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 The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001

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PostSubject: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:35 pm

CHRONOLOGY OF THE COLUMBINE INCIDENT

A. THE INITIAL ACTIONS OF DYLAN KLEBOLD AND ERIC HARRIS AT COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL

After a year of planning, during which they assembled bombs, practiced target shooting with their firearms and fueled one another's apocalyptic vision of revenge, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris launched their attack on Columbine High School on the morning of April 20, 1999. The first action of the two, both seniors at Columbine and scheduled to graduate in three weeks, was to plant two large duffel bags containing 20-pound propane bombs in the school cafeteria, timed to detonate at 11:17 A.M., when nearly 500 students would be packed inside the crowded room. The two killers planned to kill as many classmates as possible in the fireball they anticipated after the two devices exploded, and then to shoot survivors fleeing from the inferno with a hail of shotgun blasts and semiautomatic gunfire. The exact time at which the two placed their propane bombs inside the cafeteria cannot be determined,62

62 The school's security videotape had been stopped at 11:14 A.M. while a school custodian rewound the videotape. When the tape resumed at 11:22 A.M., the duffle bag concealing one of the devices is visible, thus limiting the time to eight minutes within which the explosives were planted.

although student Aaron Wright reported seeing Harris carry a duffel bag along the sidewalk leading to the cafeteria about 11:15 A.M.63

63 The bag appeared to be heavy because Harris was carrying it with both hands, according to Wright. Cafeteria witness Sarah Slater told investigators she had observed a heavy blue duffel bag and had asked her friends sitting at the table with her if it belonged to any of them. She tried to move the bag out of the way with her foot, but it was too heavy and so she stepped over it instead of moving it.

After positioning the duffel bags near the cafeteria exits, Klebold and Harris left the building and waited in their cars, which they had parked strategically so that persons fleeing from the school building would be caught in a cross fire of bullets. Realizing after a few minutes that the large propane bombs had failed to detonate, the two teenaged perpetrators marched on the school in search of the victims they expected to come toward them.64

64 The two had armed themselves with 12-gauge shotguns, semiautomatic firearms and dozens of bombs.

Students sitting close to the cafeteria’s west side windows reported hearing loud “pops” in the parking lot, which they thought at first were fireworks set off by school pranksters. Witnesses said they saw Klebold close to the window, walking up the slope leading to the school's upper level. When the two perpetrators reached the top of the exterior steps, they each removed their firearms from under their jackets and began to fire at students at random. According to the sequence of events as police officers later reconstructed it, the first gunshot victims were Rachel Scott and Richard Castaldo, who had been eating lunch on a patch of grass near the upper west entrance to the school.65

65 Castaldo survived the attack, despite having suffered several serious gunshot wounds, but Scott died from her multiple gunshot wounds. Castaldo told police he remembered hearing Scott crying after she was shot, so it is unclear whether the 17-yearold girl died immediately.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:36 pm


Police concluded that Harris then trained his 9 mm carbine down the incline toward students who were emerging from the cafeteria at the lower level of the school and fired, wounding students Daniel Rohrbough, Sean Graves and Lance Kirklin.66

66 When the shots were fired, Kirklin recalled trying to catch Rohrbough, then felt himself being shot. All three boys fell to the ground.

The two gunmen then fired directly west of their position at a handful of students who had started running when they heard and saw what was happening; they wounded two students, Michael Johnson and Mark Taylor.67

67 Taylor collapsed, unable to move, but Johnson, bleeding profusely from a leg wound and other injuries, managed to take cover behind an athletic equipment storage shed.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's report concluded that Klebold then descended the steps toward the downed victims Rohrbough, Graves and Kirklin and that Klebold “shot Rohrbough, killing him instantly.”68

68 The parents of Daniel Rohrbough alleged in a lawsuit filed against the Sheriff's Office that the bullet which fatally struck their son had been fired by a sheriff’s deputy, and not by Klebold or Harris.

Kirklin was shot a second time in the face at close range, and remembered feeling a jolt to his jaw after which his mouth filled with blood as he lay on the ground. Graves, struck in the back with a 9 mm bullet, pulled himself halfway inside the cafeteria door, propping it open. He told teacher Christina Redmerski, “I can't feel my legs.” Klebold stepped over Graves and entered the cafeteria, looked quickly around but did not fire his weapon. He then returned outside where he fired again, wounding Anne Marie Hochhalter, who had been sitting with friends on a curb in the parking lot.69

69 Hochhalter said she had seen the gunmen at the top of the slope, and was running for cover when she was hit several times and fell to the ground. One of the friends with Hochhalter, Jason Autenrieth, dragged her out of the line of fire to a spot near a school wall.

Students in the cafeteria observed the perpetrators’ actions outside the school building.70

70 After the cafeteria security videotape had been restarted at 11:22 A.M, students can be seen looking out the west windows of the cafeteria at the commotion outside. School custodians Jay Gallantine and Jon Curtis are visible on the tape as they moved through the cafeteria warning students of the danger.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:36 pm


As the students begin to take cover under cafeteria tables, at 11:24 A.M. teacher Dave Sanders was observed running through the cafeteria, warning students of danger, and climbing the stairway to the upper level of the school. Within seconds, students, now aware of their peril, rushed to flee from the cafeteria.71

71 Some of them fled to the upper level of the school and left from the east side of the school, while others sought refuge in classrooms and offices. The warnings given by Sanders, Gallantine, Curtis and others allowed students and staff members to barricade themselves inside several rooms, which no doubt saved many lives, because the two killers never entered any locked room.

Meanwhile at about 11:25 A.M., someone had made a 911 call to local police, and a school custodian had called Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Neil Gardner, who was the school resource officer at the time, to alert him to the fact that there was trouble in the south lot of the school. At about the same time, teacher Patti Nielson, who heard the commotion outside, had gone to the west doors in order to look out and see what was happening. Nielson saw Harris level his rifle and fire through the double doors, wounding her and student Brian Anderson who was beside her. Both were injured from fragments and glass as bullets blasted through the doors.72

72 Both Nielson and Anderson retreated into the library where Nielson, bleeding from glass shards imbedded in her neck and back, placed a 911 telephone call in which she reported to police dispatchers what was occurring. She ordered the students to get on the floor under the library tables, and stayed on the line with the dispatchers as gunfire and explosions were audible in the background.

Gardner arrived at the south lot, left his patrol car and witnessed Harris firing into the west doors, most likely at Nielson and Anderson.73

73 Police reported that Harris had fired 10 rounds from his 9 mm carbine at Gardner, who returned the fire.

Harris then entered the school through the west doors. As Klebold and Harris entered the school, they commenced firing toward students in the main hallway of the building, and also shot southward toward the hallway outside the library. They were reported to be laughing as they shot. One student, Stephanie Munson, was wounded in the leg as she fled down the hallway. During this same period of time the gunmen also set off pipe bombs: some were left to explode in hallways on the upper level and some were thrown down into the lower level where the cafeteria is located.

At about the same time, close to 11:25 A.M., teacher Dave Sanders was near the stairwell on the second level directing students to escape from the building through the east exits. Sanders came around the corner from the stairway into the library hallway just as one of the gunmen was moving south in the hallway. Sanders, hit by a shotgun blast, fell forward to the floor face-first, very seriously wounded.74

74 Student Ben Schumann, upon seeing Sanders on all fours and bleeding from the mouth, moved to help the stricken teacher. Sanders waved off aid and, with the help of fellow teacher Rich Long, staggered into the science wing, leaving a trail of blood in the corridor. Inside the science room two students who knew first aid, Aaron Yanacey and Kevin Starkey, began to assist Sanders in an attempt to stop his bleeding.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:36 pm


B. CARNAGE IN THE LIBRARY

At approximately 11:30 a.m., Harris and Klebold entered the school library where 56 students, two teachers and two library employees had taken refuge. Most of the students had followed teacher Patti Nielson's earlier command that they get down under the library tables. Nielson, concealed under the front counter of the library as the two entered, was still on the telephone with the police dispatcher; on the tape recording of her 911 call, gunfire and explosions can be heard coming from the hallway outside the library.75

75 Inside the library, student Lisa Kreutz could hear one of the gunmen say to the other as they entered the library, “Are you still with me? We're still doing this, right?”

As they burst into the library, witnesses reported hearing the two demand that everyone get up, or that “jocks” with white hats stand up. No one responded to the command, so one of the gunmen said, “Fine, I’ll start shooting.” Sophomore Evan Todd was standing near the front counter when Harris spotted him from the library entrance. Todd told investigators later that Harris “racked a round” into his pump action shotgun and fired twice. As he dove behind the counter, Todd was wounded in the eye by wood splinters from the shattered counter and suffered buckshot wounds across his back. Klebold walked toward the library’s west windows and shot and mortally wounded Kyle Velasquez, who was seated at a computer table. The killers then set down their backpacks filled with explosives, and Klebold took off his trench coat. At that point, Patti Nielson dropped the telephone - leaving the line open – and sought refuge under a desk. Dispatchers could hear the ensuing carnage as the perpetrators in a seven-and-one-half minute killing spree taunted and executed nine more students, while sparing others.76

76 As he crouched under a table with fellow students Makai Hall and Daniel Steepleton, Patrick Ireland heard one of the gunmen say, “This is for all the shit you put us through.” Steepleton recalled similar statements from the killers about “the four years of bullshit you've put us through.” Klebold shot toward the table where the three were hiding, wounding all of them. After hearing Makai Hall moaning from his injuries and seeing blood pouring from Hall’s knee, Ireland began to crawl toward him to help when he blacked out because of a gunshot wound to his head.

Harris next shot Steven Curnow and Kacey Reugsegger, who were hiding under a computer table on the south side of the library. Curnow died from a single gunshot wound to the neck, while Ruegsegger suffered, but survived, massive wounds to her shoulder. Harris then moved to another table, slapped it twice, said, “Peek-a-boo,” and fired under the table, fatally wounding Cassie Bernall. Harris was unable to control his shotgun as he shot Bernall, so that the butt of the weapon recoiled and struck him in the face, breaking his nose.77

77 Pasquale reported seeing blood pouring from Harris’ nose, and thought that Harris was dazed from the blow.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:37 pm


Harris next confronted student Bree Pasquale, who was sitting on the floor in the open, and asked her if she wanted to die. Pasquale’s life was perhaps saved because Klebold called Harris over to a table beneath which two students, Isaiah Shoels and Matthew Kechter, were hiding. Klebold spewed racial epithets at Shoels, who was black, as he begged for his life. Harris fired under the table, killing Shoels with a shotgun blast to the chest. Klebold also fired under the table, inflicting fatal chest wounds on Kechter. The two perpetrators continued moving through the library, hurling pipe bombs and shooting victims.78

78 One ignited bomb landed near the wounded Makai Hall, who tossed the explosive away from himself and others to the south end of the library where it exploded out of harm’s way. Firing his pistol as rapidly he could, Klebold wounded student Mark Kitgen, who is afflicted with cerebral palsy. Moments later he shot and wounded students Valeen Schnurr and Lisa Kreutz and inflicted fatal wounds on Lauren Townsend. Schnurr began to cry out, “Oh my God” after she had been shot, prompting Klebold to taunt her about her faith in God.

Harris peered under a table beneath which two girls were cowering. “Pathetic!” he said, and walked on to another table, where he fired at students John Tomlin and Nicole Nowlen, wounding them both. As Tomlin crawled from under the table, Klebold shot him a second time; Tomlin died from his wounds. Harris next shot and fatally wounded Kelly Fleming, and fired a salvo under the table where Lisa Kreutz and Lauren Townsend had already been hit by gunfire. Townsend and Kreutz were struck again, and another student, Jeanna Park, was wounded. Detecting a student hiding underneath another table, Harris told the person to “identify yourself.” The student, John Savage, was acquainted with Klebold and asked Klebold what he was doing. “Oh, just killing people,” Klebold said. Savage asked Klebold if he was going to kill him. In comments similar to those Harris had made to Brooks Brown before the rampage started, the killers told Savage that they liked him, and ordered him to flee, which he did. In the final moments of terror in the library, Harris and Klebold shot four more students, wounding Austin Eubanks and Jennifer Doyle, and killing Daniel Mauser and Corey DePooter, although a student reported hearing DePooter moaning for some time after being hit. Before they left the library, Klebold confronted Evan Todd, who had been wounded in the opening salvo of gunfire in the library, and taunted him for being among the Columbine athletes whom the killers detested.79

79 Todd told Klebold he never had a problem with either him or Harris, and that he did not want any trouble. Klebold replied, “You don't know what trouble is!” Klebold told Harris he could kill Todd if he wanted. Todd thought Harris still was disoriented from his broken nose and did not seem to grasp Klebold’s comment.

The pair decided to let Todd live, said they were going back to the commons, and left the library. Moments after police later concluded the gunmen had left the library, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Neil Gardner, who by then had been joined by Deputy Paul Smoker, saw rounds being fired from a rifle barrel protruding from the upper west doors of the school. Both officers returned fire. Three Denver SWAT officers who had just arrived on scene and were yards away from the west doors also reported seeing the rifle muzzle.80

80 Two of the Denver officers fired at the doorway, but it is not known why the Denver officers, who were fully equipped with high-powered weaponry and body armor, took no further action.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:37 pm


After the killers had left the library for the science area on the upper level of the building, surviving students began to flee through an emergency exit. However, two wounded students, Lisa Kreutz and Patrick Ireland, were unable to escape from the library because of their serious injuries.81

81 Seeing wounded student Mark Kintgen being jostled around in the surge to escape from the library, Evan Todd, though wounded himself, picked Kintgen up and carried him to an athletic equipment shed where Jefferson County deputies had taken cover along with fleeing students. Todd then administered first-aid to wounded student Mike Johnson, who had been wounded in the leg during the opening salvo of gunfire outside the school, until police began evacuating students some time later.

Klebold and Harris continued to wander through the school hallways, igniting more pipe bombs, some of which they threw down into the cafeteria area. Law enforcement personnel outside the building observed explosions racking the cafeteria windows.82

82 The explosions are also visible on the cafeteria surveillance videotape

The two gunmen departed from the second-floor science area at 11:44 A.M. and went downstairs, where they appear once more on the cafeteria surveillance tape. Harris rested his carbine on a railing and fired at the propane tank bomb in the duffel bag in an effort to detonate it. Klebold is visible as well lobbing a pipe bomb toward the unexploded propane device. Although they were unable to detonate either of the propane bombs, they did ignite several smaller bombs, one of which was attached to a container of flammable liquid. The ensuing fireball activated the cafeteria sprinkler system, and shortly thereafter the sprinkler and fire alarm systems throughout the school also began to go off. The movements of the two perpetrators during the last minutes of their lives are somewhat unclear. They apparently left the cafeteria once again and returned to the upper level of the building, passing through the office area of the school at the southeast corner of the building. They then returned down the stairs to the cafeteria where they were again captured on the cafeteria videotape.83

83 As they stood in the cafeteria, the two appeared to be surveying the damage in the cafeteria and looking at the police response activities taking place in the school parking lot.

At approximately noon, the two left the cafeteria a final time and returned to the upstairs library; they moved to the library windows from where they exchanged gunfire with law enforcement officers from several agencies who were covering paramedics while they rescued students wounded outside the school. Investigators believe that at approximately 12:08 P.M. Harris and Klebold turned their weapons on themselves and committed suicide.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:38 pm


C. INITIAL ARRIVAL OF JEFFERSON COUNTY OFFICERS

At 11:21 A.M., Jefferson County Deputy Paul Magor answered a dispatcher’s call advising of a fire and explosion on Wadsworth Boulevard between Chatfield and Ken Caryl Avenues, and drove to that location. At the same time, Deputy Neil Gardner, who was Columbine’s school resource officer, was eating lunch with Andy Marton, an unarmed school security guard, in his patrol car when a call from a school custodian on the school’s two-way radios advised that Gardner was needed on the “back lot of the school.” Two minutes later, Gardner and Marton arrived at the senior parking lot, where they heard another transmission over the school radio, stating that there was “a shooter in the school.” There was so much traffic on the police radio that Gardner later said he had been unable to advise dispatchers that he was on the scene. As he left his patrol car, Gardner saw a gunman, later identified as Eric Harris, firing a 9 mm carbine rifle into the west doors of the school.84

84 Gardner, who was not wearing his prescription eyeglasses, estimated that Harris was about 60 yards away from his position.

Gardner stated afterward that Harris had turned toward him and fired about ten rounds before his weapon apparently jammed. Sensing an opening as Harris appeared to unjam the carbine with the barrel pointed down, Gardner leaned over a car and fired four rounds from his .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol at Harris, who spun to the right. The quick movement led Gardner to believe he had wounded the gunman, but seconds later Harris began firing at Gardner again and then ran into the school. Gardner radioed the dispatcher at 11:26 A.M., requesting help and advising that there had been “shots fired in the school.”85

85 Marton’s account varies from Gardner’s version: he reported that he had heard gunshots from the library before the gunfire exchange between Gardner and the gunman.

Meanwhile, the Jefferson County dispatcher had received a 911 call from a Columbine student at 11:23 A.M., reporting “a female down in the south parking lot” of the school; “I think she’s paralyzed,” the caller said. The victim was later identified as Anne Marie Hochhalter. Magor heard the call, broke off the bomb-related call and proceeded to the east side of the school, arriving there at 11:27 A.M. Magor blocked the exit from the student parking lot and remained there for the duration of the assault. Motorcycle Deputy Paul Smoker was writing a speeding ticket on Bowles Avenue north of the school when he heard the warning about gunshots fired at Columbine High School. Cutting across Clement Park, Smoker maneuvered his motorcycle to the west side of the school where he joined Deputy Scott Taborsky, who had just arrived in his patrol car. The two officers approached the school in the patrol car.86

86 As they neared the school doors, Smoker reported hearing “loud bangs, bombs, gunshots, bombs going off in the school . . . We were advised that there were two - at least two - suspects in the school that were shooting these kids.”

Deputy Gardner, at a distance of 100 yards, warned the arriving officers, “There’s one of them. He’s at the door.” Smoker saw a male in a dark jacket standing behind the shattered panes of the west entrance doors, and reported seeing a rifle barrel protruding from the broken window and a “couple of rounds” of gunfire being fired from the weapon. Smoker said he returned fire with “three to five rounds” from his Glock model 17 semiautomatic pistol before the gunman disappeared into the school.87

87 Gardner also reported firing during this encounter, as did two Denver SWAT officers who had just arrived on scene at 11:35 A.M. Smoker reported seeing bleeding students lying near the cafeteria: “We couldn't get [them] to us. So we felt it was safer to hold our perimeter.”

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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:38 pm


Smoker and Taborsky then moved to an athletic equipment storage shed northwest of the school doors to aid in the evacuation of wounded students and others fleeing from the school.88

88 Those massing behind the structure included student Michael Johnson, who was wounded in the opening salvo of the rampage. Although bleeding profusely from a leg wound, Johnson was conscious and informed deputies that the person who shot him was “Ned Harris.” Harris’s nickname was Reb, which may account for the confusion.

At 11:29 A.M., Deputy Rick Searle arrived at the northeast parking lot where an adult woman fleeing from the school yelled at him, “The west entrance in the library.” As he drove through the parking lot, Searle reported hearing explosions, loud pops and glass shattering “on the west doors and windows.” He relayed the information and at 11:30 A.M., the Jefferson County dispatcher transmitted reports of “possible shots fired in the library.” Searle then moved to the equipment shed where he assisted Taborsky and Smoker in the evacuation of the wounded and other terrified students throughout the afternoon. Deputy Kevin Walker was patrolling nearby in the area of Kipling Street and Chatfield Avenue when he heard the emergency calls; he arrived at the school at 11:30 A.M., taking a position in the southwest parking lot. Walker could see inside the school building from there, and reported by radio the movements of Harris, whom he described as “wearing a white T-shirt and some sort of vest.” Armed with a shotgun, Walker left his patrol car and saw windows from the library being shot out as the gunmen fired on police and rescue personnel in the parking lot below. At 12:05 P.M., he reported seeing a “muzzle flash” from the library windows and fired two rounds from his shotgun at the suspected shooter. He did not hit his target, he said, because he saw the gun-wielder continue to fire. Walker fired no additional rounds and held his position in the school parking lot until he went to the aid of an elderly woman encountered there whom he transported to the command post at 4:00 P.M. Gardner and officers from other agencies also fired at the library windows after reporting gunfire erupting from there around noon.

In summary, six officers from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office had arrived on the scene within minutes after the attack had begun. Three officers (Gardner, Smoker and Walker) observed one or the other of the perpetrators and exchanged gunfire with him. Deputies Searle, Smoker and Taborsky were at the equipment shed west of the school for the bulk of the afternoon. Taborsky evacuated wounded student Richard Castaldo in his patrol car after SWAT officers rescued him outside the upper west-side doors about 12:45 P.M. Magor remained in the student parking lot on the southeast side of the school, redirecting traffic on Pierce Street and relaying information from fleeing students and staff.89

89 Gardner’s movements following his three gunfire exchanges remain unclear. In his report on the day of the incident, Gardner said that, following the gun battle, he encountered an unidentified male student who was wounded in the “upper hip area.” Gardner thought the boy’s injuries “did not require immediate evacuation for lifesaving measures.” Yet Gardner reported he stayed with the boy in his patrol car for “approximately one hour” until SWAT teams evacuated the pair from the vehicle in the south parking lot. There is no mention of a wounded student in security guard Marton’s account; Marton said he and Gardner held their position until 3:00 P.M., when they were ordered to the command post where Gardner said he “provided information to those present as it pertained to his knowledge of the incident and the layout of the school.”

Gardner later said that while he was waiting with the injured student he saw SWAT teams arrive and “observed students fleeing from the school for approximately twenty minutes.” However, the official police report quoted him as saying that after his third reported gunfire exchange with a gunman, Gardner helped evacuate 15 students.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:39 pm


D. DENVER POLICE SWAT UNIT REPORTS EXCHANGE OF GUNFIRE

Four Denver police officers (a Gang Unit member and three SWAT team officers) arrived at Columbine High School in the early minutes of the attack; they reported exchanging gunfire with one or both of the shooters. SWAT officers Henry Bloodworth Jr. and his partner, Tom O’Neil, had been eating lunch at a South Denver restaurant about 11:00 A.M. when they heard about the activity at Columbine.90

90 Bloodworth said the pair learned about the incident “not through proper channels, but we found out about it and then we notified our supervisor that they needed assistance, and there was shooting and bombs going off at the school.”

Sergeant Daniel O’Shea, an off-duty SWAT supervisor, happened to be driving in the area when Denver Police division commander Gerry Whitman radioed a request for a SWAT response team at Columbine High School. As Bloodworth and O’Neil sped to the school with light bar and siren activated, O’Shea came on the radio and told them he also was responding to the call.91

91 The three officers met on Pierce Street at a cross-street north of the school, and began to gear up. Bloodworth said he put on his bullet-proof vest and armed himself with a .223 Steyr Aug semiautomatic rifle. O’Shea was armed with a Heckler-Koch 9 mm submachine gun and O’Neil with a Glock model 21 .45-caliber pistol.

The three were advised by radio of shooting at the southwest side of the school near the cafeteria, and drove to the west side of the school in O’Shea’s vehicle.92

92 The times of the Denver officers’ arrival are not listed in their reports. A timeline released by the Denver Police Department lists the SWAT officers’ deployment at the school at 12:15 P.M., or after it was later believed that Harris and Klebold had committed suicide. However, it appears the exchange of gunfire at the west doors coincided with reports by Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies Smoker and Gardner that they had fired at Harris at 11:36 A.M. Bloodworth and O’Neil stated they arrived at the school about 11:30 A.M., after they had received reports minutes earlier about shots fired at Columbine High School, while they were still some distance away in Denver.

They left the vehicle and approached the school building on foot. As they rounded the corner of the school near the west side doors, the officers reported seeing two victims, a male and a female, lying on the ground on a patch of grass near the door, with a bomb lying nearby.93

93 The two victims were Richard Castaldo and Rachel Scott. The officers said they knew at least one of the prone students was alive because they could see one of the victims feebly wave an arm.

At that point the three officers saw what appeared to be the barrel of an assault rifle protruding through the west double doors of the school. Bloodworth and O’Neil both fired at the door, although neither could see the shooter.94

94 Bloodworth reported firing “maybe six” rounds at the doorway; O’Neil fired an unknown number of rounds toward the door before the barrel was withdrawn inside the airlock. O’Shea did not discharge his weapon during the west door engagement, but laid down covering fire as officers and paramedics began evacuating students around noon. O’Shea fired at a gunman as a multiagency SWAT team attempted entry in the school an hour later, which is detailed in the initial SWAT entry section of this report.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:40 pm


Denver Gang Unit Officer Greg Romero was attempting to serve an arrest warrant at a southwest Denver location when he responded to Columbine. A former SWAT officer, Romero was armed with a Colt AR-15 rifle. He reported joining forces with “other officers” in a four-wheel drive vehicle after arriving at the school. As he left his vehicle, he observed about 25 students, some wounded, hiding in and around the school. One injured student was lying in the open and unable to move. Romero and another officer dragged him to safety behind an athletic equipment storage shed, where others also had taken cover. Romero then spotted Gardner and another Jefferson County deputy near a patrol car in the parking lot down the slope from his location. The two officers were pointing toward the building, and Romero ran to them.95

95 According to Romero, one of them “was down behind the car yelling that he needed some help up there so we drug a couple more people that were out in the open behind his car.”

After removing “five or six” students to a position of safety, Romero acted as “cover officer because of the fact that I had a long weapon instead of my sidearm up.” Noticing another injured student on the ground just west of the library, Romero moved toward the boy and began moving him away from the school. As he was pulling the victim away by the arm, Romero saw some windows of the school blowing out near him and the injured student. He fired four rounds at the windows, but did not believe he had struck anyone, because he “caught a glimpse” of a figure inside the library window.96

96 The time of this engagement is unclear, but it appears to coincide with other police reports of officers returning fire after being shot at from the library windows around noon while paramedics removed other students to safety. Romero reported hearing bullets “whizzing” by him from officers firing from behind him, that is, to the west of his location.

E. JEFFERSON COUNTY SWAT TEAM ARRIVES AND MAKES A FIRST ENTRY INTO SCHOOL’S EAST SIDE

Jefferson County SWAT commander Lieutenant Terry Manwaring was on duty in the mountains 13 miles away from Columbine High School when a request for a SWAT team response to the school came through the dispatcher. Manwaring arrived at Pierce and Leawood Streets east of the school at 11:36 A.M. and informed the dispatcher that “the command post and SWAT staging area will be set up at that location.” Manwaring told two Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies (K-9 officer Del Kleinschmidt and SWAT officer Allen Simmons) to locate all available SWAT officers on site for an entry into the school “as quickly as possible.” While assembling at the command post, Denver SWAT officers Captain Vincent DiManna and Lieutenant Patrick Phelan arrived with four other Denver SWAT personnel to attempt the first sortie into the school. The officers decided to utilize a City of Littleton fire engine for cover as they approached the school.97

97 Ultimately, twelve SWAT officers (three Jeffco officers, two Littleton officers and seven Denver officers) were assembled for the mission.

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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:40 pm


The SWAT commanders decided that their first entry would be at the east side of the building.98

98 The official police report states that Manwaring was unaware that a recent remodeling to the school had changed its configuration. Manwaring recalled that the cafeteria was on the east side of the school, and police were working under that assumption when reports of gunfire in the cafeteria reached police. Yet school resource officer Neil Gardner was at the scene and presumably knew the school’s layout. In addition, Gardner and other Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies had reported exchanging gunfire with Harris on the west side of the school. Manwaring also reported later asking several students who had fled the school to draw a map so officers would have at least a general idea of the school’s layout. In response, the students drew maps depicting “major rooms and location of suspects and injured.”

Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy Kleinschmidt took the wheel of the pumper; as they approached the main east doors, the SWAT team observed a pair of hands press against an office window, and then disappear.99

99 “The potential for a hostage situation now existed,” the sheriff’s report noted — the first erroneous assumption that police were dealing with a hostage-taking. Moments later, a male student fleeing from the school ran toward the fire truck. The boy was searched for weapons and placed on the floor of the truck’s rear cab; he told officers that “no other people were in the office area.”

At 12:06 P.M., six officers, led by Simmons, entered the school through a door just south of the main east doors. They were unable to communicate verbally because of the noise of the activated fire alarm system, and were hampered in their movements by smoke and fumes.100

100 “They had to operate under the premise that around every corner, and inside every classroom, there was the distinct possibility of confronting armed suspects,” according to police.

The six officers split up and began searching classrooms and offices along the east and south corridors. Simmons’ three-officer team located two female staff members and evacuated them to the east side of the building, believing it to be the “safest evacuation route.”101

101 As other Denver SWAT teams arrived, Simmons waved them into the school to assist in the search, but there were no reports that the newly-arriving units located any other people during their initial search.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:41 pm


F. THE ABORTED ENTRY INTO THE WEST SIDE OF THE SCHOOL AND THE RESCUE OF RICHARD CASTALDO

Lieutenant Manwaring reported at 12:31 P.M. that the fire pumper on which he and the other SWAT officers were riding was at the north side of the school, moving toward the west side. Three minutes later, the team arrived at the upper level of the school’s west side. Officers had reported seeing a pipe bomb adjacent to downed students Castaldo and Scott, so the SWAT team’s plan was to ram the west doors with the truck.102

102 The sheriff’s report said officers hoped the water inside the pumper would absorb a potential bomb explosion, so that the SWAT team could make entry, even though Richard Castaldo was still alive and would have been in harm’s way had a blast occurred. Television news footage, shot from a helicopter hovering above the school, captured the scene as Kleinschmidt backed the truck up toward the west doors. About 25 yards from the doors, the pumper became mired in mud in a stretch of grass between two connecting sidewalks. As the entry plan went awry, the decision was made to attempt a rescue of the downed students, including another victim, Daniel Rohrbough, who was lying on a sidewalk down the incline from the west doors and library.

Using a ballistic shield, Denver SWAT officers DiManna and Phelan moved toward Castaldo and Scott, as Denver SWAT officers Harry Bloodworth, George Gray and Daniel O’Shea, along with Manwaring and Littleton Police SWAT officer Greg Bohlen, provided cover.103

103 During the approach, Manwaring, Gray and O’Shea reported discharging their weapons. The officers involved gave varying accounts of what transpired next. Manwaring said as he approached the double doors, he thought he saw the silhouette of an “aggressor” inside the double doors, and fired two rounds from his .223-caliber Colt AR-15 rifle at the “veiled person.” Manwaring later said the figure “could have been a reflection” of the approaching officers. O’Shea recounted that he was providing cover for the rescue at the open, north-facing library door when “one of the suspects threw an improvised explosive and Sgt. O’Shea fired his weapon,” according to an account by P.J. Doyle of the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office, who debriefed O’Shea. O’Shea also said a gunman “discharged at least 3 rounds in the direction of the SWAT officers.” O’Shea reported seeing the “muzzle flash” of a gun, but not the shooter, and fired rounds from his 9 mm submachine gun into the library door. Gray reported laying down 16 to 18 rounds of “suppression fire” into the west doors, but did not see any gunmen in the building. Officers Bloodworth and Bohlen did not fire their weapons during the rescue of Castaldo and the retrieval of Scott’s body.

Meanwhile, Phelan and DiManna checked on the downed victims. Determining that Scott was dead, the officers turned toward Castaldo, who was closest to the west doors. Phelan, with DiManna holding the shield over the officers and Castaldo, began dragging the student across the grass and sidewalk when Phelan said he observed “several flashes to my right and observed Sergeant O’Shea return fire.” DiManna said he felt “a concussion/heat” on the right side of his face as the officers backed out of the corner and passed the library door.104

104 “I don’t know what it was,” DiManna said in his debriefing.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:41 pm


After retreating behind the pumper, the officers lifted Castaldo onto the bumper of the truck. Jefferson County Deputy Scott Taborsky pulled his patrol car up to the fire truck and Castaldo was placed in the back seat; Taborsky then drove away. Even though they knew Scott was dead, the SWAT officers decided to approach the west doors again to retrieve her body. Taking the same route as they had during the Castaldo rescue, the officers dragged her body behind the truck, later placing it in the open to the side of the vehicle. Moving along the west-facing outside wall of the school building, DiManna and Phelan led two other officers down the slope toward the third downed student, Daniel Rohrbough.105

105 Phelan and DiManna both thought Rohrbough was dead because he was blue in the face, and therefore decided to leave him where he lay on the sidewalk.

At this point, about 12:39 P.M., SWAT commanders Manwaring and DiManna called off an entry into the west side of the school.106

106 Denver officer Gray recounted that after the Rohrbough incident, the SWAT officers reassembled by the fire pumper. Phelan and DiManna wanted “to slow things down a little bit,” Gray said, adding that “we wanted to pull back to get into a position where we could help the people inside.” DiManna reported after the pull-back that he “left the scene and assisted Lt. Manwaring in the overall tactical response and search.” Manwaring recalled holding his position by the west doors for what he thought was about two hours.

It appeared that the two commanders, who mistakenly thought there was at least one gunman still active inside the school, decided to pull back and reassess the situation at the west side of the school.107

107 The reported sighting and firing at officers by unknown suspects inside the school occurred between 12:35 and 12:39 P.M., according to the Jefferson County sheriff’s timeline. By the sheriff’s official account, however, Klebold and Harris had committed suicide in the library at 12:08 P.M.

Thus, the mistaken reports of seeing and being fired on by unknown gunmen delayed entry into the school’s west side, in the upper level of which a majority of the wounded and all the dead victims were located. Jefferson County Sheriff’s SWAT teams finally entered the school’s west side through the ground floor at 1:09 P.M. Regrettably, wounded students remained in the library awaiting rescue during the period of time police had postponed entering the school’s west side.108

108 Patrick Ireland, who had been shot in the head while inside the library, was drifting in and out of consciousness; he plunged out the library window of his own accord at 2:38 P.M. Lisa Kruetz, wounded in the shoulder, wrist, ankle and hip, was unable to leave the library after Klebold and Harris had departed following their shooting spree. She was rescued about 3:30 P.M. In addition, teacher Dave Sanders was slowly bleeding to death in the science room, also located in the west wing of the Columbine building.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:41 pm


G. COMMAND POST ACTIONS; SWAT AND TACTICAL OPERATIONS OF OTHER POLICE AGENCIES

As he held his position at the southeast corner of the school building, Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy Paul Magor encountered students and staff members fleeing from the building; they informed him of the gunfire and explosions inside. At 11:32 A.M., Magor requested that the dispatcher issue a call for “mutual aid” at Columbine High School. In response, law enforcement, fire and rescue agencies from throughout the Metropolitan Denver area began to flood the neighborhood. Moments later, Jefferson County SWAT commander Lieutenant Terry Manwaring ordered SWAT teams to the school, and paged the sheriff’s “command structure.” Manwaring, having arrived at Pierce and Leawood Streets east of the school at 11:36 A.M., directed that a command post be established at that site. Manwaring later described a “very chaotic scene,” with panicked and upset students milling around the area. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Phil Hy reached the command post three minutes later, and began “identifying and disseminating pertinent information to the initial responders.” Other Jefferson County command officers appeared there shortly afterwards.109

109 Lt. Dave Walcher arrived at 11:45 A.M. and “assume[d] the role of incident commander;” Manwaring was designated as tactical commander.

Undersheriff John Dunaway was at the scene by 11:51 A.M. and authorized SWAT officers to make immediate entry into the school. The first SWAT team penetrated the east side of the school fifteen minutes later.110

110 While en route to the school, Sheriff John Stone telephoned county commissioner Patricia Holloway at 11:52 A.M. to brief her on the shootings.

As noted earlier, law enforcement officers from several jurisdictions had already reached the school, having heard of the shootings from various sources.111

111 Littleton police officer Mike Wood, one of the first officers on scene at 11:40 A.M. reported that “no Critical Incident Command Post had been set up;” he established a temporary post in a Littleton patrol car.

Littleton police Sergeant Doug Parker, the department’s SWAT coordinator, ordered the Littleton SWAT team paged at 11:41 A.M.; he arrived at the command post “shortly thereafter.”112

112 Parker said Captain Bob Armstrong of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office then informed him that since the Littleton SWAT team was the closest, “it’s your problem;” he offered administrative assistance as Parker established a SWAT staging area.

As he arrived at the command post at about noon, Littleton SWAT commander Sergeant Bill Black found “an extremely chaotic situation.”113

113 Black later said he had been unable immediately to locate an incident commander, and so “began assisting in the arrival and deployment of the various SWAT units,” which by now included teams from the cities of Littleton, Denver, and Lakewood police departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Arapahoe and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Offices.

After Black finally located Walcher, the incident commander, Black informed him of his action, and Walcher requested that Black assist in the “deployment and direction of the tactical units.”114

114 Black said he ordered Parker to work on implementing Walcher’s request. He then directed Littleton officers Daphne Baca and Mike Wood to set up a tactical operations center for the “collection and dissemination of information.”

Ranking officers from the Denver and Littleton police departments, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado State Patrol and the Littleton Fire Department soon descended on the command post to assist Walcher, who began assigning the various agencies different tasks, such as traffic control, SWAT deployment and medical evacuations.115

115 The report stated that Walcher “would manage the incident minute to minute as it unfolded by using a structured Incident Management System.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:42 pm


H. SETTING A PERIMETER; REPORTS OF A HOSTAGE-TAKING SITUATION

One of the police commanders’ first priorities was to establish perimeters around the school, the surrounding neighborhood and adjacent Clement Park, a sprawling sports complex north of the school. The inner perimeter around the school was designed to confine the incident to the school grounds. The outer perimeter was to serve as a “buffer” for the inner perimeter and to provide security for concerned parents, news media representatives and others coming to the school.116

116 Despite the attention given to establishment of the perimeters, Denver police officer Larry Whitman, assigned to contact a suspicious person at Clement Park, discovered that the “outer perimeter along the southwest portion of the school was not covered.” He and his partner, both officers with the mounted patrol unit, secured the location until 5:00 P.M. The command post at the east side of the school was continuously bombarded with information as commanders plotted entries into the school. A 12-member SWAT team was selected to attempt the first entries, using a fire pumper as a shield. By 11:55 A.M., the command post had obtained a detailed description and identification of Eric Harris as one of the suspects, just as the multiagency SWAT team began its approach to the east side of the school. At 12:15 P.M., Sergeant Hy at the command post reported “a possible shooter and hostages at the front door of the school,” after SWAT officers approaching the school reported seeing a pair of hands appear and disappear inside an east window. Arapahoe County Deputy Wayne Belohlavy was informed by Jefferson County officers at the command post that there were at least two shooters still firing and that there were hostages inside the school. Arapahoe County Corporal Michael Kelly was directed by Jefferson County Undersheriff John Dunaway, sometime after 12:20 P.M., to “set up for negotiations in the event of contact with the suspects.” Lieutenant Bruce Williamson of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, who was at the scene on the day of the massacre, testified before the Commission that collecting and disseminating accurate information from all jurisdictions was a daunting task, and that a unified command system had been lacking.

Lakewood SWAT officers also encountered a confusing scene as they reported to the command post.117

117 Sergeant George Hinkle said his SWAT squad arrived at 12:45 P.M. Informed by a Lakewood officer who was already on scene that the Jefferson County commanders “were not yet ready to provide a specific mission” for them, the Lakewood officers decided to move on their own. “We had received reports from other law enforcement personnel that there were many victims both inside and outside of the school who were wounded and needed to be rescued,” Hinkle wrote in his report.

Hinkle and his officers joined the Denver SWAT officers; the resulting team left the command post at 1:02 P.M. “to begin rescuing wounded students.” Before taking any action, however, Hinkle was ordered to check with the command post. Hinkle’s unit was then given an assignment to search the student parking lots for the suspects’ booby-trapped cars. Lakewood SWAT officer Joe Wray was deployed to the northwest side of the school where Denver police officers had set up “a mini command post.” At 1:45 P.M., while posted near the west doors where officers had reported an earlier exchange of gunshots with the shooters, Wray, two other Lakewood officers and two Denver officers, were instructed to go to the roof of the school to “establish high ground control.” However, minutes later the officers were ordered off the roof so that SWAT teams inside the school would not “mistake our footsteps on the roof as possible suspects.” At 12:41 P.M., other Jefferson County SWAT officers arrived at the command post. Led by Sergeant Barry Williams, a ten-officer squad was assembled for another foray into the west side of the school. Even among Jefferson County officers, communication proved a problem.118

118 Williams reported being unable immediately to contact Manwaring, who was still on the west side of the school following the aborted entry and retrieval of the body of Rachel Scott and the rescue of Richard Castaldo.

Shortly after he arrived at the command post at about 1:00 P.M., Lakewood police officer Burdell Burch concluded that with so many people congregating at the Leawood and Pierce command post, another command site was needed.119

119 “It was determined that a SWAT tactical command post was needed near the school and away from the confusion surrounding the incident command post,” Burch wrote. “Other agencies were directed to send their tactical commanders to the forward command post in order to coordinate rescue operations at the school.”

At about 12:50 P.M., Williams’ squad commandeered a front-end loader from a local construction company doing work in the area and moved from the command post to the west side of the school. At 1:09 P.M., Williams’ team entered the school through a ground-floor window opening into the faculty lounge. From there, the officers began clearing the lower level of the school’s west side, but it was not until 2:30 P.M. that they located wounded teacher Dave Sanders upstairs in the school’s science wing; it required another hour before they uncovered the grisly scene within the school library.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:44 pm


I. SWAT TEAM ENTRY INTO THE LOWER LEVEL OF THE SCHOOL’S WEST SIDE

After Williams’ team arrived at the west side of the school, they were told by Manwaring and other officers that the suspects had last been spotted in the library. Jefferson County SWAT officer A.J. Andrea reported being informed “that a door leading into the library was blocked by a bomb,” so that an alternate point of entry had to be used. The bomb spotted by officers before the rescue of Richard Castaldo was still outside the west-facing double doors, and not at the emergency exit door that led directly to the library, which faces north. Manwaring and other officers had discharged their weapons through both sets of doors during the rescue operation, and at that time had observed the bomb’s location.120

120 The sheriff’s report stated that “because a ‘live’ bomb blocked the outside west doors leading into the upper level hallway and entrance to the library, the closest point of entry was into the cafeteria.” However, any ‘live’ bomb blocking an exit door was most likely a small, unlit pipe bomb, not a large, timed explosive device like the diversionary bombs in the perpetrators’ cars, or the propane tank bombs planted in the cafeteria. Students fleeing from the library had moved safely through the emergency exit earlier, which the sheriff’s report acknowledged when it noted that survivors fled out the library door toward Jefferson County deputies taking cover behind the sports equipment shed near the west doors.

Nevertheless, a decision was reached to eschew immediate entry through either of the upper-level doors. Denver SWAT Sergeant Daniel O’Shea, who earlier had reported exchanging gunfire with a shooter, suggested the cafeteria underneath the library as the best location for an entry. Denver and Jefferson County SWAT team officers broke through the window to the teachers’ lounge next to the cafeteria and entered the empty room at 1:09 P.M.121

121 The official police report said the officers were “met with the deafening noise of the fire alarms and the sight of flashing strobe lights, hanging ceiling tiles and three inches of water coming in under the closed door of the cafeteria.”

After securing the room, the officers opened the door to the cafeteria, where they encountered rising water from the building’s sprinkler system, upended chairs and tables, and scattered backpacks left behind by panicked students as they fled the packed lunch room. As officers secured the cafeteria doors, other SWAT officers moved to the kitchen and food storage areas, and breached the locked doors at 1:26 P.M.122

122 To their surprise, the SWAT officers began encountering groups of frightened students hiding in ankle-deep water in the kitchen storage rooms, according to the official police report. However, the son of a Denver police officer, Matthew Depew, had been on the telephone from the storage room talking with a Denver police officer, John Lietz, for approximately ninety minutes, relaying information to Jefferson County dispatchers about the trapped students’ location and the killers’ whereabouts.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:44 pm


Police reported that the 20 to 30 terrified students hiding in the storage room were slow to respond to commands from the SWAT officers, apparently because they were fearful of black-clad men wielding firearms, whose attire was similar to the descriptions of the two gunmen.123

123 The officers also located janitors Jay Gallantine and Jon Curtis in the kitchen walk-in freezer, where they had sought refuge after warning students and staff to flee the school when the shooting erupted.

Once the students had been convinced that the SWAT teams were law enforcement officers, the students were evacuated from the school by the same route the SWAT officers had used to enter - through the faculty lounge window.124

124 The students were ordered to run up the stairs in single file, and past the upper west doors where police had earlier exchanged gunfire with Harris. The escape route also forced the traumatized students to run by the bodies of dead students Daniel Rohrbough and Rachel Scott. Rohrbough’s body was lying on the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps leading up the incline and Scott’s corpse was lying west of the sidewalk at the top of the hill, where officers had left it after dragging it away from the west doors where Scott had been gunned down. After watching fleeing students run by Scott’s body, some even jumping over it, two police officers were seen on news footage dragging Scott’s body by its arms across the sidewalk behind the fire engine barrier. There was no apparent effort to remove Rohrbough’s body at that time, because officers evidently felt it was still too risky to retrieve it so close to the cafeteria windows.

Meanwhile, Simmons’ east-entry SWAT team continued sweeping the school corridors and rooms, reporting at 1:18 P.M. the evacuation of 30 students and staff from upper-level classrooms on the south side of the building. Williams’ west-side team was told at 1:32 P.M. that the suspects’ last known location was downstairs by the business classrooms.125

125 The officers are first visible on the security tape inside the lunchroom at 1:45 P.M. Williams told his officers to “take it slow” because of the potential threat from explosives in the scores of backpacks that were now floating in the rising water.

Outside the school, Jefferson County sniper Dennis Beery, stationed atop the roof of a house south of the school, reported at 1:45 P.M. seeing a woman inside the science room holding a sign, “1 BLEEDING TO DEATH.”126

126 A second Jefferson County marksman, D. K. Hoffman, reported seeing the sign at 2:15 P.M., the official time listed by the sheriff’s office for the first observation of the sign. Hoffman said he did not immediately see the sign until he had moved out of the way of a large pine tree blocking his view.

Lakewood SWAT officers deployed in the south parking lot also observed the sign in the science room window.127

127 Lakewood officer Donn Kraemer requested permission to form a rescue team, but Lakewood SWAT Sergeant George Hinkle refused; he thought the small size of the Lakewood squad, the open stairway and the unknown location of other SWAT teams all posed extreme danger should the group undertake such an operation. He did relay the information to the command post, but was told that two Denver SWAT teams were clearing the second floor.

Inside the school building, the SWAT teams comprised of Denver and Jefferson County officers moved along the lower floor to the business offices where, they were told, the perpetrators had last been seen. A student and a counselor were found in the business area and evacuated. The teams split into separate cells, and began clearing people from other lower-level rooms, including about 120 people in the auditorium and music rooms. Because the officers had seen explosive devices on the lower hallway floor and in locked classrooms, Williams advised the teams to “keep a slow pace for safety reasons.” Sometime after 1:43 P.M., Williams received information from the command post that there was a wounded person in the “main floor” science wing.128

128 The command post was unable to give the SWAT team directions to the science room, Williams wrote in his report without elaboration. He reported difficulty in communicating with the outside command post, but said there had been clear contact with Simmons and his east-entry team, who informed him that Jefferson County, Denver and Littleton SWAT officers were continuing to sweep the east side of the school. At 1:57 P.M., Williams reported that his team had found six students and teachers hiding in the ceiling of the kitchen, and two minutes later asked the command post for “better directions” on how to locate the wounded teacher.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:45 pm


J. SWAT TEAMS SWEEP UPPER LEVEL OF SCHOOL AND LOCATE DAVE SANDERS IN A SCIENCE ROOM

As the SWAT teams moved slowly through the hallways searching other classrooms, inside Science Room 3 the trapped teachers and students continued to aid the mortally wounded teacher, Dave Sanders.129

129 Continuing telephone calls from teachers Alan Cram, Ken Friesen and Teresa Miller kept the command post and dispatchers apprised of Sanders’ condition throughout the afternoon. Students Elizabeth Mullen and Michael Rotole told investigators that Miller, who was on the line with dispatchers for two hours, “kept telling students the SWAT team is coming in 20 minutes, but they would not come." Students Aaron Hancey and Kevin Starkey continued to apply pressure to Sanders’ wounds, while others tried to keep him conscious by showing him photographs of his family and talking to him.

Sanders was still conscious and talking, but his breathing became increasingly labored, and he seemed to realize time was running out as the afternoon wore on.130

130 “Mr. Sanders started talking about SWAT and they better get to him soon or he would have to go down to them,” student Eric Parsons later told investigators.

Simmons and his SWAT team had cleared the administrative offices on the east side of the school’s upper level by 2:28 P.M. They evacuated two female employees from there and then moved to the art and consumer education areas. Two minutes later, Williams’ team moved from the cafeteria up the stairway on the school’s west side.131

131 The sheriff’s report stated that officers saw remnants of pipe bombs on the landing leading to the upper level. The stairwell wall was blackened from the detonation, and nails the killers had packed into the device were scattered around the area. The report also noted that the stairway was glass-walled, “wide open and provided no protection from any shooter.” The official police report also said Williams was aware of the sign in the science room and “reasoned that the person bleeding must be somewhere on the upper level since SWAT had just finished clearing the ground floor.” However, the team still did not know which room Sanders was in, but were informed that a rag or T-shirt had been tied on the door handle to mark the location. The report indicated that the SWAT team moved cautiously because of the exploded pipe bomb and, after clearing the stairs, moved to the upper level of the school. Williams reported observing Simmons’ east-entry SWAT team as it moved down the corridor from east to west. According to the sheriff’s report, SWAT officers also spotted the telltale rag on the door handle near a “Science Room” sign painted on the wall, but “faced several obstacles" before they could make entry.

The top of the stairs opened into an intersection of two hallways, one leading to the library on the west and the other to the science and foreign language areas straight ahead to the east. A pipe bomb had exploded and singed the carpet in front of them. Shattered glass lay everywhere. Blood was visible on a large area of carpet in front of them and on one of the windows, and a trail of blood led into one of the other science rooms. Live ammunition rounds and spent casings were scattered over the floor.132

132 The sheriff’s report implied that the officers faced too many unknown hazards for them to move more quickly, but in an interview with a law enforcement trade journal, Williams later stated that the officers “went in with superior weapons. We had HK MP5's (automatic sub-machine guns), assault rifles, gas guns, shotguns, as well as side arms. We entered with Army helmets with Kevlar, ballistic tactical jackets with steel plates in the front and ballistic shields." Despite such weaponry and armor, the record reflected that a burned carpet, spent and unlit ordnance, unfired bullets and broken glass had deterred officers from conducting a swifter search, not only upstairs but also in the lower hallways. As noted earlier, Williams reported telling SWAT officers repeatedly to move slowly through the school because of the pipe bombs spotted in the lower hallways.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:45 pm


At 2:40 P.M., Jefferson County SWAT officers finally entered the science wing. Teacher Alan Cram characterized the SWAT officers as “very abusive;” they would not listen to him as he tried to tell them about Sanders.133

133 Cram stated that the officers pointed their weapons at him, forced him to lie face down on the floor, and put a gun to his head as they frisked him.

Moments later, Jefferson County officers Kirk Beaulieu and Grant Whitus discovered Sanders and about 30 students inside Science Room 3.134

134 Deputy Beaulieu took over applying pressure to Sanders’ wounds and radioed for medical help. The officers then placed Sanders in a chair and moved him to a back storage room where, according to Whitus, they talked to Sanders “until he could no longer talk."

Outside the east side of the school, rescue personnel were becoming increasingly frustrated because of their inability to reach Sanders. Denver police detective Jim Hess said that, at 2:45 P.M., he was assigned to accompany a Littleton ambulance crew who were told to assemble by the main east doors, where SWAT officers would escort them inside the school to treat the wounded. According to Hess, SWAT officers told the paramedics many times to get ready for the victims, but they were “always stopped because of possible danger to the paramedics.” Hess noted that the building had apparently not been cleared, even though he had witnessed several groups of students being evacuated out the door by which the ambulance was parked.135

135 One of the Littleton paramedics with Hess, Captain James Olsen, later stated that his ambulance crew had waited by the east doors for a “seriously wounded injured teacher that we were told would be out in a few minutes." Olsen estimated that his crew had waited at the door for 90 minutes. “We were prepared for any injured student and the injured teacher, which never came." At one point during their wait, Olsen said “it became apparent that the SWAT teams did not have maps of the school” that firefighters had given to a SWAT runner earlier. The sheriff’s report acknowledged that the Littleton paramedics were poised with a gurney to move into the school to reach Sanders, but “the hallways and classrooms leading to the science area had not been secured;” Williams requested repeatedly that paramedics respond to the west side of the school, which had been cleared and was being protected by Denver SWAT officers.

Denver paramedic Troy Laman finally reached Sanders about 30 minutes after officers first had entered the science wing. Laman told Whitus that Sanders had no pulse, so there was nothing they could do for him. The deputies then left Sanders and Laman and moved to an adjoining classroom where they found another 50 or 60 students and two teachers hiding in a room east of Sanders’ location. From there the officers moved toward the library, where they would discover the most devastating carnage wrought by the two killers.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:46 pm


K. DISCOVERY OF WOUNDED SURVIVORS IN THE LIBRARY

After completing their sweep of the science wing, SWAT officers moved westward down the hallway toward the library — the last room to be searched in the entire building.136

136 Again the official police account noted that officers had observed more "gunshot holes in the windows, bomb fragments and shrapnel on the floor . . . and a pipe bomb embedded in the wall just outside the library door."

Protected by a ballistic shield held by a Denver officer, Jefferson County deputies Whitus and Beaulieau were the first to enter the library at 3:22 P.M., and moments later were joined by other Jefferson County SWAT officers. The officers moved to their left and noticed at least three females lying on the floor on the east side of the library.137

137 “One of the females was alive and was holding her hand up toward me," Whitus later recounted. Beaulieu spoke with her; she identified herself as Lisa Kreutz. The officer observed gunshot wounds to her forearm and shoulder, and the girl told him she also had been shot in the foot.

Beaulieu radioed the dispatcher to summon paramedics to the library, and waited with Kreutz and Sergeant Barry Williams until the paramedics arrived.138

138 Williams said Kreutz told officers several times, "Don’t let me die." Kreutz recalled remaining conscious throughout her four-hour ordeal. At one point she tried to escape but became lightheaded when she stood up, and returned to her hiding place underneath a table. After hearing the 2:30 P.M. class bell ring, Kreutz tried to get up again, but began to hear police officers outside the library. When police reached her, she recalled being told by an officer that she was the only one alive in the library.

The official police report asserted that other officers then worked their way to the open library emergency exit, which leads outside to the school’s upper level.139

139 "Several bombs were lying inside the doorway, but the first priority was to get a team of paramedics into the library to attend to Lisa Kreutz," according to the report.

This was the same door that SWAT officers said they had avoided entering three hours earlier because a "live" bomb blocked the way. When paramedic Troy Laman reached Kreutz, he rolled the girl on her shoulder to examine her back.140

140 Kreutz said she felt "excruciating pain," and next recalled being placed on a backboard and hearing someone say they needed "to get her out of there in a hurry."

She was evacuated through the emergency exit. While medical personnel tended to Kreutz, the other officers in the library discovered the 10 murdered victims, some still lying under desks and tables.141

141 "All the students had what appeared to be lethal gunshot wounds to them," Jefferson County SWAT officer A.J. Andrea reported.

In the southwest corner of the library, officers discovered the bodies of Klebold and Harris on the floor, facing each other with their firearms nearby. Both had gunshot wounds to the head.142

142 Autopsy results revealed Harris died from a self-inflicted shotgun blast when he placed the barrel of the pump-action weapon in his mouth and fired. Klebold, who was left-handed, died from a self- inflicted 9 mm bullet wound to his left temple, fired from the TEC DC-9 semiautomatic pistol. Officers also observed "numerous" explosive devices around the killers’ bodies and in their ammunition pouches and pant pockets. A Molotov cocktail, with jellied gasoline as its fuel, had been ignited on a table top and had started a small fire that burned itself out or was doused by sprinklers before police arrived.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:46 pm


From her hiding place under a checkout counter in a west room of the library, teacher Patti Nielson heard library employees Lois Keen and Carol Weld call to her about 3:30 P.M. that it was safe to come out. When Nielson emerged from the room, officers noted that she "was badly traumatized and had suffered a shoulder injury." All three women were then evacuated from the library, as was teacher Peggy Dodd, who had sought refuge in the magazine room adjoining the library.143

143 Jefferson County deputy Williams contacted SWAT commander Manwaring to inform him there were approximately 15 dead inside the library, including two who matched the description of the gunmen. At 3:39 P.M., he turned the crime scene over to bomb technicians who had been summoned to the library.

Outside the school, Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone erroneously told reporters at a 4:00 P.M. news briefing that there were "up to 25 dead" in and around the school. The official police report said the mistaken figure came about when the command post added the number of dead in the library to a previous fatality total. Another six victims "already had been sent to area hospitals with life-threatening wounds, some of whom were referred to as probably deceased" and were added to the tally, according to police. All the wounded victims transported to hospitals survived their injuries.144

144 The sheriff’s office disseminated the incorrect fatality total 30 minutes before Dr. Christopher Colwell, the attending emergency room physician at Denver Health Medical Center, had been escorted into the library to examine the victims. At 4:45 P.M., Colwell pronounced dead the 10 victims and two perpetrators inside the library. Colwell then examined Dave Sanders in the science room and officially pronounced him dead.

After the Columbine High School building had been cleared of occupants, investigators and explosives technicians began the task of documenting and cataloging the nearly 100 explosive devices found on the school grounds, inside the school and on the bodies of the two killers, as well as in their cars. The first priority was to dispose of and defuse the explosives, as SWAT teams from various agencies began sweeping the school a second time, continuing their searches late into the evening.145

145 At 11:30 P.M., Boulder County SWAT officers, preparing to enter the school "overheard radio traffic that four or five persons in uniform had made an unescorted entry through the east entry door." Several minutes later, the Boulder County officers observed four people with federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) jumpsuits and markings coming out the northwest side of the school. "We were asked to contact the individuals and find out what they were doing," Lt. James Smith later reported. The Boulder officers approached the four ATF agents, who said they had been requested to meet with a SWAT team to search the school for unexploded bombs. "The command post asked us to direct the individuals out of the school building and to the northeast corner," Smith noted in his report. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s report made no mention of an involvement of ATF officers in the search of the school, but only that they were involved in the bomb-making and firearm-acquisition investigations. The report does acknowledge the cooperation of SWAT teams from nearly every Metropolitan Denver police agency that responded to the Columbine High School emergency and that were assigned various tasks. The cities of Lakewood, Littleton, Englewood, Northglenn, Thornton, Denver, Boulder and Commerce City all deployed officers to the scene. In addition, SWAT officers from Arapahoe, Boulder and Adams Counties provided assistance, as did the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s SWAT teams and the Colorado State Patrol’s tactical unit.
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PostSubject: Re: The Report of Governor Bill Owens’ COLUMBINE REVIEW COMMISSION May 2001   Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:46 pm


L. MEDICAL AND RESCUE RESPONSE

Fire and other rescue teams from throughout the Front Range of Colorado responded to Columbine High School after a mutual aid request was transmitted by Jefferson County authorities. An initial medical triage area was established near the intersection of Caley Avenue and Yukon Street, near the school.146

146 The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office report noted that 17 fire apparatus teams and 50 rescue and ambulance units treated the wounded. There were also two helicopters available to convey seriously wounded victims to area hospitals. A total of 160 victims were diagnosed at the triage locations, and 24 of the wounded were transported to six Denver area hospitals, which had been alerted and were standing ready to treat victims.

All victims transported to the hospitals survived their injuries, although at least one victim reported a delay in receiving medical attention.147

147 The mother of Valeen Schnurr, who was seriously wounded in the library, testified before the Commission that several police officers ignored her daughter’s injuries until they realized how grave her wounds were and obtained medical treatment for her.

M. VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES AT LEAWOOD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

A significant difficulty authorities faced at Columbine was reuniting students who had escaped the massacre and their parents. Authorities decided to transport students to nearby Leawood Elementary School, and informed parents through the news media to go directly to Leawood to locate their children. Eventually, students were brought into the school gymnasium to their awaiting parents. For parents who had to wait, it was a painful process, and at the end of the day there were still parents whose children had not appeared. Victim support personnel were summoned to Leawood to assist families awaiting word of their children, but no definitive identification of the victims at the school could be given to those waiting on April 20th.148

148 Because the school was a crime scene and it was not clear if other perpetrators were involved, and the building still harbored a number of unexploded bombs, police did not allow Jefferson County Coroner Nancy Bodelson into the building on the day of the massacre to begin examining the victims.

It was not until late the following morning April 21 that the coroner was permitted to move the bodies of Rachel Scott and Daniel Rohrbough into the school from where they lay outside it. Early that afternoon, she was allowed to remove bodies from the interior of the school. All this significantly delayed official notifications to families of their children’s deaths; it was not until late on April 21 that they were officially notified of the deaths of their loved ones.149

149 In fact, the coroner did not release her findings until Governor Owens urged her by telephone to do so.
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