Columbine updates | 1999
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April 21, 1999
Members of the Trenchcoat Mafia speak out, denying responsiblity for the shooting and extending heartfelt sympathies to the victims.
-- Bomb squads thoroughly searched Columbine High School for explosives
By 8:30 AM
the official death toll was released: 15 dead. The bomb squad declared the building safe for officials to enter and at 11:30 AM
a sheriff's spokesman told anxious news crews and their viewing audience, "The investigation is under way." 13 bodies were still in the school when investigators began photographing
the school building.
Clement Park, just north of Columbine, became the unofficial gathering place
for mourners. The Colorado Avalanche cancelled the first of two playoff games and the NRA announced a scaled-back program for its convention to be held the following week in Denver.
At 2:30 PM
a press conference was held by Jefferson County District Attorney David Thomas and Sheriff John Stone. They said they suspected others had helped the killers plan the shooting. Formal identifications of the dead had not taken place yet, but families of students who were thought to have been killed were notified of this probability. The bodies were removed from the school through the afternoon and late evening, taken to the Jefferson County Coroner's Office to be identified and autopsied. When the shooters' bodies were brought out of the school, an unseasonable blizzard began though the day had started warm and sunny. By 5:00 PM the identities of the dead were becoming known.
April 22, 1999
-- Officials found a 20-pound propane-tank bomb left by the shooters in Columbine's kitchen.
April 23, 1999
-- John Tomlin's funeral was held in his hometown of Waterford, Wisconsin, in Saint Peters Cemetery.
April 24, 1999
-- Rachel Scott's funeral was broadcast by CNN, and became the most watched event in CNN's history.
April 25, 1999
-- Funerals for Kelly Fleming and Daniel Mauser were held together at the St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church.
An official memorial was held at West Bowles Shopping Center with Vice President Al Gore, Governor Bill Owens, Principle Frank DeAngelis, artists Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. It was attended by 70,000 people.
April 26, 1999
-- Funerals were held for Cassie Bernall, William "Dave" Sanders, and Lauren Townsend. Officials learned that three of the four guns used in the massacre at Columbine were bought by Dylan's friend, Robyn Anderson, shortly after her 18th birthday.
April 27, 1999
one week after the shootings.
-- Kyle Velasquez's funeral; Matt Kechter's funeral.
April 29, 1999
-- Isaiah Shoels's funeral.
April 30, 1999
-- High-ranking members of Jefferson County and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office met to decide whether they should reveal that investigator Michael Guerra knew of Eric's threatening website
two years before the Columbine shootings occurred. They decided keep the information confidential and said nothing about it at the press conference held April 30th, nor did they make it public in any other way at the time.
That same day Brian Rohrbough, father of victim Daniel Rohrbough
(who died outside Columbine), took down 2 of 15 wooden crosses
made by carpenter Greg Zanis to honor those who had died at the school -- 13 for the students and teacher who were shot and 2 more for the gunmen who committed suicide. The 6' tall crosses had been erected in Clement Park on Rebel Hill, a park that would later play host to several thousand makeshift memorials for those who died.
"I don't think any thinking person in this country is going to disagree with me,"
he said afterward. "We never, ever honor a murderer in the same place as the memorial for his victims."
May 2, 1999
Brooks Brown and mother Judy go on the Oprah show to explain their position in the wake of the shootings.
Nathan "Nate" Dykeman, friend of Dylan and Eric's, tells 20/20 about the shooters.
-- Student memorial was held at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
May 3, 1999
-- Columbine students returned to school, attending Chatfield High School. The school day was divided: Chatfield students used the school in the morning, Columbine students used the school in the afternoon. Mark E. Manes, 22, surrendered to Jefferson County authorities on felony charges of selling a handgun to a minor. He admitted to selling the TEC-DC9 to the Columbine shooters.
May 20, 1999
-- A one-month anniversary memorial at Dakota Ridge High School was held and attended by 2,200 people. At the memorial, President Bill and first lady Hillary Clinton met with the Columbine victims and their families. The President gave an emotional speech of hope to the victims of the shooting. That same day, there was a shooting at Heritage High School in Georgia that injured six.
May 21, 1999
-- Brooks Brown and his mother Judy Brown appeared on a special episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show (episode 13E99) to tell their side of things.
Lance Kirklin attends a press conference at the Swedish Hospital.
Columbine victim Richard Castaldo interviews from the hospital several months after the shootings.
Shooting survivor Patrick Ireland undergoes intensive therapy.
Mark Taylor and mom Donna in his room filled with cards from well-wishers.
May 22, 1999
(Left to right) Jeanna Park, Valeen Schnurr, and Lisa Kreutz: All survived the Columbine shooting and went on to graduate
from the school in May 1999
-- Columbine High School Graduation day: Lauren Townsend and Isaiah Shoels would have graduated. Survivors Jeanna Park, Lisa Kreutz, and Valeen Schnurr received their diplomas.
May 26, 1999
-- Violent video games were pulled from an arcade at Denver International Airport.
May 27, 1999
-- A $250 million wrongful-death lawsuit was filed by the family of Isaiah Shoels against the parents of the gunmen.
May 28, 1999
-- The autopsy reports of the dead were ordered sealed by Jefferson County District Court Judge Henry Nieto.
June 1, 1999
-- Students returned to Columbine to retrieve their things that were left behind during the attack.
June 2, 1999
Brothers Jonathan and Stephen Cohen write and perform a tribute song: 'Friend of Mine' for the victims of the tragedy.
-- Parents of Dylan Klebold sent letters to the families of the victims.
June 3, 1999
-- Renovations began on Columbine High so classes could resume in August. Most of the work was done by volunteers.
June 4, 1999
-- Robyn Anderson admitted to buying the two shotguns and the 9mm carbine rifle from a Denver gun show in November 1998.
June 16, 1999
-- Authorities announced that the surveillance videotape recorded from Columbine High's cafeteria on April 20 discredited the rumor of a third gunman - only two appeared on the tape: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
June 17, 1999
-- Prosecutors filed charges against Philip Joseph Duran, 22. He was charged with unlawfully providing a handgun to minors. Philip worked at Blackjack Pizza alongside Dylan and Eric and introduced them to Mark Manes.
July 2, 1999
-- The Healing Fund announced its plans to distribute the money it had collected so far. Ballistics tests confirmed that "friendly fire" from police officers did not harm anyone at Columbine.
July 20, 1999
-- Columbine students and families returned to the school to decorate memorial tiles. No religious iconry is allowed, nor is anything that might be considered controversial, violent, or hateful as the tiles are to be displayed in the school.
August 16, 1999
-- Columbine High School, newly remodeled, reopened its doors four months after the shootings. 2,000 students showed up for class
(archived link), shielded from the media by a long line of parents and teachers who lined the sidewalk that led to the school. Students attended a "take back the school rally" before classes began. After the rally, the American flag that had stood at half-mast since the shootings was raised and school started.
August 18, 1999
-- Three swastikas were found etched on the inside and outside of Columbine High School. They were roughly an inch big - one was scratched into a brick wall and two were found inside a girls' bathroom. Also, Mark Manes, who sold the TEC-DC9 to the shooters, pleaded guilty to providing a handgun to a minor and illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
Sean Graves recovers at home with his family.
Sean Graves attends a press conference.
August 20, 1999
The repairs are finished and the school waits for students to return.
The first student returns to Columbine, welcomed by a human chain of volunteers who helped with the restoration and rallies.
Cutting the ribbon at the re-opening of Columbine High, fall 1999.
Students return to the renovated school.
Patrick Ireland joins other students on the first day back to Columbine.
Students enter Columbine High School.
-- Richard Castaldo was released from Craig Hospital to go home. He was the last of the survivors to leave the hospital.
August 31, 1999
-- The Healing Fund accepted its last donations, bringing the total received to $4.4 million.
September 1, 1999
-- Security tightened at schools in Jefferson County after five high schools received a series of anonymous threatening letters.
Misty Bernall published her book, She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall
, about how her daughter told the gunmen she was a Christian and then was shot for her belief. This claim is later proven to be untrue, but at the time Cassie’s mother believed it. Even after Salon.com journalist Dave Cullen debunked the myth, Bernall stood by her book as a testament to her daughter’s spirit and the plight that all the victims were in.
September 10, 1999
-- Dave Sanders Memorial Softball Field
was dedicated before the Columbine Rebel girl's softball team's first game of the season.
September 22, 1999
-- Salon.com published excerpts from Eric's journals.
September 24, 1999
-- Jefferson County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Davis said it was unlikely that Cassie Bernall was ever asked by the gunmen whether she believed in God before they shot her.
Patrick Ireland was named homecoming king of Columbine High School.
September 26, 1999
-- Parents and friends of victims Daniel Rohrbough and Kyle Velasquez marched to Littleton's West Bowles Community Church
to chop down 2 of 15 trees
(offsite link) the church planted to acknowledge the pain that all of the affected families were feeling.
September 29, 1999
-- A 14-member Columbine Review Commission was created by Governor Bill Owens to study the tragedy and make recommendations with the hope of preventing other similar school shootings.
October 1, 1999
Robyn K. Anderson, friend of Dylan's, purchased two shotguns and a 9mm rifle for the shooters, which were later used in the assault. No formal charges were brought against her as she testified that she didn't know that they would be used in a murder spree when she gave them to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Mark Manes was arrested for selling a TEC-DC9 semi-automatic handgun to the shooters (for $500). He was sentenced to six years in prison, four months after the shootings. He served about 19 months before he was released to a halfway house. He was denied parole three times. He was released in 2002 under electronic monitor
Philip Duran, a graduate of Columbine who worked at Blackjack Pizza with Dylan and Eric, intro'd the shooters to Mark so they could get the gun. His younger siblings were at in the school during the shootings. He later pleaded guilty to charges for doing just that and willingly accepted a 4 1/2 year prison sentence (offsite link) in 2000. He was parolled after 3 1/2 years.
Chris Morris was a friend of shooters, a fellow classmate at Columbine and a co-worker of theirs at Blackjack Pizza. He was handcuffed at the scene and detained for questioning. He was later released. Very vocal about his hate of Columbine before the incident occurred, Chris was a member of the Trenchcoat Mafia.
-- A Celine Dion concert in Denver provided front row seats and back stage passes to Columbine students. The concert raised $500,000 dollars for the victims.
October 4, 1999
-- The families of Kelly Fleming and Daniel Rohrbough filed a federal lawsuit against the school district for removing from Columbine the memorial tiles they painted on July 20. The reason the tiles were removed: They were painted with religious themes, which the rules that were issued on the day of the painting forbade (no controversial subjects or anything that might make returning students uncomfortable).
October 12, 1999
Craig Scott (brother of Rachel and a survivor from the library)
and Michael Shoels (father of Isaiah Shoels, who was also
Scott's friend) appear on the Today Show. Craig went back to
Columbine when fall 1999 classes started but quit again after
going only once in the first 2 weeks.
-- CBS Evening News
with Dan Rather aired a portion of the surveillance videotape from the Columbine cafeteria.
October 17, 1999
-- The families of 20 Columbine students - including the Klebolds - filed notices of intent to sue the sheriff's department and/or the school district because of the massacre.
October 19, 1999
-- The evening before the six month 'anniversary' of the shootings, a 17-year-old Columbine student was arrested on suspicion of threatening to "finish the job".
October 20, 1999
-- Six month 'anniversary' of the shootings of April 20th. A quarter of the students at Columbine High miss school that day; another quarter go home early.
October 22, 1999
-- Carla June Hochhalter, mother of surviving victim Anne Marie Hochhalter
went into an Englewood pawn shop, bought a gun and shot herself there in the shop. She had been diagnosed with depression before the shootings and the stress of having a daughter paralyzed by the attack on Columbine pushed her over the edge.
October 25, 1999
-- Wayne and Kathy Harris, parents of shooter Eric Harris, finally agreed to meet with investigators.
November 12, 1999
-- Mark Manes was sentenced to six years in prison for selling the TEC-DC9 to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
November 19, 1999
-- Garlin Newton completes a 700-mile Oklahoma City-to-Columbine walk with a cross in hopes of reviving prayer in school. His arrival was not well received, though Darryl Scott later mentions him with respect in his religious reach-out efforts that his daughter's death inspired.
December 4, 1999
-- Columbine High School won the Colorado State Varsity Football title, defeating Cherry Creek High 21-14. Adam Kechter (13) is presented the trophy in honor of his brother, Matt Kechter
, who should have played as a defensive lineman in the game.
Patrick Ireland and the rest of Columbine celebrate their 1999 championship win.
Columbine celebrates its championship win.
Matt Kechter's younger brother Adam, then 13, accepts the trophy in his brother's honor when the Columbine Rebels win the 1999 championship. Matt used to play lineman for the football team. When he died the team 'adopted' Adam into their fold.
Columbine High School cheerleaders.
Richard Castaldo is back in the school band but after 4 months and 7 operations, still doesn't have the finger coordination to play his saxophone. He's taken up percussion instead.
Brooks Brown in December 1999.
December 12, 1999 -- TIME magazine printed excerpts on their website from the unreleased "Basement Tapes", inciting outrage among families of the victims, who were upset that a media outlet had access to information that they didn't.
December 13, 1999 -- Families of the victims of the shootings were allowed to see some of the videos Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris made over the last weeks before the shootings. After the viewing the tapes are ordered sealed.
December 15, 1999 -- Columbine student Erin Walton received a threat telling her not to go to school the next day via the Internet from "Soup81" (Michael Ian Campbell) telling her that he intended to "finish what begun". Campbell lived in Cape Coral, Florida at the time but the authorities didn't know it so Columbine cancelled classes, ending the semester two days earlier than it should have.
December 17, 1999 -- FBI agents arrested Michael Campbell at his home.
December 20, 1999 -- TIME magazine released an issue featuring the videos that would become known as the "Basement Tapes", videos made by the shooters that contained controversial subject matter. The families of the victims had not yet seen those tapes, and had been informed that they would be the first to see them. Hostilities ensued.
December 13, 1999 -- After serious pressure from the families of the victims, they are allowed to view the "Basement Tapes" that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris made over the last weeks before the shootings. After the single screening, the tapes are ordered sealed by a judge.
December 22, 1999 -- Michael Campbell appears in federal court and apologized for the threat he made on December 15. He pleads guilty to transmitting a threat of violence and is sentenced to 4 months in prison. Campbell fainted on hearing the sentencing. His attorney tried for an appeal by claiming that sentencing the 18 year old to prison would be the same as creating "victim 14" in the Columbine case and that his client had attempted suicide earlier that month. His mother said that the threat was "just a prank" and that Campbell was distraught over his father's recent death. The judge said he believed Campbell was remorseful but that jail time was necessary to deter others who pull similar stunts.
Eric and Dylan on the covers of Time magazine.
The first 2 are the same issue, with cover differences. Perhaps the first is the pre-print proof? Don't know for sure.
The second is the magazine that contained coverage of the Basement Tapes.