Columbine victims | 911 Calls | Columbine 911 Dispatch Recording
Columbine High School
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The following is a copy of the 911 dispatch tape recording that Jefferson County released to the public. This excerpt is a small sample of the amount of radio traffic which emergency dispatchers had to deal with during the shootings on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School. At points, the police band was so flooded with radio call-ins, deputies on scene couldn't contact them. So, some of their reports were delayed, adding to the confusion about where the shooters were. They were eventually able to bring in more dispatchers to field the high amount of 911 calls and radio broadcasts.

This snippet starts at 11:26 a.m. when Deputy Neil Gardner was on the scene and Eric Harris was actively shooting at him. Deputies names have been added where their reports have been identified.

Dispatcher: ...Shots fired at Columbine High School, 6201 South Pierce, possibly the south lower lots toward the east end. One female is down.


Dispatcher: 71

Deputy Neil Gardner: Shots in the building. I need somebody in the south lot with me.

Dispatcher: MC-2's in the area.

Dispatcher: 140 enroute. 11:26 (dispatcher gives time of broadcast).

[unintelligible field radio with siren in background]

Dispatcher: [unintelligible] 11:26

[unintelligible, officers acknowledging their response]

Deputy Neil Gardner: Several shots. Code 33.

Dispatcher: 71. Several shots fired. Columbine High School. Use caution....


Dispatcher: [unintelligible] You were covered.

[unintelligible field unit]

Dispatcher: Copy. Attention. All units, there's a code three on this channel. For the officers at Columbine High. Take your traffic to channel two....

[unintelligible field unit]

Dispatcher: [unintelligible] 11:27

Officer: 41

Dispatcher: 41

Officer: Yeah, the alarm's OK. Enroute down to Columbine.

Dispatcher: 11:27

Officer: 27. I'm coming in the area.

Dispatcher: 71 requested assistance at the south lower lot.

Officer: At the lot?

Dispatcher: [unintelligible] at the lot. That's where we had the female down....

[unintelligible] 127 [unintelligible]

Officer: OK ... We've got the pupils leaving the grounds.

Dispatcher: [unintelligible] I have report of possible grenades in the school.

Officer: 147

Dispatcher: 147

Officer: [unintelligible] teacher thinks somebody is in the school with a gun.

Dispatcher: Report units of possible parties inside the school with weapons. Also we have reports from outside the school that possibly grenades are being thrown from the roof of the school.

Officer: 27. I'm set up on Pierce at the, uh, south side lot.

Dispatcher: Pierce south side of the lot.... [unintelligible]

Officer: 44. I'll be set up on the west side of the back of the school, by the ball field.

Officer: MC-2. I've got the west side by the ball field. Supposedly they're in black trench coats.

Dispatcher: MC-2. West side by the ball fields, parties in trench coats, possibly has a shotgun.

Officer: [unintelligible] copy.

Officer: [unintelligible]

Dispatcher: Last unit

Deputy Neil Gardner: 71

Dispatcher: 71

Deputy Neil Gardner: [unintelligible] ambulance here also.

Dispatcher: OK, we'll advise [unintelligible]

Officer: [unintelligible]

Dispatcher: 144

Officer: With MC-2

Dispatcher: 144 with MC-2 at 11:29.

Dispatcher: ... 71, is your ambulance needed in the lower lot south side?

Deputy Neil Gardner: They need to stay away for now. Break.

Dispatcher: Copy. They're staging. Go ahead.

Officer: We've got a couple shots off at the shooter on the southeast end. Southwest, I'm sorry.

Dispatcher: Is it southwest or southeast?

Officer: Southwest and it's a big gun.

Dispatcher: Southwest side with a large weapon.

Officer: I'm on scene. Where does he want me?

Dispatcher: 71, where do you want 141?

Deputy Scott Taborsky: 144, myself, MC-2, uh, southeast, scratch, southwest corner by the ball fields.

Dispatcher: 144 and MC-2, southwest corner by the ball fields.

Officer: [unintelligible]

Dispatcher: 149, it's now 11:30.

Officer: 141

Dispatcher: 141

Officer: [unintelligible] Student lot and the buildings.... [unintelligible]

Dispatcher: OK, units responding and on-scene possibly in student lot.

Deputy Scott Taborsky: 144. Additional shots fired, large caliber.

Dispatcher: 144. More shots fired, large caliber. 11:30.

Officer: More shots fired inside. There is a party down on northwest lot.

Dispatcher. Northwest lot, another party down. Units, we have information some of the shots fired in the library....

Officer: [unintelligible, responding with siren in background]

Dispatcher: [unintelligible] 11:31

Officer: More shots fired.

Dispatcher: More shots fired. 11:31.

Officer: I'm clear. [unintelligible]

Dispatcher: 141. 141

Deputy Rick Searle: I'm in the back. I've got some smoke coming from the building. I'm over here with the MC unit.

Dispatcher: I copy. Smoke from the building. 11:31.

Officer: [unintelligible]

Dispatcher: 44

Deputy Scott Taborsky: [unintelligible] down by the southwest side.

Dispatcher: Another party down of the southwest side.

Officer: [unintelligible]

Dispatcher: Attention all units: 71 is under fire. He's advised the suspect just ran into the building.

Officer: [unintelligible] southwest corner.

Dispatcher: Is this the party in the trench coat?

Officer: Yes. He had a white T-shirt on with some kind of a, uh, holster vest something.

Dispatcher: 43 advises the individual party on second level, southwest side, a white T-shirt, possibly holster vest.

Officer: I don't know if it's the party or not. I just saw one by a window.

Dispatcher: 71 is still under fire in the south lot....