Columbine shooters | Eric Harris
Eric Harris
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Eric David Harris
Eric David Harris
Born: 4-9-1981
5 feet 6.5 inches tall, 135-140 pounds

18 year old son of Wayne Nelson Harris and Katherine (Kathy) Ann [Pool] Harris. Younger brother to Kevin Harris (21 at the time).

Eric Harris was born in Wichita, Kansas. His parents were both born in Colorado, but while he was working in the Air Force as a transport pilot, Wayne Harris held eleven different positions at six different bases in Ohio, Michigan, and New York. Kathy Harris was a stay-at-home mom. Plattsburgh, New York was last place the Harrises lived before Wayne was forced to retire from the military in 1993 due to cutbacks. Eric's father told his former classmates at Englewood High School's 20th reunion that his goal in life was to raise two good sons (offsite link).

From all accounts, Eric was a "normal guy" when he lived in Plattsburgh. "My mouth just dropped," former classmate Kyle Ross said. "He was a typical kid. He didn't seem anything like what is portrayed on TV."

Young Eric Harris in Plattsburgh, New YorkThe Harris family moved from New York to Colorado in July 1993. Wayne took a job with Flight Safety Services Corporation in Englewood, and Kathy got a job as a caterer. Eric went to Ken Caryl Middle School where he met Dylan Klebold in the seventh or eigth grade. They became close friends and spent a lot of time together.

Wayne Harris, father of Eric HarrisThe Harrises rented for the first three years after their arrival in Colorado. Eric started attending Columbine in 1995. In 1996, the Harrises bought a $180,000 house just south of Columbine High School on Pierce Street. Eric met Brooks Brown on the school bus they rode together - their houses weren't far apart. Dylan had been friends with Brooks since first grade though they had fallen out of touch for a bit when the boys had attended different schools. Eric met Nate Dykeman in Spanish class in the 8th grade. He introduced Nate to Dylan. The group became good friends.

During his freshman year, Eric met Tiffany Typher in German class and took her to the homecoming. It was their only date. When she refused to go out with him again, Eric staged a fake 'suicide', sprawling on the ground with fake blood splashed all over him. He later wrote in her yearbook (and Nate Dykeman's as well): "Ich bin Gott" - "I am God". January 1997, during their Sophomore year at Columbine, Dylan and Eric were arrested for breaking into a van but both were released early due to how well they did in the juvenile diversion program they had to attend.

That same year Eric and Dylan were both employed at Blackjack Pizza, a place where they would later purchase one of the guns used during the shootings from Mark Manes, a man whom fellow co-worker and Columbine graduate Philip Duran set them up with. Robyn Anderson, a close friend of Dylan's, purchased (offsite link) two shotguns and the rifle which she then gave the teens who would later become the Columbine High shooters. Eric and Dylan made a video of them using the weapons at Rampart Range with Mark Manes and his friend Jessica Miklich. They practiced firing the sawed off shotguns, using bowling pins and pine trees as targets.

+ Eric's locker at Columbine was #624
+ Eric drove a 1986 gray Honda Civic
Together Eric and Dylan got into a lot of mischief at Blackjack Pizza: They set off fireworks in the back alley, they booby-trapped the fence -- they even set a fire in the sink of the kitchen once. Chris Morris, one of Eric's best friends, also worked at Blackjack Pizza and was arrested on 4-20 due to some suspicion he may have been involved in the shootings. He was later cleared and released.

Eric Harris smokes a cigaretteIn 1997, Eric's father Wayne Harris started keeping a diary of Eric's misdeeds. It starts shortly after Eric and Brooks Brown had a falling out. In Brooks' book No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine High School, the author says it started because Brooks was chronically late in giving Eric a ride to school. Eric chewed him out about it one too many times so Brooks, who said he wasn't even receiving gas money for the ride, told him to find another ride to school. Eric got angry and broke Brooks' windshield with a rock. He also terrorized the Brown household by putting firecrackers on the windowsill and doing other "pranks". Eric gloated about these activities in his personal journals and websites.

The harrassment got so bad, the Browns eventually contacted the police and Eric's parents. Eric apologized and all seemed like it would be okay, but then Eric went and posted Brooks' phone number in one of his online rants. It's one of two places where he's known to rant about the other teen. It was around this time that Wayne Harris began logging his son's problems.

In January 1998, Eric and Dylan broke into a van and stole a bunch of electronic equipment. They were caught and sentenced to community service via Juvenile Diversion. Eric was extremely angry about this, and ranted about it in one of his diary entries. To his parents and the judge, though, he presented a remorseful image. He was even released early from his sentence. Around the same time, his mother started taking him to a therapist for his anger management issues.

One of Eric's aspirations was to join the Marines. He even took steps to apply, though his application was rejected shortly before the shooting. In addition to the recent court proceedings and health issues (he had a sunken sternum surgically corrected), he was taking the drug Luvox® (Fluvoxamine maleate) at the time, an SSRI antidepressant. The drug had been prescribed to him in connection with his anger management therapy.

It's been theorized that side-effects of Luvox® contributed to what happened - and indeed most anti-depressants are now cautioning that their use can increase or cause violent and/or suicidal thoughts. However, friends of Eric told reporters that they believed he had stopped taking the drug shortly before the rampage. If so, this could have triggered an even more violent reaction. Stopping any anti-depressant suddenly can enhance the negative side-effects and in some cases has been known to cause death. Most doctors now understand that anti-depressants taken by children and teens can be especially bad -- Columbine was one of the first case studies that now have drug companies including warnings on their advertisements.

Eric Harris, 1999The autopsy report states he had low therapeutic levels of Luvox® in his system at the time of death. Luvox® has a 'washout period' of about 14 days for a 60mg/day prescription. Typical Luvox® therapy starts with 50mg/day dosage and progresses into high dosages of up to 300mg/day as needed. It's extremely reactive to other substances (alcohol, marijuana, prescriptions). There is ample proof that Eric drank and smoked tobacco. Friends of his have said he smoked weed as well. Without knowing how long Eric was taking the drug before 4-20-99 or how much he was prescribed, it's difficult to say whether this low level of Luvox® was because he was actively taking a low level of the drug or because he stopped taking a high level of it.

Eric never got the message that he'd been rejected. The recruiting officer was unable to reach him to let him know before the shootings occurred. However, Eric's mother had mentioned the drug while Eric was meeting with the recruiter, so it's possible he may have assumed his chances were blown -- he had not reported that he was taking an anti-depressant when he applied. Based on what his friends have said, Eric believed he wouldn't be going into the military.

He was very active on the internet during the years preceding the shootings, exploring what was then a new frontier as the Internet was still new. Judy Brown, mother of Brooks, said she would often be driving down the block past his house, and there he'd be, sitting in front of the computer. She saw this so often that she wondered if it was healthy for him to be spending so much time on it. He and Dylan had their computers set up on a network to play Doom together online, though it was Eric who had the stronger Web presence. Eric's (aka REB, Rebel, Rebdoomer, Rebdomine) webpages received a lot of attention immediately following the shootings, particularly the rants that were released to the public years after the investigation ended.

Most of the initial interest revolved around two particular pages: The Doom II site he had up starting somewhere around 1996 on WBS, and the WBS site all the news outlets showed. That last page is just the lyrics to KMFDM's Son of a Gun. The band publicly distanced themselves from the Trenchcoat Mafia and the shooters, as did Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and anyone else who was listed on Eric's site as being someone he admired. Marilyn Manson was brought into the fray by the media, though there's no sign that Eric or Dylan were fans. Manson also made it known that he didn't condone what had happened at Columbine.

A guest from the goth scene stated on a 20\20 broadcast covering the Columbine shootings in the months that followed: "Yeah, blame the music, the clothes...". It's always the same story. Something goes wrong in the younger generation, the adults want to blame clothes, movies, games, hobbies, music. They don't want to look at how little attention so many parents offer their kids, or how broken the school system is.

Eric chatted on WBS, Web Broadcasting System, a site which has since been swallowed by the GO network. You can see copies of Eric's user profile before the merger swept it away. He also was an active AOL user; you can see screenshots of his user profiles and text versions with notes.

Other websites Eric made included Jo Mamma (a page of 'jo mamma' jokes that aren't supposed to be funny, created by REB [Eric], VoDKa [Dylan] and KiBBz [Zach Heckler]), another WBS page of KMFDM lyrics and the more explicit and threatening website on AOL that contained the spew regarding Brooks Brown and shooting up Littleton. Brooks' parents saw the website (tipped off to them by Dylan Klebold, ironically) and filed a police report.

Harris houseDays after the Browns reported the internet threats to the police that Eric began keeping a diary of plans to attack Columbine. It's been speculated that they originally planned to attack on the 19th to coincide with the anniversaries of the Oklahoma bombing and the government fiasco in Waco, then changed it to April 20th to coincide with KMFDM's release of the album Adios or possibly because it was Hitler's birthday, but no one really knows for sure why they chose the date they did.

The "graphic content" from Eric's websites that was spoken of so fearfully by the media at the time primarily referred to images of characters straight from Doom II. The "demonic pictures" in his notebook that were so shocking? More Doom pics. The horned guy is one of the Doom II bosses/gods. Eric kept a lot of Doom and Quake graphics on his AOL website as well, but far scarier than Eric's gaming sites were the rants he dumped onto his homepage about hating the world: Everyone in it, not just jocks or blacks or whites or rich people... Everyone.

Eric Harris in a carIn the months prior to the shootings, Eric and Dylan both recorded what they wanted to do to their school and the people in it on video tapes (the Basement Tapes), in school assignments, and in journals and diaries. Eric detailed out floorplans of Columbine, and noted when the lunch room was most crowded. In the videos he and Dylan shot in Eric's basement bedroom (wherein they showed off the way their weapons fit under their trenchcoats), they both rant about the 'stuck up bitches' they go to school with. Dylan refers to two by name: Rachel and Jen (during the shootings Rachel Scott was killed and Jennifer Doyle was badly wounded). This sound clip excerpted from the videos was censored by the media due to the cursing so it's hard to understand, but if you listen closely you can hear the gist of it.

Eric died in the library from a self-inflicted shot to the head: He placed the barrel of his sawed-off shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger (see the full 4-22-99 autopsy report). There were conspiracy theories regarding his and Dylan's deaths, fueled largely by the positioning of the bodies in the forensic photos that were unlawfully released by the National Enquirer. However, the photos were taken after the bomb squad had thoroughly searched both of the dead shooters for bombs and boobytraps. Neither body appears in the position it was initially found in as the forensics team wasn't allowed in until after the bomb squad was finished.

The Harris family moved from Littleton not long after the shootings, for obvious reasons. In the interest of trying to reforge their lives they appreciate the thoughts of well-wishers, but don't want to be contacted by anyone about Columbine.

Open letter from the parents of Wayne and Kathy Harris:

We continue to be profoundly saddened by the suffering of so many that has resulted from the acts of our son. We loved our son dearly, and search our souls daily for some glimmer of a reason why he would have done such a horrible thing. What he did was unforgivable and beyond our capacity to understand. The passage of time has yet to lessen the pain.

We are thankful to those who have kept us in their thoughts and prayers.

Wayne and Kathy Harris
- April 15, 2000
Click here for more specific details about and preceding 4-20-99.