th, to four months in federal prison, three years' supervised release after the prison term, ordered stay off the internet and to get mental-health treatment for sending a thinly-veiled threat to a Columbine student last December. The threat was sent through AOL's "instant messenger" service over the internet. The threat was but a mere few sentences that implied he would "finish what began" on April 20th. He warned Erin Walton, the student, to stay home from school the next day so he wouldn't have "her blood on his hands." Campbell, a resident of Florida, has expressed regret and remorse for the incident, and maintains it was a mere "joke" or prank. His person is hardly indicative of a dangerous threat to society.
Campbell was whisked away by federal marshals after his sentence by U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham at a Denver court. He will immediately begin his term in a Florida prison.
Jackie Walton, Erin's mother, said, "Erin will never recover to be the same. It may have been a stupid prank, but that prank stole away the innocence of my daughter." Erin also said she could not forgive Campbell for what he did. Meanwhile, Campbell himself has suffered from anorexia and panic attacks since the ordeal, and has attempted suicide. His mother, Pamela, cried out in the courtroom after the verdict, "You killed him! He's never going to last. He won't make it...I'll never see him again." The Walton family asked the judge for a prison sentence.
Is this justice? Hardly. Rather, it is another example of the mentality of a cadre of Columbine parents and students governed by emotion, naiveté and fear. The "crime" committed was deserving of a punishment in the vein of community service or a small fine, not federal prison. The Waltons are pursuing a zealous crusade of vindictiveness -- of which the "justice" system is more than obliged to procure -- toward those who might infringe upon their upper-middle-class fantasy world amid the strolling bike paths, SUVs and Starbucks cafes of Jefferson County.
Without explanation, Columbine's top basketball player hanged himself Thursday, May 4th, in his Jefferson County home. Greg Barnes, a 17 year old junior, was considered one of Colorado's best high school basketball players. Those who knew him report he was one of the nicest, most likable students at the school, and never displayed any suicidal signs.
He was a witness to the April 20th shooting last year. Through a science room window he witnessed teacher Dave Sanders get shot. One of his best friends, Matt Ketcher, was also killed in the library that day. No sign of depression was evident after the shooting. While Barnes had struggled at times, friends report he was willing to talk about it and seemed to have moved on. Basketball was his passion, and just days ago he was talking of the exciting upcoming season. The community, parents and friends were without words in explaining this death.
Please read the following articles from The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News for a full grasp of this bizarre tragedy:
"Hoops star's death stuns Columbine"
"He was just a great kid"
"Much about Barnes was so easy to like"
Read the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office surprisingly extensive final report here. It was released on May 15th.
Jefferson County District Judge Brooke Jackson also ordered the release of 33 hours of 911 tapes to victim's families under the Open Records Act. This information may soon become public. However, some of the lengthy 911 audio recorded in the library will be edited to protect names and identities -- something family attorney Jim Rouse disagreed with, "We feel we should have full information." County officials said they were pleased Jackson's order calls for editing the tapes. Jackson ordered that the names of "other suspects and identification of callers who gave information about other possible suspects who later were cleared" be removed from the tapes as well.
Aftermath -- Other stories, comments and notes.
April 28th, 2000
By CRTF Webmaster
When fifteen families and parents of slain and injured Columbine students filed lawsuits against Jefferson County this week, their motives for doing so lay in a undivided desire for the truth -- not for monetary gain, "greed", or to make a political statement.
During my visit to Denver, I met for two hours with the parent of a slain Columbine student who filed a lawsuit. I saw first-hand a family that has been stonewalled by the sheriff's office and given few definitive answers on their child's death. What is more, it was revealed to me that the questions posed by this web site are being addressed and discussed by the parents themselves -- questions of other accomplices in the attack, the inadequate response by authorities to save lives, and why the murdered lay lifeless in the school 36 hours after the attack ended. These are not "theories", but serious questions being posed by serious people.
Another parent, whose son attends Columbine High, told me the "jock" mentality reigns supreme, despite claims by the school's mouthpieces that "unity" and "understanding" have taken the place of pride and elitism. Crime in the area has skyrocketed as students turn to drugs, alcohol and violent behavior to deal with their experiences. The parent said questions of whether or not other accomplices participated in the attack have always been a topic of discussion among locals. The parent also provided two names of accomplices other than Harris or Klebold who were present at the school on April 20th.
When authorities were responding to the scene they were told "seven or eight" gunmen were present. When students were corralled near the gym area in the early afternoon hours -- after being frisked -- they were coldly "debriefed" by officials, told not to talk to the press, and that what they "saw inside the school" would be discussed privately with officials at a later date. The homes within the vicinity of the school were evacuated and their residents not allowed to return until later that evening on April 20th. The area was "cordoned-off" or "contained", if you will, from the public eye.
Despite repeated claims by officials to the contrary, the lack of a "dynamic entry" by SWAT teams was inexcusable. Throughout the day officials knew exactly where Harris and Klebold were located within the school. Assuming only two gunmen were involved (and seen by witnesses), why were Harris and Klebold allowed to kill and maim inside the library without a response from officials? I saw first hand, by walking around the school on two different occasions, how two gunmen, located in the library, would pose only a negligible threat to a SWAT team if it entered the school and engaged them. While officials claim SWAT teams had to meticulously "clear" dozens of rooms and halls in the school, the library itself can be reached easily and quickly through a number of entrances. It took SWAT teams four hours until they "reached" the library.
At around 4 p.m. on April 20th, a SWAT team recovered a highly advanced military bomb with a mercury switch within the school. This was related to me by two individuals who talked with the policeman who recovered the bomb. I now firmly believe this bomb was found and its existence subsequently covered-up by the FBI. Incidentally, the officer who reported this has vanished and his existence denied by the Littleton Police Department even though his name appears in news reports. The bomb's presence was also reported in the press briefly on April 20th and never discussed again.
According to a local resident, the reports of a "third-gunman" in a white T-shirt originated from the sidewalk on Pierce St. next to the school, not in the "commons" area as originally reported. Despite reports from the press, the school does not have a "smoking area". No smoking is allowed on campus. When some students, such as Jake Apoeaca, saw the third-gunman, they were standing near the southeast face of the school -- at least one hundred and fifty feet from where Harris and Klebold were said to have begun their attack. Some were smoking on the public sidewalk, the only place they could do so. These gunmen were seen in an area the "official story" does not account for. Witnesses also saw at least one shooter wearing a black "beret" with sunglasses -- not a black hat.
I now believe that between three and eight shooters participated in this crime. I believe witnesses and families have been pressured by the authorities to change their stories and not to talk to the press. I believe some witnesses on April 20th were pressured that day to relate entirely false stories to the press about what they saw. I believe sincere rescue workers and policemen were commanded by their superiors to "stand down" and allow the massacre to occur. I believe Jefferson County's "official story" of what happened is a carefully concocted pack of lies.
I'm not the only person who entertains these opinions.
According to the lawsuits filed this week, authorities engaged in a number of inexplicable actions during and prior to the shooting. Below is a short tally of shocking allegations made in the lawsuits:
These explosive allegations, based on eye-witnesses who have come forward, blow away the "official story" of what happened. They support the theory that there was a concerted effort by commanders overseeing the scene to ensure the shooting occurred without interference from SWAT teams or policemen. In other words, the shooting was planned in concert with the government.
Families have demanded viewing a draft of the sheriff's final report, helicopter footage, and other hard evidence that has remained sealed. These families want the truth on what happened that day. The sheriff's office aggressively opposed any judgment to allow the families to view the evidence. A judge, however, ordered that the families be allowed to view the information, but only within the confines of the Jefferson County building. There, on April 19th, they were treated to long delays and a noisy room where the evidence was viewed.
Allegations entirely separate from the lawsuits support further the claim that rescue workers were prevented from saving lives and that other gunmen were involved. Below are the shocking statements from local Denver physician William Deagle. He has worked for Lockheed Martin, Lucent Technologies, Littleton's Swedish Medical Center, among other respected entities. He currently serves as a physician for the Englewood Fire Department and was present at Columbine on April 20th.
Below are excerpts from Dr. Deagle's February 20th, 2000, video-taped testimony, obtained by CRTF:
"I could talk to you about the details behind the fact that the Jefferson County sheriffs threatened my firefighters -- I'm a doctor for the Englewood Fire Department -- [they threatened] the battalion chief and ladder man with deadly violence if they tried to rescue Mr. [Dave] Sanders. They were told if they tried to enter the building they would be shot.
"One of the janitors that actually rammed a tractor into the building and pulled out some students was threatened with deadly force if he went back again by Jefferson County sheriffs.
"Did you know there were twenty-six federal and state agencies at Columbine? There were BATF in the building. I have three children's accounts -- three -- that were shot, that I personally interviewed, that said [the BATF] were shooting children. There were Denver SWAT teams inside the building at the time of the shooting that didn't engage them.
"I had firefighters crying in my office telling me how they arrived in eight minutes and were willing to go in without a kevlar flak jacket and helmet and were told, 'If you go in, we'll shoot you.'"
I talked with Dr. Deagle by phone and he confirmed all of his above statements.
The press is catching on. Salon magazine ("Columbine Coverup") and Denver's Westword ("Stonewalled: The Story They Don't Want to Tell" and "None Dare Call It Travesty") have both run negative stories, and The Denver Post's Chuck Green, in a recent column, calls Sheriff John Stone, "Sheriff Stonewall". When families of victims rise up in such numbers, the news media can no longer ignore the reality that Columbine is an unresolved case. (We suggest that you visit the Denver Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post web sites and read the latest stories for a full grasp of what is going on -- some of the information revealed in the lawsuits is outright jaw-dropping.)
It is clear the sheriff's office has engaged in a pattern of deception and lies unprecedented in any similar case in recent history. It is my commitment to pursue, to the best of my ability, the full extent of this story. Justice will prevail.
The following is our analysis of the Cable News Network (CNN) television coverage of the Columbine High School shooting on April 20th, 1999.
CNN begins coverage of the shooting at 11:54 a.m. The five hour set of tapes consist of approximately 60% KUSA coverage, 20% KMGH coverage, and 10% coverage by both KCNC and CNN, respectively. There remains a great deal more coverage to be obtained and analyzed from the respective affiliates.
The majority of the time during the coverage reporters are repeating the same information over and over, in a loop, until new information comes in. The eye witness interviews, though sparse, proved to be the most revealing and interesting. It is a shame that the coverage did not reveal the experiences of students in greater detail.
While the word "semi-automatic" was mentioned twice in describing the guns used, "automatic" or "automatic weapon(s)" was spoken during the five hours of coverage by reporters and witnesses approximately nine or ten times.
The word "hostage" or "hostages" is spoken at least fifteen times throughout the day by various reporters. The word "grenade" or "grenades" is mentioned at least eight times by various reporters and witnesses. The word, or phrase, "masks" and "ski masks" is mentioned by witnesses and reporters at least eighteen times. These are conservative estimates.
While it appears there were news helicopters on the scene within minutes, their coverage was only shown in length on CNN until after 1:30 p.m., approximately.
Early on, there is no indication that SWAT teams were ever inside the school. Only after approximately 2 p.m. is the impression of a large SWAT presence near the school conveyed. By 3 p.m. there are authorities walking calmly around the walls of the school. By this time it was clear the gunmen were probably dead or no longer posed a threat to the officers.
On the tapes, there are reports of "at least two gunmen" throughout the day. There are also reports by 1 p.m. that the Trench Coat Mafia is involved. There are reports that two gunmen entered the parking lot, proceeded to the cafeteria and then made their way to the library -- reports which do validate the "official" story.
The information below -- 99.9% accurate as transcribed from the tapes -- attempts to reveal the true nature of the events which took place.
At 11:54 a.m. Jefferson County Public Information Officer Steve Davis spoke over the phone with KUSA, en route to the school, and reported that there were shots fired and bombs detonated.
Jonathan Ladd, a student, was on the phone moments later. KUSA anchors questioned Ladd about a "bomb scare" at the school earlier in the day, of which he knew nothing about. KUSA anchorwoman Kyle Dyer then asked Ladd about grenades. "One of the really disturbing things with this, obviously, is that there may be a grenade, or grenades involved..." Ladd could not tell what kind of device was used in the detonations. Ladd did not see the gunmen and ran off the campus almost immediately after the shooting began.
The coverage then switched to KCNC where a discussion ensued about a possible gunman "on the loose" as well as two gunmen in the school.
"Eventually we all ran outside...as I was laying outside I heard rapid fire, like blackcats were going off and it was inside the school," said Braden Pasusich on KUSA at 12:02.
At KCNC a student named Janine called and indicated that gunmen in trench coats stormed the school and she said repeatedly that they were throwing grenades. She then said to the news anchors, "How did you get my phone number?" and the news anchors replied that they were told she had contacted them. She did not respond.
At KUSA a few minutes later, Greg Moss is on scene at Bowles Ave. and Pierce St. Numerous agencies were converging on the scene. Moss said, "They've also had some reports of some people hanging out on the roof top of the school..."
Kim Sander phoned KUSA at 12:10 and reported what her daughter had told her. Her daughter was in the parking lot next to her car when she and a friend heard some "pops" that "got louder" and she "saw a gunman, in a black trench coat, with a very huge gun in front of him...she said he had dark brown hair, with thick, bushy eye brows, was very, very ugly....this gunman was out of the school, he was up on top of this ledge thing where the student smoking area is and he was shooting down at these students...She did not recognize him as a student, no, not as a student. " Kim then emphasized that she told her daughter to remember what she had seen so to inform police properly, and she felt her daughter's description of the gunman was very accurate.
At 12:12, back with Greg Moss, the camera is zoomed in on the staging area where Steve Davis is shown walking nearby. He is wearing a white bulletproof vest and holding a hand-held radio.
At 12:16 student Bob Saban (sic) describes over the phone to KUSA his dramatic experience. He ran out of the "back of the school" after he heard shots, then turned around and "saw the men...stalking around looking for people to kill". He said he did not recognize them because "they were wearing black masks...they were all in black with some machine guns." Saban indicated that he saw them through the back entrance (where teacher Patti Nielson was shot). He also said there were two explosions "minutes ago" inside the school, which would have been sometime after 12 noon.
Minutes later video from Bowles and Pierce show students running from Columbine to safety through the trees. In the foreground, Principal Frank DeAngelis is shown wandering about a grassy knoll.
Moss reports that by 12:23 "four SWAT team districts are on scene". Video is fed from the staging area during most of the hour, showing dozens of officials walking and meandering around in a casual fashion, with some running or jogging by. The staging area is located a few hundred yards north of the high school.
"It's been about twenty minutes since the last report of an explosion," says KUSA anchor Gary Shapiro at 12:28. Moss reports at 12:30 that "at least two suspects are inside. They may have found where they are, or at least have a pretty good idea of where they are...again, automatic weapons are involved."
KUSA's Kyle Dyer minutes later emphatically states, "It seems we've heard so many eye witness accounts that so many students saw these men...they must have been all over the school!" The camera man focuses on a number of officials in the staging area, from a SWAT guy dredging around a body shield that says "NATO-3" in white letters on its front, to a man wearing sunglasses and a black suit -- possibly the FBI's Dwayne Fuselier. Moss then reports, "At one point, police officers thought they (the gunmen) were on the roof..."
Jeff Goodman with the Colorado State Patrol at 12:33 phones KUSA and says, "Since I got here, maybe a half hour ago, I have heard shots...and it sounded like heavy, heavy shots as in long rifle or some kind of an automatic weapon."
Tony LaMonica in the KUSA helicopter reports in at 12:39. Blurry, unclear and distant scenes of the school are shown for the first time. The cameraman then directs the camera over to the staging area. LaMonica says, "At one point just a few minutes ago they thought they might have somebody up on the roof...apparently there was some concern that someone might be up on the roof." LaMonica says from his vantage point he did not see anyone on the roof at that time. KUSA decides to cut the helicopter feed while LaMonica is describing what he is seeing. Instead, a ground shot of the staging area is shown. The school is not shown again until much later on in the broadcast and LaMonica is not heard from for over an hour.
Moss continues reporting from the staging area, and a SWAT member is shown holding a battering ram, among the many law enforcement officials.
Bob Saban returns by phone and reports back at 12:46. He says he was in Mr. Condon's math class, ran to the door upon hearing gun shots, and fled. Later he hid "in the bushes" and "saw the men" and subsequently left the area in fear they might see him.
At 12:52 a student calls the KUSA newsroom and says he knows the identity of the gunmen, yet hangs up before he is placed on the air. A few minutes later a reporter says that the gunmen may be students, and that "they believe they have taken hostages inside the school."
A student named Evan phones KUSA at 1:00 and says he saw "two kids" in all black clothing. "They both had two shotguns and one of them had a pistol type uzi, a small uzi." The description fits both Klebold and Harris. He continued,"...they were a part of a trench coat mafia, homosexual group."
Minutes later Ed Gawkowski of the State Patrol was asked by KUSA anchorwoman Dyer how many were involved and said, "...it's up to two to three, possibly, yes." The anchorwoman was befuddled that only two men could create that kind of havoc.
At 1:04 a student named James phones KUSA. He is located in a classroom by himself, apparently using cell phone to call in.
GARY SHAPIRO: James, we understand you are inside the school?
JAMES: Yes, I am.
SHAPIRO: You're in a secure area, I imagine.
JAMES: Yeah, I'm in a classroom with locked doors.
SHAPIRO: What's going on there now?
JAMES: It's just really noisy outside. I hear a lot of screaming.
SHAPIRO: Now you say you hear screaming, is that recent?
JAMES: Just as it is right now.
KYLE DYER: Have you heard any gunshots?
JAMES: No gunshots, just threats. A bunch of threats; the guys are yelling out there.
DYER: Do you recognize the voices?
JAMES: I don't recognize any of the voices.
James is then asked to call 911.
At 1:07 a cheerful Emily Kooch is interviewed by Ginger Delgado on the west side of Clement Park. Emily said the gunmen, "...just kept going back and forth between [the library] and the cafeteria, and all over." They eventually left the library long enough for Emily to flee.
James calls back at 1:09. He says he heard more gunshots.
SHAPIRO: What are you hearing right now?
JAMES: Hearing a couple of gunshots. People were running up and down the hall a little bit. I don't know what happened outside. I just heard them yelling, telling them to get down. They're inside the cafeteria, I hear stuff being thrown around. ...I don't know if they know I'm up here, I just glad they don't.
SHAPIRO: ...does it seem to you like there are a lot of students still in there, can you hear a lot of kids?
JAMES: Yeah, there's still a few kids in here.
SHAPIRO: Has it quieted down now?
DYER: It seems quiet.
JAMES: No, not really.
JAMES: There are a bunch of people crying outside...Wow.
DYER: What was that?
JAMES: I don't know.
James is then put through to the police.
Seconds later reporter Hiedi Hammet is on the phone and says, "...we have just been told as recently as twenty minutes ago there were some more shots fired inside the school. The police officer tells me they aren't sure if there are any more injuries because they really don't know what is going on inside the school. They do know there were more shots fired, a lot of people heard them...they do believe there are hostages inside."
At 1:25 KUSA's Gary Shapiro reports, "We have some information we would like to relay. It's kind of a strange situation. James called us back...James has apparently caught another view of the gunmen. He is describing them to us...James can't get through to the police department because the phone lines are jammed up...James saw the gunmen a few minutes ago. He is describing them as wearing hats, black trench coats, black masks, and one of them has long hair that is coming out the back of his hat. That is the description we have. They apparently are still holding hostages in the cafeteria..."
At 1:28 Greg Moss talks with Steve Davis who says, "...we really don't know how many suspects...certainly more than one, possibly two or three, the exact number is unknown." He also said he had no reason to believe that any of the suspects had been shot, or that any of the authorities had been shot.
A minute later Tony LaMonica reports back from the helicopter. Dozens of students are shown running out of the school. They climbed out of a bottom floor window near the cafeteria.
Later on, CNN switches to KCNC where a news anchor says, "...some of the witnesses...believe these two young men were...targeting minorities, people of color, and people who played sports, strangely enough." KCNC also reports that "two to three" gunmen are possibly present in the school.
At 1:42 three young men are arrested at gun point in the west corner of Clement Park in a field. They are wearing hats, black jackets, and camo pants. During the course of the next few hours it becomes more and more clear that these young men had prior knowledge that the shooting was going to take place.
Ginger Delgado reports from Clement Park at 1:52, "Mark Wilson [of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation] says to us that he believes the suspects may have changed clothes. We're getting conflicting reports now because we did talk to one person who was in the school who saw the suspects still wearing the trench coats at this hour." In an interview with CRTF, Ms. Delgado was asked to confirm this incident and whether or not students had told her after 12:05 p.m. that the gunmen were still alive inside the school. Delgado could not recall specifically whether students were saying the gunmen were still alive after 12:05 p.m., though she considered it a possibility and said many students were describing the gunmen throughout the day.
At 2:06 John Furrugia of KMGH said, "...as we were standing here a person in handcuffs was just put in a car who was wearing a black jacket....we don't know if that was a suspect...police aren't saying."
CNN's Tony Clark reports from the scene by phone minutes later and says, "...some young people were brought out...they were put in handcuffs, currently they are being questioned right now. We are told they are friends of the alleged gunmen. They are being questioned over at a car not too far from our location."
At 2:38 the "bloody student in the window" in the library, Patrick Ireland, is rescued by a SWAT team who pulled him to safety using a Lomis Fargo armored vehicle. This event suggests, that at this point, SWAT teams had yet to make their way into the library.
At 2:47 a view from a helicopter shows more students being freed as they come out of a door next to the cafeteria. They are corralled next to the gym, where they are asked to put their hands in the air and are frisked. Officers on the scene below seem tense, and SWAT members guard the perimeter.
At 2:51 a reporter for KMGH on the scene says, "A little after 11:25 this morning...we understand that three younger, armed men came in with, ahh, a couple of them had long black coats on...started shooting, they started in the lower parking lot...moved on through the cafeteria area and moved on through the school."
While CNN did not carry his actual comments, KMGH reporters later on at 3:18 spoke of comments made by student Jonathan Vandermark who said he saw dead bodies in the hallways as he ran out of the school.
Seconds later, on KUSA, Tony LaMonica from the helicopter reports, "Apparently, somebody has just been arrested at gun point...it appears this person is definitely in custody and wanted for questioning." The young man located near the east entrance of the school is led away. He is wearing a black shirt and blue jeans.
At around 3:25 an armored personnel carrier, presumably from Buckley Air National Guard Base, is on the scene. Other National Guard vehicles are also shown. A few minutes later, KUSA news anchors and Tony LaMonica report that some officers "just took cover" behind vehicles -- no explanation was given.
At 3:38 a neighbor near Columbine High talks with anchors at KMGH. She said when the shooting began she heard "seven loud, terrifying blasts". She saw windows burst out and glass fall all over the ground. "..Shortly after that there was a lot of rapid fire."
At 3:48 Trench Coat Mafia member Chris Morris is led off in handcuffs by a Sheriff's Deputy. He is placed in a black sedan which subsequently speeds off the scene. He is wearing black cargo pants and a black "South Park" T-shirt.
Just seconds later, KMGH reporter Anne Trujillo at Swedish Medical Center reports, "We've just had a very interesting twist...police just came out and told us that a car-load of people left Columbine High School and was followed by a car-load of people that apparently, possibly, had weapons. Excuse me, an ambulance left Columbine High School and it was followed by a car-load of people...that possibly had some weapons." An officer with a large shotgun is stationed outside the Emergency Room of the hospital. Other hospitals are also on alert.
A minute later, a reporter on the scene of the school for KMGH says, "We had Seven News reporter Paul Ryerson (sic) mention a moment ago that he had heard the reports that there were shots being fired in the school. We did talk to someone with police and that is correct, there were some just a few moments ago." A KMGH anchor later said, "...those shots may have been coming from the gymnasium area."
At least three fairly large explosive abrasions can be seen from helicopter footage on the roof of the school. The abrasions are above the library where bombs or grenades were likely thrown.
At 3:56 KUSA's Phil Keating interviews a student and her mother. The student was inside the Science Room. She was asked the last time she heard shots fired. "Probably around one [p.m.]...before my lunch hour, and then it stopped, soon after that."
At 4:04 Steve Davis and Sheriff John Stone hold a makeshift press conference.
A reporter says she has heard the suspects had "live hand grenades". The Sheriff did not respond directly to the question.
The Sheriff says there are possibly 25 fatalities and gives the impression he gained this information from SWAT teams reporting back from inside the school. Stone also gives the impression that only within the hour had SWAT teams finally begun to make sweeps of the school. He says things will be "wrapped up" within an hour. What took them so long?
"Do you think there were automatic weapons involved?," says one reporter. Stone did not respond.
Stone said the gunmen (Klebold and Harris) were found "within the last hour".
A reporter said, "I was told by one young man out here that there were three people that went in. There were two in trench coats and one in a white T-shirt." Stone responded, "We had three names, we've got two bodies that belong to two of those names up there, and the third name, the person was not in the school."
"We found a device in one of the [suspect's] houses...a bomb," said Stone. "The fact that you have kids with automatic weapons is really a concern. What are these parents doing letting their kids have automatic weapons?"
Tony Clark with CNN said, "One of the students earlier today told me he was coming down the stairs and saw three bodies there, people he thought had been killed." Clark also talked to witness Sean Kelly, "...as I was trying to get out through the auditorium, I heard around 10 or 11 rounds shot from an automatic weapon at that time...I like to consider myself lucky, I got out in one of the safer areas; however, the plate glass window in the front of the school was broken out, I do not know what that was from."
Clark also said, "There was some talk by some of the students of three individuals, two in trench coats and one in a white T-shirt...the authorities have said all along that they knew there were at least two..."
Concerned that a third suspect in the school might be watching TV, CNN decided to "filter" its coverage of the shooting event, according to CNN's Bernard Shaw.
On KCNC a traumatized student from the library said, "...I looked out the window and there was this guy throwing a pipe bomb at all the cars...they were shooting anyone of color, wearing a white hat, or playing a sport...I pleaded with him for ten minutes not to shoot me."
A student named Josh talked to KUSA about the Trench Coat Mafia and said they had "found God in themselves", that they were outcasts, and that they never took part in school activities.
Earlier in the day, Adam Foss, a senior at the school, spoke with a reporter with KCNC. "We were in the crossfire between the Science Hall and the Choir Room...I think three guys (gunmen) and a bunch of twelve gauges, maybe smaller guns." Foss described seeing "guns blazing", a few kids get shot, and his heroic corraling of 60 students into an "eight by eight" room for safety.
On KUSA a student said, "One of the guys came in with the guns into the auditorium...I'm hoping all of my friends are okay."
At 4:58 Gary Shapiro says that KUSA has been covering the incident since 11:15 or 11:25, when it first began.
"Earlier today our affiliates showed one of the people inside the building, a man, standing..." said Bernard Shaw on CNN. At this point the tape is cut. Unfortunately, the scene of at least one of the gunman standing in the library shot by a KMGH helicopter does not appear on the tapes we received. However, CNN, moments later, did in fact air the scene. The scene might prove that the gunmen were still alive well past 12:05 a.m.
Considering the above, we would like to remind readers that the "official" story alleges that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold -- working alone -- walked into the cafeteria, then up to the library. There they spent about fifteen minutes terrorizing and killing students. After that they proceeded back to the cafeteria, and then returned once again to the library where they killed themselves at 12:05 p.m. Authorities even claim Harris and Klebold fired their final shots, beside the ones that killed them, sometime around 11:50 a.m.
The fact remains that shots were heard coming from inside the school up until about 3:45 p.m. If the gunmen were dead by 12:05 p.m., what, or who, were SWAT teams finding reason to fire at in a school filled with dozens of students?
According to officials, a school repair man was on the roof and mistaken by witnesses to be a sniper with a gun who was firing atop the library down at students. Apparently, the repair man also decided to leave some high caliber rifle shells on the roof.
Officials imply that fully automatic machine guns were never used by the gunmen.
Officials have made no statements to the effect that Harris and Klebold were ever wearing face masks.
Officials claim that SWAT teams entered the school twenty minutes after the shooting began at 11:17 a.m.
The "official story" sounds more like a "cover story" to us.
CRTF has received information from a man named Phillip Tkacz who is a fireman for the Versailles Fire Department in Kentucky. In "mid July" he took a class in Lexington on firefighter safety in police situations. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) participated in the class. The agent who gave the class, William Donovan, is based in Washington D.C., semi-retired and is only involved in "large cases". He was present at Columbine High School three days after the shootings. He presented a number of forensic pictures from Columbine to the class. One pictured showed shell casings on the roof of the school. Tkacz says the casings were large, and likely .223 caliber. They were not 9mm or shotgun shell casings, as used by Harris and Klebold. The BATF instructor would not comment on who fired from the roof. Tkacz says that during the shooting, on television coverage, he remembers hearing reports of someone firing from the roof. Those reports have since vanished. (A researcher in Denver recently wrote to us that "...students have said, in a quiet manner I might add, that as they were coming out of the cafeteria, someone started shooting at them from the roof.")
One picture showed the body of Eric Harris as he lay in the library. His skull was fractured from the gunshot wound. Harris's pants were missing, and Tkacz says that the BATF instructor, "...wouldn't tell us why he wasn't wearing pants. I found that very unusual." Other pictures were shown of exploded pipe bombs, damage throughout the school, etc. The instructor said that the night before the shooting Harris and Klebold used the Harris home garage to break glass which was placed in the pipe bombs. Someone in the class asked whether or not Wayne Harris was involved in some way, and the instructor said he felt otherwise. He also said that backpacks were found with explosives in them, but he would not elaborate on whom they belonged to. The instructor said that the three students arrested the day of the shooting outside of the school were not directly involved with the shooting, though they were close friends of Harris.
Some class participants asked the instructor if there were more than two people involved in the shooting and he replied to the class that it was "feasible" that more were involved. Tkacz felt he was implying that more gunmen could have been involved. Tkacz later approached the instructor and asked him if he could have copies of the pictures, and he refused. He also asked about the possibility of more than two gunmen. Tkacz says that the instructor responded by saying that "off the record" he knew for a fact that there were more people involved.
Tkacz recounts the incident, "From what we saw in the pictures we all agreed that there had to be more than two [gunmen]. I asked the instructor if he believed only two kids did this [and] he finally answered me and said off the record he knows that there were more involved."
CRTF has talked with Mr. Phillip Tkacz over the phone and he has reaffirmed his story first related to us through an email. Furthermore, one of Mr. Tkacz's associates who was present during the class has emailed us and confirmed Tkacz's story. He told us, "I don't remember a whole lot to be honest...The guy showed us slides from Columbine. Most of them from [were] where bombs had gone off...spent shell casings on the roof...Phil asked him if he thought that only two of them did this. I don't recall the exact answer but he said that it was very possible...[Phil] told us that he (the instructor) finally said that he knew for a fact that there were more involved."
The following is a copy of one of Mr. Tkacz's emails:
In mid-July of this year I attended a class for Fire Departments in my area addressing firefighter safety at police situations. The last speaker was a man who works for the ATF. He is an explosives expert and was telling us about booby traps and the sort. He brought along several slides from the shooting at Columbine. He said he was there by the third day to help with identifying some of the devices. Most of the pictures were of bombs that had already exploded and a few that had not. The one thing that I remember was a picture on the roof. It was of, what he said, where one of the pipe bombs had gone off. In the picture you could clearly see at least 6 to 10 shell casings as well. Someone did ask about that but he never really gave an answer. The casings looked to big to be from a 9 mm like the ones that were used. Also was a picture of Eric Harris's body. Someone asked where his pants were, again no straight answer.
At the end of the class we asked him if he thought there were more than 2 were involved. In front of the whole class he said "it is quite feasible". I talked to him alone before we all left and asked him again. He said "off the record I know that there were more directly involved". He didn't specifically say if he meant a 3rd gunman or if they had help making the bombs that numbered over 60. He also did state that he doubted that Eric's father helped them with the incident. I found him to be very sincere. At the time I didn't realize how important his statements really were.
A teenage girl by the name of Lindsay Waters who knew Eric Harris for two years has spoken with CRTF and given detailed accounts of the many exchanges that took place between Harris and herself. (We have confirmed the girl's identity and location).
Harris and the girl played the popular action computer game "Doom" over the internet with each other, chatted on the WBS and AOL chat internet servers, and even exchanged phone calls at one time. They never met physically.
"The last time I talked to him was on April 19th, my birthday. He wished me happy birthday and we played Doom against one another on a server. [He] said he loved talking to me and may not be on [the internet] tomorrow due to circumstances," said Waters. The next day the shooting occurred.
Waters says that Eric Harris "never said racist slurs to me and he never said he hated Christians...Everyday [he said], and I quote him on this, 'school is fuckin' hell for me!' He was randomly pushed up against lockers and walls, called names and just a victim of torment...He said teachers would pay it no attention." Waters says Harris was "pissed off" when he was rejected by the Marine Corps. She said that Harris felt that he had failed his father, Wayne Harris, who has a long history of military service.
She stated, "Harris always complained how he hated his mom [being] home all the time since she was unemployed and it got on his nerves. He said it delayed his work process -- I didn't know what kind of 'work' he meant at the time...He never really said much else about [his parents]. All I know is he kept saying how he had failed them and so on."
The girl talked over the phone with Dylan Klebold as well. She said that he was "a nice guy too; [but] he acted nothing in the manner Harris did." Waters noted Harris's sometimes hateful feelings toward society, but she never felt that Harris would act out on them.
"Eric was not a racist; he says so on his [web] site and [he] is totally against it...People claimed when the killers went in the library they were screaming racial slurs; if Eric wasn't racist it wasn't him...Dylan Klebold loved Rachel Scott, why would they kill her?" said Waters. (It can be postulated that Scott was killed by the same person who fired at teacher Patti Nielson).
Waters also expressed concern as to why Brooks Brown was told to "go home" by Harris. She states, "Why would Eric say 'Brooks go home!' if he wasn't involved in anything?" She was perplexed as to why Ben Mauser was killed since Mauser and Brooks were friends. Why would Harris or Klebold kill the friend of the person who's life they had just spared? Waters also related to us that she has had trouble believing that Harris and Klebold would have actually killed anyone.
Visit this web site for an alleged transcription of Eric Harris's web site (which was quickly removed from the internet by the FBI). Here you will find the revealing, disturbing, hateful, and sometimes humorous writings of Eric Harris. He does proclaim on the web site his position against racism.
The Denver area is considered to be a model city for highly socialistic, liberal government programs. Hence the following:
An Outcomes Based Education (OBE) expert has made comments about the Columbine and Denver area educational system. This source (name not to be revealed at this time) spoke at the Arapaho Auditorium in Littleton in 1994. The source indicates her displeasure in the OBE and Goals 2000 programs. She says, "I have the entire Colorado outcomes in which every subject area was laced with psychological components like; physical, emotional and mental health; aesthetic development; human relations and responsibility, multicultural understanding reasoning and higher order thinking skills."
She continues, "I used an example of how dangerous this transfers to real life, right there on stage at Littleton were I spoke. The eighth grade had a reading section on the 'Real Story of The Three Little Pigs'. The kids had to role-play being the wolf. This was used for multicultural education. In a wolf's culture it was 'OK' to kill pigs. The wolf was now the victim because in the wolf's culture, wolves kill pigs. Transfer this to a real life situation..."
"This society has let the education bureaucrats allow this psycho-babble into our classrooms. Probably 50% of the school day is used to implement 'mental health' programs."
The above relates to the early reports that a "death education" class was taught at Columbine High a few years ago. The above source mentions "death education" as a form of OBE/Goals 2000 programs.
Further vital information was revealed by Denver resident James D. Shindler. Please read the following comments he sent to us by way of email on Dec. 2nd:
"Do you recall that in 1990, the TV program '20/20' did a special on 'Death Education Curriculum', focusing on Jefferson County Schools, and specifically Columbine?
"At that time, the teen suicide rate in Jefferson County was the highest in the nation. They interviewed a former Columbine student named Tara Becker, who elaborated on the seemingly unusual focus on death, dying and suicide in the classroom studies. She claimed that the intense focus on this subject eventually led her and other classmates to make attempts to take their own lives. Some were successful. She talked of field trips to cemeteries, mortuaries, crematoriums and of writing their own obituaries and eulogies, and designing their own headstones, etc., to include classroom activities focusing on how you would 'do it' if you killed yourself.
"There was complete denial by school administrators that any such curriculum existed. However, proof exists that this type of curriculum was being taught, and is more widespread today throughout the schools, public and private alike. When Tara Becker was contacted in regards to her feelings about the Columbine shootings, her comment was, 'Did you think it would go away, when they continue to focus on the subject of death? It's worse today than when I was in school, because now they want to take others out with them when they kill themselves. I'm not surprised at all'.
"I see an equation playing out! So much focus on negative subjects could well lead a student into depression.. Severe depression leads to a diagnosis requiring treatment with anti-depressants, which do, in some cases, lead to thoughts of suicide and homicide. (Tara Becker was never medicated, but had these thoughts anyway) If you look at Harris and Klebold's gradual decline into an obvious sociopathic mindset, i.e. the Nazi salute when they would bowl a strike during bowling class, the time spent playing violent video games, the making of a film for their school video class which portrayed (at least in part) the event which they eventually carried out, and Harris' website which addressed many terrible things, it seems that it would give reason to look inward for the possible cause of such a tragedy."
In our reporting of the Columbine High School shooting we feel it is important that the current social and political climate in the Denver area is also examined. The shooting itself and local social matters go hand in hand. The following is an important reminder of why answers about the shooting are not likely to come forward anytime soon from those in positions of power.
Mayor of Denver, Wellington Webb, is said to have connections with
the Queen of England. It is a fact that Webb has physically traveled to England in the
past to discuss "trade agreements" with the British. (When was the last time the
mayor of your city went to England to discuss "trade agreements"?) The state of
Colorado and city of Denver formed The London Trade Office in 1994, an arm of The Colorado
International Trade Office, in Denver. British Royalty own a "large amount"
of land near Denver through corporations such as Olympia & York and Trizec. Much of
the shady business transactions are said to take place through The Mayor's Office of
Economic Development, a.k.a. The Colorado International Trade Office.
Rodney Stich, author of "Defrauding of America", claims to have a copy of an audio tape of a CIA agent paying off Webb with $1.5 million dollars to allow the construction of Denver International Airport to continue without opposition. Webb played a key role in bulldozing public opposition to the $6 billion-dollar airport.
When you look at Webb's past, and the political transformation he has gone through, reading "inbetween-the-lines" is made a great deal easier. Thus, the following story caught our attention...
Wellington Webb is in Washington D.C. beginning Wednesday, the 8th. His intentions are "to lobby for tougher gun laws" to Congress. In fact, "...[i]f it were up to him...he would support even stronger gun legislation than is pending in Congress." During his stay, Webb will spend a night in the White House as a guest of President Clinton, and appear on ABC's "Good Morning America".
"Webb...and dozens of mayors, police chiefs and church leaders from around the country came to Washington to lobby for stricter gun controls in the wake of the Columbine High tragedy," said the Denver Rocky Mountain News.
"Unfortunately, hypocrisy is all too common in political circles these days, but Mayor Webb's actions take hypocrisy to new heights,'' said Alan Gottlieb of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. The group said major pro-gun groups supported Webb during his mayoral campaign eight years ago. They are now complaining of his "political flip-flop" on the gun issue. The Law Enforcement Alliance of America "attacked" Webb and the gathering of law enforcement officials in Washington D.C. for their involvement in the anti-gun rallies held at the White House and in Congress. The group said that the law enforcement officials present during the rallies -- which included Denver Police Chief Tom Sanchez -- did not represent "rank and file" officials from around the country.
Webb, in a bald-faced lie, said of private ownership of firearms, "The more guns you have, the more people die. That's the cold facts."
"If we don't talk to them, we can't change any minds,'' Webb said of Congress.
It's apparent that Denver is quickly becoming a nexus of global interest and policy. (source1) (source2)
David G. Penland, resident of Littleton and certified private investigator with Colorado Property Bureau Investigation, contacted CRTF in November. Mr. Penland handles security for local neighborhoods and homeowner associations. He related to us that on April 21st, 1999, one day after the Columbine High School shooting, he received a call from a frantic Aurora resident. The resident said that at a home adjacent to his a loud party was taking place in which participants were celebrating the Columbine shooting and Hitler's birthday. The party was taking place inside the home, yet loud enough to cause a disruption.
"The night after Columbine I had a call from frantic resident who said there were youths celebrating the 'victory' of Columbine. We know this individual (one of the teenagers involved) to be a Neo-Nazi type, who follows the pack. I responded to this call and contacted the teens, who of course denied their celebration." Penland confirmed to us that the young man who is a resident of the home has been arrested on drug charges before.
Mr. Penland recently provided the following write-up on the incident:
While on patrol in area of a local homeowner association, I received an emergency call from a resident of another homeowner association. The resident said that he was afraid of what was going on next door in a town-house next to him. He said there were several teens next door having a party and celebrating Adolf Hitler's birthday and the 'victory' of Klebold and Harris in the Columbine massacre of students. They were yelling and screaming "Hail Hitler" over and over, and playing a game of some type. I was the first to respond to this call and I met with the frantic resident. I got him quieted down and waited for the teens who had left. I waited in my patrol car for them to return, and otherwise it was quiet in the neighborhood. Soon they returned and I confronted them about the noise complaint. They denied it, and said they were not home at all. I filed a report with my security office and contacted an Aurora police officer on patrol and spoke to him about the incident. He followed up the next day and contacted the youth and his father. The officer contacted me and shared the results of his investigation. He said the father jumped all over him and the kid went ballistic. We know as a security firm that we have past reports on this youth being involved in Neo-Nazi activities. This he does not deny and he is proud of being part of this large group. He also has been arrested for other disturbances, and for selling and using drugs often.
Penland could not say whether or not the teenagers involved in the incident had any direct relation to the Columbine shooting. He noted that he has seen "trench coated figures" in the Aurora area before. Penland also related to us a number of crimes in the Denver area which indicate a Satanist or Neo-Nazi faction the responsible party.
This incident further confirms our suspicion that the Denver area is home to a large cult underground comprised of a wide range of criminals. That the Columbine shooting was completely unrelated to this underground network seems improbable if not impossible.
Something I personally observed, as well as a friend of mine I spoke with over the phone that day, was the unusual, sedate manner in which students recounted their experiences to news cameras on the scene. Most of the students, with the exception of a few, showed very little emotion when describing the graphic events. They were disturbingly manner-of-fact about what happened. To my recall, one girl described with utter monotony how a girl next to her had her brains blown out. The girl hinted in her voice the slight displeasure and annoyance she experience in having the other girl's blood sprayed all over her. This account, witnessed also by my friend, disturbed us both greatly. This is likely a reflection of the school's culture. Were students in shock? Or has society already numbed us to these events?
During the past year the shooting has caused the U.S. Congress to vote on and pass various gun control legislation. Issues ranging from gun safety locks, to age requirements, and gun show restrictions are being discussed. A national debate on school safety has ensued and the National Rifle Association, gun owners, and gun makers have been criticized by the body politic.
In Denver, before the shooting, a new concealed carry weapon law ready for a vote by the legislature would have allowed anyone to obtain a CCW permit in any county in the state of Colorado. Anti-gun groups were quietly worried about the legislation. Even though the vote was put on hold due to the shooting, it has popped up again, with newfound opposition by Governor Owens. Currently, a swath of new anti-gun bills wait for approval in the House and Senate of the state legislature.
The Jefferson Co. Sheriff's Office. has been fairly inconsistent in its evaluation of how many shooters there were and how many people took part in the crime (See Main page for recent updates). Sheriff John Stone has been consistent. However, he has recently shied away from the spotlight and is likely no longer involved in the investigation.
What we are seeing now in the newsmedia is not careful analysis of what happened and what the investigation has recovered so far. We're seeing more of a peripheral grasp of the event -- the shooting is used as a catapult to propel other stories deployed by the media; for instance, stories involving gun regulation, or video game violence. The actual shooting becomes a secondary element, and not the main focus.
The questions remain. How did so many bombs get placed in the building without anyone noticing? Who were the three teenagers found on the site who appear to have had a great deal of knowledge about the shooting? Why haven't the school video tapes been released at least to reporters? Why haven't the "third-gunman" reports received more attention? Why does the top investigator with the FBI have disturbing ties to Columbine and the shootings? Will the autopsy reports ever be released? Did Klebold and Harris wear masks, or were other assailants wearing masks? What is to be made of the numerous timeline discrepancies? There are even more questions...
The most important question is this: Were there other shooters or accomplices at the high school during the rampage?
The many unanswered questions remain unanswered; that a cover-up could be taking place, with the sheriffs office as the unwitting dupe, seems more than possible.
Special thanks to Ian Goddard.
Columbine High School has a "student smoking area." This report has proved untrue. The school bans smoking.
Real Audio files can be found at the USA Today web site.
Copyright © CRTF 1999, 2000
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