Columbine High School shooting archive - On April 20, 1999 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold took the lives of 13 victims and their own lives


[ est. 4 21 1999 ]
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Timetable of Events
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Wednesday, April 21, 1999 Published at 02:08 GMT 03:08 UK

  • 6:15 AM local time (1315 BST) Klebold and Harris show up for school as per the norm, Harris in a t-shirt with the words Natural Selection.

  • 11:AM local time (1800 BST) Harris and Klebold are wearing wraparound shades and black trenchcoats as they arrive back on campus and head toward the Columbine High cafeteria.

  • At 11:15 AM local time (1815 BST) reports began to come in of two or three masked gunmen entering the school, which has about 2,000 students. Matthew Depew, son of one of the officers, made the first call from the kitchen, hidden so close to the killers he could hear them reloading their guns.
    The *two* gunmen began firing in the parking lot, killing Rachel Scott with a bullet to the head. Danny Rohrbough was the next to fall, just outside the entrance. From there they closed in on the cafeteria where they threw pipe bombs as well as shot at fleeing students, and then up to the library, bombing in their wake.. Later reports suggested they picked on ethnic minorities and "jocks", a slang term for athletic types.

  • An hour after the shooting began, television cameramen were on the scene, relaying images nationwide and then worldwide.

  • SWAT teams, in black fatigues, were on the scene at 12:30 PM, over an hour after the shooting began. They initially believed they were dealing with a hostage-taking situation. The first team (of five people) begin a sweep of the upper level, stopping at the closed doors in the halls that seperated them from the Science Rooms, Choir Room and library, afraid of booby traps. About 20 students were freed. At this point they were unsure whether the gunmen were alive and in the building.

  • At around 1:30 (2030 BST) an armoured car was brought to the main school entrance for cover as dozens more students fled the building.

  • Around 2:00 PM (2100 BST), three youths wearing black clothes - but not trenchcoats - were apprehended by armed police in a field near the school. The trio were later described as "friends of the gunmen". They were questioned later and released.

  • 2:30 PM local time two SWAT teams enter the teachers' lounge next to the kitchen and begin securing lower the lower level by freeing kids in the kitchen and bathrooms, searching them before the uninjured were released to parents care (at Leawood Elementary School). Casualties began arriving at two local hospitals. Five people, suffering from serious gunshot wounds were taken to the Swedish Medical Centre in Denver.
    SWAT team moves on past a sign pasted in the window reading: "1 BLEEDING TO DEATH" (later found to be made by Deidra Kucera in an attempt to get help for the dying Coach Sanders) to assist Patrick Ireland (17). Ireland, shot twice in the head, pulled himself out a second floor window and dangled there till the team pulled him to safety.

  • Parents wandered about at the nearby Clement Park hospital, trying to find their children while students stood shaking and crying.

  • Police helicopters whirled overhead and hundreds of police officers patrolled the school as confusion reigned.

  • Steve Davis, a spokesman for Jefferson County Sheriff's department, announced police were looking for two suspects, but said it was not clear where they were in the building.

  • At around 4:30 PM (2330 BST) police found two suspects shot dead in the library. Wounds were apparently self-inflicted and their bodies were close enough to touch. One of the two was found laying on the pistol, both still covered in ammunition and explosives. They were surrounded by the other ten students they killed.

  • At around the same time Sheriff John Stone said the death toll appeared to be up to 25. Police declare the site secure.

  • At around 4:30 PM (2330 BST) the Swat team began a slow sweep of the building looking for survivors.

  • 6:15 PM Authorities find and disarm several carbombs in the school parking lot.

  • 10:30 PM (0530 BST) Bomb on a timer blows up. No-one injured.

  • Wednesday morning - Police revise death toll to 15, based on a count of bodies. Discovered that several bodies were booby-trapped.

    Information gleaned from the Denver Post, BBC news, Arizona news, CBS, NBC and Newsweek.