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The Columbine High School Massacre

An account on what the massacre was and the events after.

By Mia O'SullivanPublished 4 years ago 28 min read
Eric Harris (left) and Dylan Klebold (right)
"How many of us have enough trust, strength and faith to believe that we could do the impossible?" - Rachel Joy Scott.

To summarise, the Columbine High School Massacre was a school shooting that took place on April 20th, 1999 in Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. Two senior students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, shot and killed twelve students and one teacher.

They placed two homemade bombs in the school's cafeteria, each powerful enough to kill or seriously injure all students in the room. However, they failed to detonate along with their cars they made into bombs in the parking lot and one of their two other explosives that they used as a diversion.

There is much more to the massacre than what happened that day. This attempted bombing had been planned by the two for a whole year and wanted to rival the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed at least 168 people. Klebold and Harris both kept journals, both of which were released to the public in 2006.

Along with this, there are many things and details mostly unspoken about, like the AOL website, the van incident, their school work and the tapes. With this, there were misconceptions about what happened that day, but first, who were Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris?

Eric Harris' family moved around for a while until his father retired from the army and settled in Colorado in July 1993. Harris was a decent soccer player and wore 'preppy' clothes. He had a hard time settling in his new hometown, but wasn't an outcast as it's usually said.

Dylan Klebold; many say that he was lead by Harris and would've been fine without his influence. Klebold lived in an upper-middle-class family and was very gifted in intelligence. He, like Harris, wasn't a social outcast but had a busy social life.

Harris' journal entries were violent. He once stated: "I will kill anyone who I deem unfit." Harris believed he and Klebold were different because they were self-aware and superior to other people. He also made other entries that varied from him wanting to taste human flesh to wanting to burn the world.

October 1998: Harris wrote that someone is bound to ask, "What were they thinking?" He answered, "I want to burn the world, I want to kill everyone except about 5 people... if we get busted any time, we start killing then and there... I ain't going out without a fight."

Later, he goes on to write: "You know what I hate?... MANKIND!!!!... kill everything... kill everything..." He also drew a gunman standing amongst a sea of dead bodies with a caption quoted from KMFDM's "Dogma": "The only reason you're still alive is because someone has decided to let you live."

Klebold's entries are much more different. Most of his entries were about craving affection and that he only wanted to hurt himself. His journal begins with "Fact: People are so unaware... Well, ignorance is bliss I guess... That would explain my depression."

Klebold would also talk about crushes he had, but most of the time, he would ramble about them until he started to talk about his self-hatred once again.

In March 1997, he would often write about not fitting in, being depressed and his overall hatred for life. He stated, "I swear—like I'm an outcast, & everyone is conspiring against me..." None of which was true, survivors of the attack have said that they had busy social lives and were generally liked by their peers.

Although Klebold's journal was mostly full of self-hatred, he did write similar things to Harris, including going on a killing spree.

Klebold and Harris felt like they understood each other and that they were alike. The two thought they were self-aware and above everyone for this. Like most murderers, psychiatrists have said that the massacre could've been avoided with therapy and psychological help.

It's clear the two had violent tendencies, but Columbine and their journals weren't the only displays of this.

Before Columbine

Harris and Klebold in 'Hitmen For Hire'

"While every other mother in Littleton was praying that her child was safe, I had to pray that mine would die before he hurt anyone else." —Sue Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold.

When he was 15 (in 1996), Harris created a private website on an AOL. It was first used to host levels on Doom, Doom II and Quake. Soon enough, he began to blog, he made jokes about his parents, school and his friends. He also wrote about times he snuck out to vandalise and how he, Klebold and other friends would go out and light fireworks. The two adopted the names Reb (Harris) and VoDkA (Klebold) and they called themselves the rebels.

Around early 1997, the posts began to depict Harris' violent tendencies and hatred for society. By the end of the year, the website contained instructions on how to make explosives. Harris once wrote: "the first true pipe bombs created entirely from scratch by the rebels (REB and VoDkA)... Now our only problem is to find the place that will be 'ground zero'."

The site attracted a few visitors but caused no concern until March 1998. Harris ended a blog post about his murderous fantasies with, "All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you as I can, especially a few people. Like Brooks Brown." Brown was a fellow classmate of his. Brown claimed that Klebold gave him the web address to warn him about Harris.

After Brown's parents found the website, they contacted the Sheriff's Office. Michael Guerra accessed the website and found multiple threats against students and teachers of Columbine. He requested a search warrant of Harris' home, but it was never filed.

Later in 1998 came the Van Incident. On January 30th, Harris and Klebold broke into a parked van and stole tools and equipment. While they were in Harris' car looking over what they stole, a police officer approached them and arrested them. After attending a joint hearing, they pled guilty to felony theft and were sentenced to a juvenile diversion programme.

Both attended anger management classes and talked with diversion officers. Harris began therapy and was put on anti-depressants. The two were released a few weeks early from the programme because of their positive actions and were put on probation. Harris continued his meetings with his psychologist until a few months before the shooting.

Almost a year before the massacre, Klebold wrote in Harris' yearbook: "killing enemies, blowing up stuff, killing cops! My wrath for January's incident will be godlike. Not to mention our revenge in the commons." The commons was another term for the school cafeteria.

Harris and Klebold's schoolwork foreshadowed the attack also. Harris wrote a paper on school shootings and a poem from the perspective of a bullet. Klebold wrote a short story on a man killing students, which worried his teacher so much that they alerted his parents. Along with this, in a psychology class, Harris wrote about his dreams of going on a killing spree with Klebold.

The two also recorded tapes, only two and a half were ever released to the public. These tapes varied from explaining their attack to shooting fake guns at the school. There were two tapes, one that was made thirty minutes before the attack, in which they apologised to their friends and families. The other was a microcassette made by Harris and left on his kitchen table. It was labelled "Nixon" and was recorded around 2:30 AM. On the tape Harris said:

"It's less than nine hours now... People will die because of me... It will be a day that will be remembered forever."

This was around nine hours before the attack.


Security camera footage of Harris and Klebold from the cafeteria during the massacre.

11:19 AM

Seventeen-year-old Rachel Scott and her friend Richard Castaldo were having lunch on the grass, next to the west entrance of the school. Klebold threw a pipe bomb towards the parking lot. Scott, Castaldo and the students inside who saw it thought this was no more than a senior prank. They didn't take it seriously at first.

One witness reported hearing, "Go! Go!" before Klebold and Harris pulled out their guns from their trench coats and began to shoot at Scott and Castaldo. Scott was shot four times and killed instantly, one of these shots hitting her in her left temple. Castaldo was shot eight times in the arms, chest and abdomen. He was left unconscious and survived, but with a cost, as he became paralyzed below the chest.

Harris aimed his gun down the west staircase in the direction of three students: Daniel Rohrbough, Sean Graves, and Lance Kirklin. They were about to walk up the staircase, right beneath the shooters. Harris fired, killing Rohrbough and injuring Graves and Kirklin. A teacher and coach, Dave Sanders, heard the gunfire from the cafeteria and began to warn students.

Harris and Klebold turned and began to fire west in the direction of five more students. These students were sitting on the grassy hillside, adjacent to the steps and opposite the west entrance. One of these students, Michael Johnson, was shot in the face, leg and his arm; he managed to run and escape. Another student, Mark Taylor, suffered shots to the chest, arms and leg. He fell to the ground and faked his death. The other three students escaped, each uninjured.

Walking down the steps toward the cafeteria, Klebold came up to Kirlin. When Klebold found him, Kirlin was lying on the ground, calling for help. Klebold said to him, "Sure, I'll help you," and then shot Kirlin in the face with his shotgun, leaving him critically wounded, but not dead.

Graves, now paralyzed below the waist, crawled into the west entrance's doorway and collapsed. There, he rubbed blood on his face and played dead. Klebold left Kirlin and walked up to Graves, who remembered him, saying, "Sorry, dude."

Klebold was only in the cafeteria for a brief amount of time and didn't shoot at the several people that were still inside. It's speculated by officials that he only went there to check on the bombs. Still, Harris was on top of the stairs shooting and ended up wounding and partially paralyzing 17-year-old Anne-Marie Hochhalter as she attempted to escape.

Klebold went to join Harris at the top of the stairs. Both shot at students standing close to a soccer field but didn't hit anyone. They made their way to the entrance, throwing pipe bombs in many directions, including the roof, but only a few of these detonated. As they made their way through, a witness heard one of them say, "This is what we always wanted to do. This is awesome!"

During all of this, an art teacher, Patti Nielson was inside the school; she had noticed the commotion and made her way toward the west entrance with student Brian Anderson. Nielson thought she was going to tell some students to stop the noise, thinking that they were filming a video or pulling a prank.

Anderson opened the first set of double doors just as Harris and Klebold were shooting out the windows, injuring Anderson. Nielson was hit in the shoulder by the shrapnel. They both ran back down the hall and into the library. Nielson alerted the students, telling them to hide under their desks and stay silent. She called 9-1-1 and hid underneath the library's administrative counter. Anderson, bleeding from his injuries, fell to the floor and hid inside the magazine room, adjacent to the library.

11:22 AM

At this time, a custodian called Deputy Neil Gardner, who was the assigned the resource officer to Columbine, heard on the radio there was a request for assistance in the senior parking lot. He took the only paved route that took him around the school, right to the east and south on Pierce Street. Here at 11:23 AM, he heard on his radio a female was down, and form this, he assumed she had been hit by a car. While getting out of his patrol car in the senior lot at 11:24 AM, he got another call on the school radio.

"Niel. There's a shooter in the school."

Harris, at the west entrance, turned and fired ten shots at Gardner, who was about sixty yards away. While Harris was reloading, Gardner leaned over the top of his car and fired back four rounds from his pistol. When Harris ducked behind the building, Gardner thought that he had hit him. When he reemerged, Harris fired about four more rounds at Gardner. These missed and hit two parked cars. He then retreated into the building and nobody was hit in this exchange.

Then, Gardner reported on his police radio, "Shots in the building. I need someone in the south lot with me." By now, Harris had shot 47 times and Klebold and only shot five.

Deputy Paul Smoker, a motorcycle patrolman for Jeffco Sheriff's Office was writing up a traffic ticket to the north of the school when he got the "female down" call; this was around 11:23 AM. He took the shortest route to the school and drove over the grass between the athletic fields and headed to the west entrance.

He saw Deputy Scott Taborsky following him in a patrol car and he abandoned the motorcycle for the safety of the car. Both deputies began to rescue the two wounded students near the ball fields and another gunfight broke out at 11:26 AM. Harris returned to the double doors and began shooting at Gardner again, who returned fire. From the hilltop, Smoker fired three rounds at Harris and once again he retreated and nobody was hit.

Dave Sanders and two custodians, Jon Curtis and Jay Gallatine, evacuated the students inside the cafeteria. They took the students up the staircase, which was just around the corner from the library. Sanders tried to secure as many students as he could.

Harris and Klebold entered through the west entrance, moving along the north main hallway. They threw pipe bombs and shot at anyone they ran into. Klebold shot a student named Stephanie Munson in the ankle, but she was able to escape. Both then shot out the windows towards the east entrance of the school.

Now, Harris and Klebold were in the main hallway. Sanders was with another student down at the end of the hallway; he gestured for the students in the library to stay there. They ran into Harris and Klebold, and both ran in opposite directions. Both were shot at, and they missed the students but hit Sanders twice in the back and neck.

Klebold walked over to Sanders, who had now collapsed, tossed a pipe bomb into the cafeteria and returned to Harris in the library hallway.

Sanders made his way toward the science area and a teacher took him into a classroom that was hiding 30 students. Aaron Hancey, a student who had extensive knowledge of first aid, was brought to the classroom from another by some teachers, despite the shootings.

Another student named Kevin Starkey and a teacher named Teresa Miller helped Hancey administer first aid to Sanders. For three hours, they tried to stop the bleeding with shirts from the students and kept him talking. Using a phone that was in the room, Miller and a few other students kept in contact with police outside the school.

Now, Harris and Klebold were done with the hallway. They turned a corner straight to the library.

11:29 AM to 11:36 AM

This was the beginning of the end and what is now known as The Library Massacre.

As the shooting was going on, Patti Nielson was talking to emergency services, telling her story and telling the students to take cover beneath the desks. Transcripts say that her call was received by an operator at 11:25:18 AM, there were 52 students, two teachers and two librarians in the library.

Harris threw a bomb down the hallway before entering.

Harris fired his shotgun at a desk twice. A student, Evan Todd, had been standing near a pillar when the shooters entered and he took cover behind a copier. Todd was hit by a few wood splinters in the eye and lower back, but he wasn't seriously injured. He then went to hide behind the administrative counter.

Disabled student Kyle Velasques was sitting at the north row of computers. Klebold fired his shotgun at him twice, hitting him in the head and back. Velasques didn't survive.

They put their duffel bags filled with ammunition at the low row of computers and reloaded there. They walked between the computer rows, toward the windows that faced the outside staircase. They—especially Klebold—began shouting and speaking to all students in the library.

Throughout the library massacre, they ordered everyone to get up and said that it would explode. They also talked about how long they had been waiting for this and were enjoying it. They'd shoot and then cheer. They repeatedly ordered the jocks to stand up, and one of them said, "Anybody wearing a white hat or a sports emblem on it is dead." Wearing a white baseball cap at Columbine was a tradition among the sports team members. Of course, nobody stood up and the students with the hats tried to hide them.

They noticed the police were evacuating students outside the school, so, they shot out windows in the direction of the police. Officers returned fire and Harris and Klebold retreated. Nobody was injured.

Klebold took off his trench coat, he shouted for all the jocks to stand up, once nobody did, he said, "Fine! I'll just start shooting!" Then, he fired his shotgun at a nearby table, injuring all three students, Patrick Ireland, Daniel Steepleton and Makai Hall, that were hiding underneath.

Harris walked over to the lower row of computer desks. He went down on one knee and fired a shot from his shotgun under the first desk. He hit 14-year-old Steven Curnow in the neck. He didn't survive.

Then, he continued to shoot under the adjacent desk. He injured 17-year-old Kacey Ruegsegger; one shot went through her right shoulder and another grazed her neck, which ended up severing a major artery. When she started to gasp in pain, Harris teased her, saying, "Quit your bitching."

Harris continued and walked to a table south of the lower computer table. He slapped the surface twice and knelt down, saying "peek-a-boo" to 17-year-old Cassie Bernall before he shot her once in the head, killing her. However, he had been holding the shotgun with one hand, and it hit his face in recoil, breaking his nose. He told Klebold what had happened and so Klebold responded: "Why'd you do that?

After killing Bernall, Harris turned to the next table where Bree Pasquale was sitting next to the table, not under it. Harris' nose was bleeding and he had blood all around his mouth. He asked Pasquale if she wanted to die, and she pleaded for her life.

Harris laughed at her and responded, "Everyone's gonna die."

When Klebold told him to shoot her, he said: "No, we're gonna blow up the school anyway."

Klebold then noticed Ireland trying to provide help to Hall, who had a wound to his knee. While he tried to help, Ireland's head rose above the table, then Klebold hit him twice on his head and once on his foot. Ireland was unconscious, but he survived.

Klebold walked to another table, where 18-year-old Isaiah Shoels, 16-year-old Craig Scott (Rachel's younger brother) and Matthew Kechter were hiding underneath the table. Klebold shouted racist slurs at Shoels and tried to pull him out from under the table.

Once he noticed Klebold and Shoels, Harris left Pasquale and joined Klebold. They taunted Shoels for a few moments, mainly making racial comments at him. Then, they both fired under the table; Harris shot Shoels once in the chest, which killed him, and Klebold shot and killed Kechter.

Shoels wasn't shot in the head, but Klebold commented, "I didn't know black brains could fly that far."

During this, Scott was uninjured, but lying in his friends' blood, terrified. Harris then yelled; "Who's ready to die next?!"

Harris turned and threw a "cricket" at the table where Hall, Steepleton and Ireland were. It landed on Steepleton's thigh; Hall rapidly tossed it behind them and it exploded mid-air. Harris went to the bookcases between the west and centre section of the tables. He jumped on one of the shelves and shook it, in an attempt to topple it. He then shot at the books that had fallen.

Klebold went to the east area and Harris walked from the bookcase, past the central area to meet Klebold. The latter shot at a display case next to the door and turned and shot toward the table closest to them. The bullets injured 17-year-old Mark Kintgen in the head and shoulder. He then went to fire at the table to his left, he injured 18-year-old, Lisa Freutz, Valeen Schnurr and Lauren Townsend with the same blast.

Klebold moved to the same table and fired several shots with his TEC-9, killing Lauren Townsend.

The seriously injured Valeen Schnurr began to scream, "Oh my God! Oh my God!" Klebold asked her if she believed in God; when she said she did, Klebold asked, "Why? God is gay." He reloaded but walked away from the table.

Harris walked to another table where two girls were hiding. He looked at them and called them pathetic. He went to another table, fired twice and injured 16-year-olds Nicole Nowlen and John Tomlin. Tomlin tried to move from under the table, but Klebold shot and killed him.

Harris walked back to the other side of the table, where Townsend was laying dead. Behind that table, 16-year-old Kelly Fleming had sat next to the table as there wasn't enough space underneath. Harris shot Fleming with his shotgun in the back, killing her.

He shot at the table behind Fleming. He hit Townsend's body, Kreutz, again, and wounded 18-year-old Jeanna Park. They went to the centre of the library and reloaded their weapons at a table.

Harris pointed his carbine under a table, but the student he aimed at moved out of the way. Harris turned his gun back on him and told him to identify himself. It was an acquaintance of Klebold's, John Savage. He asked Klebold what they were doing, Klebold shrugged and answered, "killing people." Savage asked if they were going to kill him. Due to a fire alarm, Klebold didn't hear him and asked, "What?" Savage asked again and Klebold said no and told him to run. Savage got up and ran, escaping through the library's main entrance.

When Savage left, Harris fired his carbine at the table, north of where he had been. He hit the ear and hand of 15-year-old Daniel Mauser. It's uncertain what he did, but Mauser either shoved a chair at Harris or grabbed his leg. Harris shot him at close range in the centre of his face, killing him.

Harris and Klebold moved south and randomly fired under another table. They critically injured two 17-year-olds, Austin Eubanks and Jennifer Doyle. They fatally wounded 17-year-old Corey DePooter.

He was the last to die in the Library Massacre at 11:35 AM.

There were no more victims. They killed 10 people and wounded 12. Out of the 56 hostages, 34 were unharmed. Later investigations revealed they had enough ammunition to kill them all.

Several witnesses heard them comment that they found no more thrill in shooting people. Klebold said, "Maybe we should start knifing people, that might be more fun." They moved from the centre table and went to the library's main counter. Harris threw a Molotov cocktail at the southwestern end of the library, but it failed to explode. Harris went around the east side of the counter and Klebold joined him from the west. They were close to where Todd had moved after being wounded.

Klebold pulled out a chair and pointed his TEC-9 at Todd. He commented, "Look what we have here."

Harris, seemingly disoriented from his broken nose asked, "What?"

Klebold responded, "Just some fat fuck." Todd was wearing a white hat.

Klebold asked if he was a jock. Todd said he wasn't and Klebold responded, "That's good, we don't like jocks." Klebold demanded to see his face, and Todd partly lifted his hat so his face would remain obscured. Klebold asked Todd to give him a reason why she shouldn't kill him, Todd responded, "I don't want trouble."

Klebold, angrily responded, "Trouble? You don't even know what fucking trouble is!"

Todd tried to correct himself: "That's not what I meant! I mean, I don't have a problem with you guys. I never will and I never did."

Klebold told Harris, "I'm gonna let this fat fuck live. You can have at him if you want to."

Harris didn't pay much attention to the exchange. He looked over at Klebold and said: "Let's go to the commons." Klebold fired into an open library staff break room, where he hit a small TV. When Harris began to walk away, Klebold stopped and said, "Wait a minute! There's one more thing!" Then, he picked up a chair next to the counter under which Patti Nielson was hiding under and slammed the chair down on top of the computer terminal and counter.

Klebold joined Harris at the library's entrance and walked out at 11:36 AM. Fearing their return, the survivors started to evacuate the library. They went through the north emergency exit door, which led to the sidewalk adjacent to the west entrance. Craig Scott helped Kacey Ruegsegger out of the school; if he didn't, she most likely would've bled to death.

Patrick Ireland was unconscious and left behind. Lisa Kreutz, unable to move, was left behind. Patti Nielson crawled into the exterior breakroom, where Klebold had fired at, and she hid in a cupboard.

12:08 PM

After they left, Harris and Klebold went into the science area, in which they caused a fire in an empty storage closet. A teacher who was hidden in an adjacent room put it out.

They went back to the commons at 11:44 PM. They were caught on security cameras, and the footage shows Harris kneeling on the landing and firing at one of the propane bombs, which didn't detonate, even after being shot. Klebold examined the bomb and Harris took a drink from a leftover cup. Klebold then lit a Molotov cocktail and threw it at the bomb. They left at 11:46 AM, a few seconds after the cocktail exploded. A minute later, the gallon of fuel attached to the bomb lit up and blew out a few windows. This was extinguished by the fire sprinklers though.

They went back to the main north and south hallways, shooting aimlessly. They also walked through into the main office before going back to the north hallway. Harris and Klebold would look through windows of the classroom doors, making eye contact with students they saw and laughed at them, but never tried to get in.

Both also taunted students that were hiding in the bathrooms, they made comments like: "We know you're in there," and "Let's kill anyone we find here," but once again never attempted to enter. At 11:56 AM, they went back to the cafeteria and went into the school kitchen for a short amount of time. At 12:00 PM, they went back up the staircase and into the south hallway.

Harris and Klebold returned to the library. Now, their car bombs were set to detonate, but both failed. Patrick Ireland and Lisa Kreutz were still there. The shooters broke the west windows at 12:02 PM. They shot at police, who returned fire. Nobody was injured.

At 12:08 PM, two gunshots went off. These were the shots that killed Harris and Klebold.

Harris sat down with his back to a bookshelf and shot himself with his shotgun through the roof of the mouth. After Harris' death, Klebold lit a Molotov cocktail on the table under which Ireland was hiding. It momentarily caught fire. Then, Klebold went on his knees and shot himself in the left temple with his TEC-9.

The Crisis Ends

The Victims of Columbine.

"They did not kill their spirits. They did not kill our spirits either." - Tom Mauser, father of victim Daniel Mauser.

By noon, SWAT teams were outside the school and ambulances started to take the wounded to hospitals. Pipe bombs were reported by 1:00 PM and two SWAT teams entered at 1:09 PM. They discovered students and teachers hiding in classrooms. They entered the school at the opposite end of the library.

Patrick Ireland kept regaining and losing consciousness. He was paralyzed on his right side, so, he crawled to the library windows. On live television at 2:38 PM, he hung out the window, with the intent to be caught by two SWAT team members that were standing on the roof of an emergency vehicle. Instead, they missed and he landed on the vehicle's roof in a pool of his blood. He was then known as "the boy in the windows."

"When I fell out the window, I knew somebody would catch me. That's what I need to tell you: that I knew the loving world was there all the time." - Patrick Ireland.

The SWAT team members were criticized for allowing Ireland to drop more than seven feet while doing nothing to break his fall or to try and lower him down slowly.

Lisa Kreutz, shot in the shoulder, arms, hand and thigh, remained in the library. She tried to move but got light-headed. She kept track of time by the school's bells until police arrived.

At 2:15 PM, a sign was placed in a window saying: "1 bleeding to death." This was an attempt to alert the emergency services of Dave Sander's location and condition. Police thought it was a ruse by the shooters at first.

The sign was spotted at 2:30 PM, and by 2:40 PM, SWAT evacuated the room and made the call for a paramedic. Hancey and Starkey didn't want to leave Sanders as they feared without their help, he'd die before he got help.

By 2:40 PM, SWAT officers moved Sanders to an easily accessible storage room. As they did, a paramedic arrived and found Sanders had no pulse. He died after everyone was evacuated, making Hancey and Starkey's worries correct. Sanders was the only teacher to die in the massacre.

Kreutz was evacuated at 3:22 PM with Patti Nielson, Brian Anderson and three library staff who were hidden in the rooms adjacent to the library. The bodies in the library were found by 3:30 PM. Sherrif Stone estimated 25 dead students and teachers, fifty wounded and called the massacre a suicide mission at 4:00 PM. Bill Clinton had also made a statement about the massacre.

Stone said that the police officers were searching Harris and Klebold's bodies as they feared they booby-trapped corpses with more pipe bombs, including their own. At 4:30 PM, the school was declared safe. An hour later, more officers were called in as more explosives were found on the roof and in the parking lot.

Around 6:15 PM, officials found Klebold's car bomb and Stone marked the entire school a crime scene. At 10:40 PM, a bomb squad member accidentally lit a match attached to a bomb they were disposing of. The bomb detonated inside the trailer, but nobody was injured.

Klebold's car was then repaired and in 2006, was put up for auction.

On the morning of April 21st, the official death toll was released. These are the victims of Columbine:

RachelScott, 17. Killed on the grass outside west entrance by Eric Harris.

DanielRohrbough, 15. Killed at bottom of stairs leading to the west entrance by EricHarris.

WilliamDavidSanders, 47 (teacher). Shot in hallway adjacent library by

EricHarris and died of blood loss in a science classroom.

KyleVelasquez, 16. Killed while sat on a chair near the middle of the north computer table in the library by DylanKlebold.

StevenCurnow, 14. Killed at the west end of the south computer table in the library by EricHarris.

CassieBernall, 17. Killed under table 19 of the library by EricHarris.

IsaiahShoels, 18. Killed under table 16 of the library by EricHarris.

MatthewKechter, 16. Killed under table 16 of the library by DylanKlebold.

LaurenTownsend, 18. Killed under table 2 of the library by DylanKlebold.

JohnTomlin, 16. Killed next to table 6 of the library by DylanKlebold, after being already wounded by EricHarris.

KellyFleming, 16. Killed next to table 2 of the library by EricHarris.

DanielMauser, 15. Killed under table 9 by EricHarris.

CoreyDePooter, 17. Killed under table 14 by both shooters.

EricHarris, 18 (perpetrator). Suicide next to a bookshelf at the southwest corner of the library.

Dylan Klebold, 17 (perpetrator). Suicide next to a bookshelf at the southwest corner of the library

Eric Harris killed 8 students and 1 teacher, and Dylan Klebold killed 5 students.

There were additional deaths related to the tragedy. Several of the former students and teachers suffered from PTSD. Six months after the massacre, Anne Marie Hochhalter's mother committed suicide in May 2000. Austin Eubanks later died in 2019. He was injured during the shooting and was heavily medicated. This lead to an opioid addiction, which he overcame and spoke publicly about. He was 37.

Columbine's effect can still be seen today. Parts of the True Crime Community fantasise and glorify what Harris, Klebold and many other killers have done. These people are mostly teenage girls who write fan fiction and fantasise about these killers.

There are multiple reasons why these people do this, but it mainly comes from a toxic branch of pity. They may see a broken child in these killers and think that they could 'fix' them. This mostly passes as a phase in these people after a while.

In August 1999, students returned to the school and the principal Frank Deangelis lead a rally of students, all wearing "We Are Columbine" shirts.

Memorials for the students were also put up. In 2000, the youth advocate Melissa Helmbrecht organised an event in Denver featuring two survivors called "A Call to Hope." The library was removed and replaced with an Atrium. In 2001, they built a new library called the HOPE memorial library.

On February 26th, 2004, thousands of pieces of evidence from the massacre were all put on display at the Jeffco Fairgrounds in Golden. A permanent memorial "to honour and remember the victims of the April 20th 1999 shootings at Columbine High School," began to be planned in June 299. It was dedicated on September 21st, 2007 in Clement Park. The memorial fundraised $1.5 million in donations over the eight years of planning.

The designing took three and a half year. It included feedback from the victims' families, survivors and the high school's students, staff and the community.

At that time, Columbine was America's biggest school shooting. It's one of the most well known now, and even after 20 years it is still an important topic. With the rise in gun crime and debates about gun control in America currently, topics like these are becoming more and more important.

With this, it's best to remember the victims.

"I think she would be proud of my family. I hope to see her one day again. If she were somehow aware of what has happened with her story and her legacy and to say, 'nice job, little bro,' that would be pretty cool." - Craig Scott about his sister's message and legacy.

About the Creator

Mia O'Sullivan

I love to research and write about crimes, especially more unknown serials killers. It's interesting to look into the life of the gory and disturbing.

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