The REAL Columbine - The StorySat Jul 28, 2012 20:32126.96.36.199The REAL Columbine - The Story
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.
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