Trench Coat Mafia shocked by violence
Joe Stair heard Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold talk of getting revenge against athletes at Columbine High School. But Stair, one of the founding members of the Trench Coat Mafia, said they always expressed it in terms of "getting into a rumble."
"Nothing like this," Stair said Thursday. Members of the group insisted that they had no reason to suspect their two friends would turn to violence.
"We are all completely sick," said Kristen Thiebault. "We honestly did not think that anyone could do this that we know."
Stair said he last saw Harris and Klebold six months ago and had no reason to suspect they were up to anything. But revenge turned to mass murder Tuesday. The Trench Coat Mafia is a nickname for a group of students who hang around together at the high school. Harris and Klebold have been linked to the group, but members insist they were just acquaintances. Neither is in a picture of the group that appeared in last year's yearbook.
Stair, who graduated in 1998, said the group formed about four years ago to protect its outcast members from harassment by "jocks." The name was given to them by other students because of the long coats members wore. Instead of rejecting the name, he said, the group wore it like a badge of honor.
"Nobody really knew who we were," he said.
Said Thiebault: "We're computer geeks."
Stair said members were not "gothic" and not into Nazi symbols, although some members had checked out books on Adolf Hitler. They listened to music by German bands, "but so do a lot of people."
He said there were never more than 12 members.
Sheriff: May be co-conspirators
By John Hendren and Steven K. Paulson
GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) - Investigators said yesterday they are focusing on three camouflaged teen-agers detained shortly after the Columbine High School massacre as possible co-conspirators who may have planned to join the carnage.
"They were in combat fatigues. They said they heard it on the radio. Well, it wasn't on the radio at that time," Jefferson County Sheriff John P. Stone told The Associated Press.
For the first time, Stone laid out the time line for the attack and also disclosed that a school surveillance camera captured the attack in the cafeteria. Stone's department is leading the investigation into the April 20 shootings in Littleton.
Stone declined to name the teens, who have been questioned but not formally named as suspects. While the drama unfolded on national television, the three young men in dark jackets were stopped by deputies. They were frisked and taken off for interrogation. The men carried no weapons.
Inside the school, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, killed 12 classmates and a teacher before turning their guns on themselves.
The three young men, who knew the gunmen and had previously been associated with their "Trenchcoat Mafia," have maintained their innocence. Investigators tested them for gun residue after the shootings and found no evidence that they had fired guns.
All three students claimed to have heard of the massacre on the radio _ and were able to name the gunmen _ before the names had been released, Stone said. One of them had been expelled from Columbine High School, he said.
The Denver Rocky Mountain News identified the three men who were questioned as Matthew Christianson, Matt Akard and Jim Branetti.
"We were just three punks with a lot of curiosity," Christianson said in Monday's editions.
All three wore black jackets with combat-style boots when they were taken into custody.
"That's the scaredest I've ever been," Christianson said. He said they didn't know Klebold and Harris.
Stone 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 sheaf of papers investigators have characterized as a diary.
Stone said a school surveillance camera captured "the entire carnage" in the cafeteria, where Klebold and Harris hurled homemade bombs and opened fire on terrified students. Authorities have sent the tapes to an FBI lab in Quantico, Va., to be analyzed frame by frame. Authorities previously have not said whether the tapes contained any useful images.
After the cafeteria attack, the two gunmen ran upstairs to the library where they caught many students studying during their lunch hour. They then ran into the administration offices.
"They shot the hell out of the administration office, but apparently there was no one in there," Stone said.
Stone's disclosure came one week after the rampage. Yesterday, silence fell across the Denver area and church bells tolled 15 times _ one for each victim and the two gunmen. Televisions and radios fell silent for one minute at 11:21 a.m. After the tolling, the bells rang out in joyous tones.
"We did a celebratory peal to remind everybody that there is life after death," said Barry Bowman of St. John's Episcopal Cathedral in Denver.
Funerals for three more victims _ Matthew Kechter and Kyle Velasquez, both 16, and Corey DePooter, 17 _ were held. The Velasquez services drew 800 mourners, including Gov. Bill Owens.
Investigators, meanwhile, questioned Klebold's 18-year-old girlfriend, who is believed to have bought at least two weapons used by Klebold and Harris. Investigators want to know whether she knew how the guns were to be used.
Meanwhile, an employee of a local hardware store said he saw Harris purchase several barbecue containers of propane and bags of nails, screws and wires.
Four guns were found in the school. Yesterday, authorities said they had discovered 50 bombs, ranging from small pipe bombs to at least one large incendiary device rigged with barbecue propane tank. If they had been detonated, investigators say they might have blown up the school, killing hundreds.
Investigators said Robyn K. Anderson bought at least two of the weapons _ a rifle and a semiautomatic TEC DC-9 handgun _ at a Denver-area gun show in the fall. Anderson has not been arrested, and authorities stopped short of describing her as a suspect. She has retained a lawyer and is said to be cooperating.
Generally, it is illegal to give a minor a pistol and illegal to give anyone a gun with the knowledge that it will be used in a crime.
Columbine teachers returned to work yesterday _ not at the heavily damaged high school, but a few miles away at Chatfield High. Columbine students will return to classes on Monday _ also at Chatfield.
Sources close to the Columbine High investigation say the final sheriff's department report on the tragedy will begin with a timeline containing the following details:
11:14-11:17 a.m. — Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold carry bombs into the school and plant them in the cafeteria.
11:17 a.m. — The cafeteria bomb, set to go off at this time, fails.
11:19 a.m. — With a shout of "Go! Go!" Klebold and Harris start shooting from the top of the stairs leading into the west side of the school.
11:21 a.m. — Report comes in to Jefferson County dispatch of an explosion in a field at Elmhurst Drive and Wadsworth Boulevard. The bomb was placed there by Harris and Klebold in the hope it would divert authorities there and away from the school.
11:23 a.m. — The first 911 call comes into sheriff's dispatch from the school.
11:24 a.m. — School resource officer Neal Gardner responds to a report of trouble and later trades gunshots with Harris.
11:25 a.m. — First police car pulls up to school, driven by Jefferson County sheriff's Deputy Scott Taborsky. He is followed on foot by officer Paul Smoker.
11:27 a.m. — A pipe bomb goes off in the cafeteria, scattering students and sending smoke billowing through the room.
11:27 a.m. — Harris and Klebold enter the library.
11:30 a.m. — Officers block access to Columbine campus.
11:34 a.m. — The gunmen fire the last shot that kills a victim.
11:36 a.m. — Harris and Klebold leave the library.
11:44 a.m. — Harris and Klebold go to the cafeteria and shoot at their large bombs but fail to set them off.
11:45 a.m. — Harris stops momentarily in the cafeteria to take a sip from a left-behind drink in a Styrofoam cup. They later leave the cafeteria and go to the administration area.
11:46 a.m. — Ten police officers put together a makeshift SWAT team and, using a firetruck as cover, attempt to enter the school.
11:47 a.m. — Another pipe bomb goes off in the cafeteria.
11:56 a.m. — Harris and Klebold, still carrying guns, re-enter the cafeteria.
Noon — Harris and Klebold leave the cafeteria and later return to the library, where they commit suicide.
12:06 p.m. — A second makeshift SWAT team enters the school.
2:38 p.m. — Patrick Ireland slides head-first through the second-story window of the library and is caught by two Lakewood SWAT officers standing on the roof of an armored truck.
4 p.m. — Sheriff's spokesman Steve Davis announces the two gunmen have been found dead of apparent suicide.
4:45 p.m. — Sheriff John Stone arrives at Leawood Elementary School to advise parents that no other survivors remain in school.
May 14, 2000
April 20, 1999: Shooting at Columbine High
18 minutes of terror
April 20, 1999: Shooting at Columbine High
18 minutes of terrorg
Harris and Klebold caught on the high school's security cameras in the cafeteria.
At 6:15 a.m., on Tuesday, April 20th, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold arrived at the local bowling alley for their early morning class. The class was Bowling, and they never missed it. Dylan wore a shirt with the label "Serial Killer" in the front, but the shirt had been seen before and nobody thought anything of it. Neither of them gave any indication of what they were planning to do that day. They acted as they would've acted on any regular day at school, except that after class ended, they left the bowling alley, and did not return to Columbine as they were supposed to until 11:10 a.m.
At 11:10 a.m. on April 20th, 1999, Harris and Klebold arrived at Columbine in separate cars, almost simultaneously. Harris parked in the Junior Parking lot and Klebold in the Senior Parking lot at spaces not assigned to them. From these spots, both of them had perfect views of the first floor cafeteria, and each one was covering a main exit of the school. The two entered the cafeteria a few minutes before "A" lunch began and placed two duffel bags, each one with a 20-lb. (9 kg) propane bomb inside rigged to explode at 11:17 a.m. At the moment they entered the cafeteria, a custodian removed the security camera video tape and rewound it, so the act of placing the bombs was not recorded, although once restarted, one could clearly see the bags.
Their initial plan of attack was not a shooting, but to wait outside the cafeteria for the bombs to explode and then shoot anyone who attempted to escape. The bombs had enough explosive power to take out the entire cafeteria and bring the library above crashing down. Each shooter returned to his car to wait until the bombs exploded so they could proceed with their plan, which was to kill at least 500 students.
When the cafeteria bombs failed to explode, Harris and Klebold met up near Harris' car and armed themselves with a duffel bag and backpack containing two sawed-off shotguns, a 9mm semi-automatic carbine rifle, and a 9mm Tec-9 semi-automatic pistol then proceeded toward the cafeteria. They went to the top of the west entrance steps, the highest point on campus. From this vantage point, the cafeteria side entrance was at the bottom of the staircase, the school's main West Entrance was to their left, and the athletic fields to their right (for better reference, this is the same outdoor staircase seen in many pictures of the attack).
At 11:19 a.m., a witness saw Eric Harris yell "GO! GO!" At that moment they pulled out their shotguns, aiming them at Rachel Scott and Richard Castaldo, who were sitting on a grassy knoll to their left (next to the West Entrance of the school) eating lunch. Both were hit and critically injured. After the initial shots, one of the shooters shot Scott again, killing her. It is unclear which one shot first and which one killed Scott.
Next, Harris took off his trenchcoat and took out his 9mm Tec-9 semi automatic weapon, aiming it down the West Staircase. Daniel Rohrbough and his two friends, Sean Graves and Lance Kirklin, were walking up the staircase directly below the shooters. Lance reported seeing them standing at the top, when suddenly they began shooting towards him. Rohrbough fell back onto Graves, a bullet piercing through Graves' foot. They then turned their guns on Kirklin, standing across from them; all three fell wounded. The two then turned and began shooting south (away from the school) at five students sitting on the grassy knoll adjacent to the steps, opposite the West Entrance of the school. Michael Johnson was hit but kept running and escaped. Mark Taylor fell to the ground crippled; he played dead, and the other three escaped uninjured. As they shot, Sean Graves stood up and limped down the staircase into the cafeteria's side entrance where he fell injured in front of the door. Klebold walked down the steps heading toward the cafeteria; as he descended, he shot Lance Kirklin again. Daniel Rohrbough began to struggle down the steps towards the bottom of the staircase. Klebold walked up to him and shot him in the head at close range, killing him. He continued down the steps and stepped inside the cafeteria, walking over the injured Sean Graves, who lay at the Cafeteria Entrance. It is speculated that Klebold was checking to see why the propane bombs had failed to explode. As Klebold stepped into the cafeteria, Harris began to shoot down the steps at several students sitting near the cafeteria's entrance, hitting Anne-Marie Hochhalter as she attempted to get up and run. After a few seconds, Klebold walked back up the stairs to meet up with Eric at the top.
Once at the top, Eric and Dylan attempted to shoot at students standing near the soccer field a few yards away but did not succeed at hitting anyone. They then threw pipe bombs at the parking lot, roof, and hillside to the East, none of which detonated. Inside the school, teacher Patti Nielson walked towards the West Entrance with student Brian Anderson. She was about to walk outside and ask the two students to "knock it off" because she thought they were shooting a video or pulling a prank. Anderson had just opened the first set of double doors and Nielson came up behind him when Klebold and Harris shot out the windows. Brian Anderson was injured by flying glass and Nielson was hit in the shoulder by shrapnel. She stood up and ran down the hall and into the library where she hid under the administrator desk. Anderson was caught between the exterior and interior doors.
Meanwhile, a police deputy arrived at the scene and began shooting at Harris and Klebold, distracting them from the injured Brian Anderson. Anderson staggered out of the area and made it to a utility closet next to the library where he remained until the ordeal ended. Harris attempted to shoot at the officer, who then radioed in a Code 33 (officer in need of emergency assistance). Harris' gun jammed, so he ran inside the school with Klebold.
The pair proceeded down the main North Hallway shooting at anyone they saw and throwing pipe bombs. While doing so, they hit student Stephanie Munson in the ankle. She was able to walk out of the school and make it to a house across the street. They then shot out the windows to the East Entrance of the School. They walked back down the North Hallway, up to a bathroom entrance, and began taunting students inside, saying such things as "we know you're in there" and "let's kill anyone we find in here" but never actually entered the bathroom. After going up and down the hall several more times, shooting at any students they saw (but not injuring any), they headed back towards the West Entrance and turned the corner to the Library Hallway.
Moments earlier Coach Dave Sanders had evacuated the cafeteria through the staircase leading up to the second floor. The staircase was around the corner from the Library Hallway in the main South Hallway. He and another student turned the corner and were walking down the Library Hallway when they saw the shooters coming around the corner (from the North Hallway). They quickly turned around and ran the other way (it is believed, but not confirmed, that Sanders was heading for the library to help evacuate the students there). The shooters came around the corner and shot at both of them, hitting Dave Sanders as he reached the South Hallway but missing the student. The student ran into a science classroom (SCI-1) while Sanders struggled on the floor. The shooters went back up the North Hallway and Sanders struggled over to the Science area where a teacher took him into room SCI-3. Two students administered first aid, but help came too late. He died at approximately 3:00 p.m.
In the library, the shooters would begin their deadliest massacre. Inside, Patti Nielson was on the phone with 9-1-1 explaining the situation. The time period between when she entered the library and when the shooters entered the library was approximately five minutes. Before entering, the shooters threw two pipe bombs into the cafeteria from the staircase in the South Hallway, both which exploded (one of which can be seen on the security tapes). They then threw another in the Library Hallway which exploded, damaging some lockers. The two then walked through the heavy doors of the library where 52 students, 3 library staff, and Ms. Nielson were hiding under desks and inside exterior break rooms.
As he entered, Harris shot out a display case at the opposite end of the administrator desk, injuring student Evan Todd (who was hiding under a copier adjacent to the display case). Harris and Klebold then yelled for everyone to "Get up!" so loud that they could be heard on the 9-1-1 recording. Staff and students hiding in the library exterior rooms said they heard the gunmen say things such as "Everyone with a white cap or baseball cap, stand up!" and "All jocks stand up! We'll get the guys in white hats!" (wearing a white hat at Columbine was a sign of being a jock). When no one stood up, one was heard to say: "Fine, I'll start shooting!" The two made their way down to the opposite side of the library, down two rows of computers. Evan Todd used the time to move behind the administrator's desk. Kyle Velasquez was sitting at the north (or upper) row of computers; he had not ducked down below the desk. Klebold shot him first, killing him. The shooters then set down their duffel bags filled with ammunition at the south (or lower) row of computers and began reloading their weapons. The two proceeded over to the windows, facing the outside staircase they were just at. They noticed police evacuating students and began to shoot at them; police returned fire.
Klebold turned away from the windows and fired his shotgun at a nearby table, injuring Patrick Ireland, Daniel Steepleton and Makai Hall. Then he took off his trenchcoat. Harris grabbed his shotgun and walked over to the south (or lower) computer desk, putting his gun underneath the desk without looking to see who was under it. He shot and killed Steven Curnow, who was underneath the furthest desk in the row. He then shot under the next computer desk, injuring Kasey Ruegsegger.
Next, he walked over to the table across from the lower computer row, tapped the top twice with his gun, knelt down and said, "peek-a-boo," shooting Cassie Bernall in the head. The recoil from the weapon hit his face, making his nose bleed. (Popular belief has it that Cassie was the individual who was asked "Do you believe in God?" but it has since come out that the shooters asked this same question of several students; Cassie was not one of them.) Harris then turned to the next table where student Bree Pasquale sat next to the table, rather than beneath it (there wasn't enough room for her to be beneath the table). Harris asked her if she wanted to die, to which she replied with a plea for her life. Witnesses report him as being disoriented as this occurred. As Harris taunted Pasquale, Patrick Ireland moved out of hiding to try and administer first aid to one of the two injured near him; seeing this, Klebold shot at him, hitting him twice in the head, and once in the foot as he tried to get back under cover. The shot to his foot blew his shoe clear off. He was knocked unconscious, but remarkably survived.
Next, Klebold walked East towards another set of tables and discovered Isaiah Shoels, Matthew Ketchner, and Craig Scott (Rachel Scott's brother, and popular athletes at the school) hiding under one. He attempted to pull Isaiah out from underneath the table but was unable to. He called to Harris, who became reoriented and joined him, drawing his attention away from Bree Pasquale. Klebold and Harris taunted Shoels for a few seconds, and Klebold made a racial comment towards him. Harris then knelt down and shot him, killing him. Klebold also knelt down and opened fire, hitting and killing Matthew Ketcher. Craig Scott remained remarkably uninjured in his friend's blood, pretending to be dead. Eric then turned and threw a CO2 bomb at the table where Hall, Steepleton, and Ireland were. Makai threw the bomb back out where it exploded further south (away from the shooters).
Harris then went over to the book cases between the west and center section of tables in the library. He jumped on the book cases and shook them, then shot at something in that general area (it is not known what he shot at, since no one could see him at this point). Klebold walked through the main area past the first set of bookcases, the central desk area, and a second set of bookcases into the east area. Harris walked past the central area and met up with him there. Klebold shot out a display case next to the door, then turned and shot at the closest table to him, injuring Mark Kingten. He turned to the table to his left (east) and shot at it, injuring Lisa Kreutz and Val Schnurr with the same bullet. Klebold then closed his distance at the table and shot as quickly as he could, killing Lauren Townsend.
Harris, in the meantime, went over to another table where two girls were hiding, bent down and looked at them, then dismissed them as "Pathetic." Schnurr, who had been hurt badly, began to cry out at that point "Oh, God help me!" Klebold went back to her and asked her if she believed in God. She floundered in her answer, saying no at first and then yes, trying to get the answer 'right'. He asked her why and she said it was because it was what her family believed. He taunted her and walked away (this story was later wrongly attributed to Cassie Bernall).
From there, Harris moved to another table, shooting and injuring Nicole Nowlen and John Tomlin. When Tomlin tried to crawl out, Klebold shot and killed him. Harris then walked around the table and back towards the table where Lauren Townsend lay. Behind it, Kelly Fleming, like Bree Pasquale, sat next to the table rather than beneath it. Harris shot her in the back, killing her instantly. He then continued to shoot at the table behind her, hitting Townsend and Kreutz again, and wounding Jeanna Park. Despite hitting Townsend again, autopsies determined she had already been killed by the first shot.
At 11:34 a.m., the shooters moved to the center of the library, where they reloaded their weapons at a table midway across the room. Harris noticed a nearby student whom he recognized and told him to identify himself. The student was an acquaintance of Klebold's and he asked him what he was doing, to which Klebold replied: "Oh, just killing people." The student asked if they were going to kill him and Klebold told him to get out of the library. He fled immediately, making a safe escape through the library's main entrance.
After the student was gone, Eric turned and fired on the table directly north of where they'd been, shooting and killing Daniel Mauser in the face at close range. Then both shooters moved south and fired under a table there, injuring Jennifer Doyle and Stephen Eubanks, and killing Corey DePooter. These would be their last deadly shots, excepting their suicides.
Harris and Klebold moved away from the table and began heading toward the administrator counter. Harris threw a Molotov cocktail toward the southwestern end of the library as he went, but it failed to explode. He then came around the east side of the counter and Klebold joined him from the west, both converging near where Evan Todd had moved to after the copier incident. The shooters made fun of him and debated killing him but eventually walked away. Klebold fired a shot into the library staff break room, hitting a television. He then slammed a chair down on top of the computer terminal that was on the library counter, underneath the table which Patti Nielson was hiding. The two walked out of the library at 11:37 a.m., ending their brutal massacre.
Almost immediately after the shooters left the library at 11:37 a.m., the 34 uninjured and 10 of the injured evacuated the room through the north door, leading out onto the sidewalk adjacent the west entrance where the rampage had begun. Patrick Ireland, who had been knocked unconscious, and Lisa Kreutz, who was nearly paralyzed, remained behind. Patti Nielson dropped the phone and ran into the exterior break room Klebold had shot into earlier, joining the three library staff already inside; they locked themselves in and remained there until they were freed at approximately 3:30 p.m.
After leaving the library, the pair went into the science area and threw a small fire bomb into an empty storage closet. When the bomb exploded, they ran off. A teacher in the adjacent room put out the fire. They proceeded up towards the South Hallway, stopped, and began shooting into an empty science room (SCI-8) at the end of the hall. Next, they went down the staircase into the cafeteria where they were first caught by the security cameras. As recorded, Harris attempted to detonate one of the failed propane bombs without success; he then took a sip from one of the drinks left behind by fleeing students. Another Molotov cocktail was thrown but it too, failed. The two then left the cafeteria and back up the stairs, as they did so, the molotov cocktail exploded (this can been seen in the security tapes) causing a fire that was extinguished by the sprinklers; they left the cafeteria at around 11:45 a.m. Once back on the upper level, they walked around the main North and South Hallways of the school without any direction shooting aimlessly at anything. They walked through the South Hallway, past the Social Studies section and into the main office before proceeding back onto the North Hallway. Several times they looked through the small windows on the classroom doors and even made eye contact with students, but never attempted to enter the room. At 11:55 a.m., the two returned to the Cafeteria and entered the kitchen briefly, only to return back up the staircase, and into the South Hallway, at 11:57 a.m.
Sometime between 12:02 p.m. and 12:05 p.m. the shooters entered the library again, but it was empty except for the unconscious Patrick Ireland and Lisa Kreutz (who played dead). It is not known what they did between the time they left the cafeteria and the time they re-entered the library. Once inside, they attempted to shoot out the windows at policemen, without success. They then moved over to the table next to where Matthew Ketchner and Isaiah Shoels lay; there, they shot themselves, committing suicide. At 2:38 p.m., Patrick Ireland regained consciousness and ran over to the windows, where he attempted to exit. He was then taken out of the school through the library windows by SWAT team members; this was famously televised. Lisa Kreutz remained injured in the library until police discovered the scene at 3:25 p.m., she was removed from the scene then along with Ms. Nielson and the three library staff.
A few other students and one teacher were injured in the school after taking a 15ft (4,57m) fall through the ceiling above the staff lounge in an attempt to escape from the school. These injuries were not attributed to the shooters. Those injured in this incident were:
- Nicholas Foss, 18
- Joyce Jankowski, 45
- Adam Kryler, 16
The shooting stops
By noon, SWAT teams were stationed outside the school and ambulances started taking the wounded to local hospitals. Parents gathered at nearby Leawood Elementary School. The call for additional ammunition to police officers in case of a shootout came at 12:20. However, the killers had stopped shooting at 12:00 p.m.
The SWAT teams started checking every room in the high school in great detail by 12:30 p.m. Even desks and backpacks were examined. Authorities reported pipe bombs being found by 1:00 p.m.
SWAT teams started to free hidden students by 2:30 p.m. The students and teachers were taken away, questioned, and were offered medical care in small holding areas. Officers found bodies in the library by 3:30, removing the injured Lisa Kreutz.
By 4:00 the sheriff made an initial estimate of 25 dead students and teachers; his estimate was 10 over the true count but closer to the total count of dead and wounded. He also stated that police officers were searching the bodies of Harris and Klebold in the library. At 4:30 the school was declared safe, yet at 5:30 additional officers were called in as more explosives were found in the parking lot. At 6:15 p.m., officials found a bomb in a car in the parking lot, so the sheriff marked the entire school as a crime scene with yards of yellow tape. All of the dead were still inside the school at the time. At 10:45 p.m., one of the homemade bombs detonated while police tried to defuse it.
April 21: bomb squad combs the school, first press conference held
The next day, on April 21, bomb squads combed the high school looking for bombs. At 08:30 a.m., the official death toll of fifteen was released. The bomb squad declared the building safe for officials to enter. By 11:30, a spokesman of the sheriff said, "The investigation is under way." Thirteen of the bodies were still inside the high school as investigators photographed the building.
By 2:30 p.m., a press conference was held by Jefferson County District Attorney David Thomas and Sheriff John Stone, saying that they suspected that other children helped plan the shooting. Formal identifications of the dead had not taken place yet, but families of the children thought to have been killed were notified that this probably happened. Throughout the late afternoon and early evening, the rest of the bodies were gradually removed out of the school and taken to the Jefferson County Coroner's Office to be identified and autopsied. By 5:00 p.m., the identities of those dead started to be known.
April 30: Second press conference, officials don't mention Guerra affidavit
A few days after the shooting, high-ranking members of Jefferson County and the Jefferson County Sheriff Office met together to decide if they should reveal that investigator Guerra knew of the Harris website two years prior to the massacre. They decide to not disclose this information at a press conference held April 30th, nor did they mention it in any other way. Over the next two years the original Guerra documents were lost.
September 2001: Guerra affidavit becomes publicly known
The existence of the Guerra affidavit becomes known to the general public and a series of grand jury investigations are launched into the coverup activities of the Jefferson County officials. The final grand jury investigation is released in September 2004. (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040917/ap_on_re_us/columbine_investigation_5) (http://media.mnginteractive.com/media/paper36/Columbine_Grand_Jury_Report.pdf)
Aftershock and the search for reasons
Analysis of journals and videos left behind by Harris and Klebold revealed that the pair had developed an elaborate, sometimes fantastic plan for not only the school shooting, but also a massacre in the neighborhood and, if they were unable to escape from the United States, a planned hijacking of an airplane which they would then crash into New York City.
In the aftermath of the shootings, there was a great deal of debate about what "provoked" the killers and whether anything could have been done to prevent the crime. The reality of social cliques in high schools was a frequent topic of discussion. Many argued that the pair's isolation from the rest of their classmates prompted feelings of helplessness, insecurity and depression, as well as a strong desire for attention. Some schools also began programs to expose and stop school bullying, which many charged had fueled anger and resentment within Harris and Klebold. Supposedly, the two had briefly offered themselves as "bullying bodyguards" to keep other kids from being teased; however, their actions were inappropriate, and they soon were caught carrying fake guns.
In the weeks following the shootings, media reports about the two killers portrayed them as outcast "nerds" who were unpopular and ostracized by much of the school's population; later such characterizations were revised as both Harris and Klebold were documented to have both a close circle of friends and a wider informal social group. (However, neither were they "popular" kids and could best be described as being members of the school's "rejects", although by no means were they isolated.) It was also reported that anti-gay epithets were frequently directed at them; although their actual sexual orientation was unknown; both were known to have had girlfriends. Harris and Klebold were peripheral members of a club called the "Trenchcoat Mafia" in which they wore heavy black trench coats. A backlash against the "Goth" subculture resulted from both students and administrators across the country. By the time of the shootings, most of the major members of the group had already either graduated or dropped out of Columbine.
According to Harris' journal entries, the original date was chosen as April 19 because it was a date which Robyn Anderson, one of the people who purchased the guns and close friends with Klebold, would not be present. Due to delays in building one of the 20-lb (9 kg). propane bombs, the date was moved to April 20. Some analysts noted that the date of the shooting coincided with Adolf Hitler's 110th birth anniversary, and was one day after the anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, though it was not known whether knowledge of either of these dates influenced Harris and Klebold. The shootings were perhaps plotted for these days because of their proximity to end of the year activities, such as prom (which had been held the previous Saturday), end of the year examinations, and graduation, ensuring high attendance rates.
Harris and Klebold were fans of violent video games such as "Doom" (in fact, Harris often created levels for the game; these were widely distributed, and can still occasionally be found on the Internet as the Harris levels. Rumors that the layout of these levels resembled that of Columbine High School circulated but have been debunked as documented on the Snopes urban legends website  (http://www.snopes.com/spoons/noose/doom.htm)). Some analysts argued that part of the killers' problem may have been a result of their constant exposure to violent imagery in such video games, as well as music, and movies, theorizing that their obsession with these forms of media may have led them to have trouble telling the difference between reality and fantasy. A lawsuit against several video game manufacturers was filed as a result by parents of some of the victims.
It has been publicly revealed that Harris had been prescribed and was taking Luvox (Fluvoxamine maleate), an SSRI antidepressant, at the time of the shooting spree. Some analysts have argued that this medication may have contributed to Harris' actions, and claimed that an alleged side-effect of these drugs is a loss of empathy for other human beings, though no evidence was provided to support these claims. A correlation is claimed between "school shooters" whose medical history has been made public and use of or recent discontinuation of such medications. Other researchers have pointed out that such claims are not based upon rigorous scientific testing.
In response to concerns over the causes of Columbine and other school massacres, many schools later instituted new anti-bully policies as well as so-called "zero tolerance" approaches to weapons and threatening behavior. Despite the horrific nature of the Columbine incident, some experts in social science feel the zero-tolerance in schools has gone overboard. In the months following the shooting, some Christians were captivated by reports of Cassie Bernall, who was originally believed to have been asked "Do you believe in God?" by one of the shooters, and to have responded "Yes" before being shot and killed. Alternate accounts surfaced soon thereafter, attributing the remark to victim Rachel Scott. Both Bernall and Scott were regarded as Christian "martyrs" by many. The official investigation attributed the statement to survivor Valeen Schnurr.
Columbine has also become a household name and is associated with anybody who wants to do a school shooting. Charles Andrew Williams, the Santee shooter, reportedly told his friends that he was going to "do Columbine" (none of them took him seriously). Columbine has also become the model for all other future school shootings, with some kids aspiring and saying they want to "outdo Columbine."
Many people believe that the school massacres could have been prevented if schools had adopted stringent security measures after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, because that is often considered an attack on children.
As well as the two deceased shooters, there were 13 murdered and 24 injured.
Cassie Bernall, 17
- Steven Curnow, 14
- Corey DePooter, 17
- Kelly Fleming, 16
- Matthew Kechter, 16
Daniel Mauser, 15 Daniel Rohrbough, 15 Dave Sanders, 47 (Teacher)Rachel Scott, 17 Isaiah Shoels, 18 John Tomlin, 16Lauren Townsend, 18 Kyle Velasquez, 16
- Brian Anderson, 17
- Richard Castaldo, 17
- Jennifer Doyle, 17
- Stephen Austin Eubanks, 16
- Nicholas Foss, 18
- Sean Graves, 15
- Makai Hall, 19
- Anne Marie Hochhalter, 17
Patrick Ireland, 17 Joyce Jankowski, 45 Michael Johnson, 15 Mark Kintgen, 17 Lance Kirklin, 16 Lisa Kreutz, 18 Adam Kryler, 16 Stephanie Munson, 17 Patricia Nielson, 35 Nicole Nowlen, 16 Jeanna Park, 18 Kasey Ruegsegger, 17 Valeen Schnurr, 18 Daniel Steepleton, 17 Mark Taylor, 17 Evan Todd, 15
/wiki/Image:Columbine_Breaking_News_Photography.GIF/wiki/Image:Columbine_Breaking_News_Photography.GIF/wiki/Image:Columbine_Breaking_News_Photography.GIF/wiki/Image:Columbine_Breaking_News_Photography.GIFStudents gather following the Columbine High School massacre, part of the photography for which the Denver Rocky Mountain News won the 2000 Breaking News Photography Pulitzer.
The massacre was one of the subjects of the controversial2002 Michael Moore documentary film Bowling for Columbine, about the culture of violence in the US.
Photographic coverage of the aftermath of the shooting, particularly the reactions of students, won theDenver Rocky Mountain News a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for the year 2000.
The Columbine shooting spree also served as the inspiration for the fictional 2003Gus Van Sant film, Elephant.
In addition, aspects of the Columbine disaster were the basis ofDouglas Coupland's 2003 book Hey Nostradamus!
The Columbine High Massacre inspired Joseph Suglia's 2005 novel, Years of Rage.
In2004, shots of surveillance footage of the Columbine shooting spree was seen in the music video for "Alert Status Red" by Matthew Good. Many viewers found it insensitive that it included actual footage of the massacre. Good originally pulled it off of his website, but had second thoughts and put it back on.
Before the shootings, Harris and Klebold illegally acquired and drastically modified aTEC-DC9 semi-automatic handgun, a rifle, two sawed-off shotguns, and built 99 improvised explosive devices of various designs and sizes. Even before the massacre began, the two perpetrators committed numerous felony violations of state and federal law, including the National Firearms Act and the Gun Control Act of 1968.
All four guns were illegally obtained bystraw purchases. Robyn Anderson bought the rifle and two shotguns for Harris and Klebold, but was never charged for her violations of federal gun laws. Mark Manes and Philip Duran were found guilty of supplying the handgun to the two youths and received prison terms.
School massacre List of United States firearms topics
All about the Columbine High School shootings, past to present (http://columbine.free2host.net/) Map showing the school as it was attacked, and the timeline (http://www.boulderdailycamera.com/shooting/21map.html) Another timeline of the tragedy (http://220.127.116.11/news/shot0420c.htm) Another chronology of the attack (http://www.boulderdailycamera.com/shooting/22chronology.html) Category at ODP (http://dmoz.org/Society/Issues/Violence_and_Abuse/School/Incidents/Columbine_High_School/) Issues about police at Columbine (http://www.jsonline.com/news/may99/0514swat.asp) Luvox and the Littleton Columbine High School Shootings (http://www.breggin.com/luvox.html) A psychological analysis of the perpetrators of the massacre at Slate (http://www.slate.com/id/2099203/) Information about the investigators' detailed timeline (http://www.cnn.com/2000/US/05/15/columbine.report.04/) Website about Daniel Mauser (http://www.danielmauser.com) Columbine (http://www.bredel.homepage.t-online.de/Buch/Columbine-English/columbine-english.html)
Social Security Death Index Search Results
|Last Known Residence||Last Payment Location||AutoWrite
|FRIESEN, ABRAHAM||558-34-3756||CA||21 Dec 1875||Nov 1962||MN|
|FRIESEN, ABRAHAM||455-18-9761||TX||10 Nov 1877||Oct 1965||KS|
|FRIESEN, ABRAHAM||541-18-0943||OR||20 Mar 1883||Oct 1977||OR||Portland, Oregon 97233||Portland, Oregon 97233|
|FRIESEN, ABRAHAM||540-20-7326||OR||23 Jan 1891||Mar 1963||OR|
|FRIESEN, ABRAHAM||515-28-1371||KS||6 Oct 1891||Jul 1983||KS||Inman, Kansas 67546|
|FRIESEN, ABRAHAM||505-42-0851||NE||25 Nov 1891||Nov 1984||NE||Henderson, Nebraska 68371|
|FRIESEN, ABRAHAM||558-32-3570||CA||28 Apr 1892||May 1977||CA||Reedley, California 93654||Riverside, California 92503|
|FRIESEN, ABRAHAM||570-07-2718||CA||7 Jul 1894||Aug 1983||CA||Long Beach, California 90815|
|FRIESEN, ABRAHAM||562-26-7675||CA||28 Jul 1894||Aug 1979||CA||Winton, California 95388|
|FRIESEN, ABRAHAM||558-32-2458||CA||13 Jan 1895||May 1980||NE||Jansen, Nebraska 68377|
...last 6 hits...
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All rights reserved.
massacre at columbine high
Attention focuses on 'Trench Coat Mafia'
ByBy Susan Greene and Bill Briggs
Denver Post Staff Writers
April 21 - Tuesday's rampage at Columbine High School has focused attention on a close-knit group of students who dress in black and call themselves the "Trench Coat Mafia.''
Classmates describe the shooting suspects as part of a clique of generally quiet, brooding students with penchants for dark trench coats, all-black clothes and shaved heads. By several accounts, the group also interested in the occult, mutilation, shock-rocker Marilyn Manson and Adolf Hitler, whose birthday was Tuesday.
"They sing Marilyn Manson songs and joke about killing people,'' said a 12-grade student who asked not to be identified. "They're into Nazis. They take pride in Hitler. They're really, really creepy.''
"Everybody knows them. They all hang out together and are really weird,'' added Lee Patterson, also a Columbine senior.
Some describe the "mafia'' as a group with about 30 core members with 70 hangers-on. But others said the clique is composed of only five or six guys who park next to each other in the school parking lot.
"They're a couple of kids who hang out together,'' said Columbine baseball coach and English teacher Jason Webb. "I suppose that's going to be blown out of proportion.''
The group seems to have faint ties to the so-called "goth'' scene, but with no ties to other local schools, according to area youth experts and school officials.
"It's pretty clear to me this is a self-styled and self-named group, but it follows a pattern we've seen in other high school terrorist incidents,'' said Dr. Carl Raschke, author of "Painted Black,'' which explores violent youth culture.
"It appears you have a bunch of kids who've been into black metal music - Marilyn Manson - who basically have apocolyptic fantasies and (who operate under) a heavy code of neo-Nazism,'' added Raschke, professor of religious studies at the University of Denver.
"A lot of these kids start to live out their beliefs,'' he added. "They conceive themselve as junior terrorists.''
Some Columbine students say "mafia'' members joined together after having been beaten up by other students.
"People wouldn't mess with them because they were tough and everyone knew they'd beat the living daylights out of them. People left them alone,'' said Nicole Dickey, 15, a freshman at Columbine.
A student said one of the suspected gunmen didn't attend fourth-period creative writing class Tuesday, just before the rampage began. She said the suspect has written "death poems'' and wore an armband reading "I hate people.'' Columbine students refer to the "mafia'' matter-of-factly, as if it were a household name. They describe the group like so many high school cliques - hanging out at a special table in the cafeteria.
A small section at the back of Columbine's 1998 yearbook shows 11 darkly dressed "Trench Coat'' mafiosos smiling arm-in-arm in what looks like a happy high school scene.
Sophomore Jeremy Mullen described the "mafia'' as "a really secluded group of kids, known for drugs and that kind of stuff.''
"They keep to themselves,'' added senior Josiah Pina. "And they're kind of into the gothic look.''
The so-called "goth'' scene is an outgrowth of the punk movement in which adherents wear all-black clothing with chain accessories plus white face powder, black eye makeup and black lipstick and often dyed black or bleached white hair. Women tend to look like TV's Morticia Addams and men like rocker Manson, an idol to many.
"They're easy to spot because they're so ghastly looking,'' said Sgt. Less Williams of the Lakewood Police Department. "They dress that way to give the appearance of a dead body, because they worship death in whatever form it happens to come in.''
Williams described goths as a "small sect'' and "loose knit group'' that ranges in age from teens to people in their 40s. The scene draws from satanic worship in medieval Europe.
In August 1997, two avowed goths - a 14-year-old son and his 15-year-old girlfriend - stabbed the boy's father in his Lakewood home. Police found grafitti bearing swastikas and the words "Kill all n------,'' Williams said.
"This group was obviously a hate group,'' he added.
Williams said certain goths, such as the teens involved in the stabbing, worship knives and tend to be violent, racist and anti-semetic. But he noted "that is not all of them,'' saying most goths "are very peaceful and don't believe in the Marilyn Manson approach'' of blasphemy, violence and parent-killing.
Manson is scheduled to perform at Red Rocks Amphitheatre April 30 as part of hard-rock station KBPI-FM's annual "Birthday Bash.''
Most goths, Williams noted, frequent the scene for fashion and an alternative sense of identity.
"They'll tell you they're having a great time shocking the adult population,'' he said. "They think it's cool to dress up like that and shock passers-by on the street.''
Williams - whose jurisdiction does not include Columbine High School - said Tuesday he had never heard of the Trench Coat Mafia and that it it's too soon to tell if they're goths.
"Any comments referencing them being goths at this point would be a great leap,'' he said.
Denver school officials, meanwhile, said they had never heard of the term "Trench Coat Mafia'' before Tuesday's massacre, though there is "a fringe'' of students at least two Denver high schools who are known to wear black trench coats to class.
Those students are considered part of the "goth'' cliques.
"You hear of kids wearing black trench coats, with black lipstick on their faces. I've considered them more of a satanic cult but they are not labeled (the "Trench Coat Mafia),'' said Patrice Hall, the executive director of student services at DPS.
"We have three or four kids who wear the long black trench coats but they are actually great kids. It's a fashion thing,'' said Ann Bailey, principal at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver.
At the Hot Topic store in Southwest Plaza, a business that caters to "goth'' and other alternative cultures, an employee named Paul said he had never heard of the "Trench Coat Mafia.''
"That's a new one on me. Trench coats could be part of lots of different (cliques). I mean cowboys wear trench coats,'' Paul said.
Goth or not, the "mafia'' group is said to have included the late 18-year-old Robert Craig, who during his senior year at Columbine in 1997 apparently killed his stepfather, Steve Sharpe, 44, then turned the gun on himself. Craig carried at 3.8 grade point average at Columbine and played guitar in a heavy-metal band.
"That was his life,'' a police sergent said after his death. "That seemed to be the only thing he had any interest in.''
The University of Denver's Raschke said Tuesday that the fact that the Columbine rampage fell on the birthday of Adolph Hitler "probably explains a lot more than we want to imagine.''
"These kids see themselves as young storm troopers,'' he added. "They want to honor the memory of the master and these kids seriously look to Hitler the same way that young blacks look to Martin Luther King and the way many Christians look to Jesus.''
Denver Post staff writers Andrew Guy and Ann Schrader contributed to this story.
Copyright 1999 The Denver Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.