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 Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999

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PostSubject: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:19 pm


U.S. Fire Administration/Technical Report Series

Wanton Violence at Columbine High School

Littleton, Colorado

April 1999

Department of Homeland Security
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:19 pm


COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL

Columbine High School is one of the Jefferson High School District's facilities that is located within the LFD's fire district. At the time of this incident, 1,945 students were registered in the four-grade (9-12), open-campus style high school. Approximately 120 teachers and 20 administrative and sup¬port personnel worked at the school.

The majority of the school is a one-story building of masonry construction. However, the facility underwent a substantial expansion several years ago, with a two-story addition that included a caf¬eteria, library, auditorium, and classrooms.

The area immediately surrounding the school includes several athletic fields, recreational park areas to the north and west, and three parking lots-one each to the northeast, east, and south of the build¬ing. A major north/south thoroughfare (South Pierce Street) borders the east side of the school grounds and provides the only street access to the school. Beyond the large parking lot to the south is an extended privacy fence separating the school grounds from a residential area consisting primarily of one- and two- story single-family homes.

At the time of the incident, the school had a public address system in the administration office with speakers in the hallways, auditorium, gymnasium, classrooms, commons area, and cafeteria. There were security cameras in the administration area and the cafeteria. Each of the 75 classrooms had televisions, computers, lockable doors, and a telephone. The telephone system provided 20 outside lines.

The building's installed fire protection system included an AC/DC power supply battery backup alarm system, fire alarm annunciator panel, sprinkler zone control panel, manual pull stations, water gong sprinkler flow alarm, and fire department supply inlet connections for the sprinkler system. The sprinkler heads throughout the majority of the school are rated to activate at either 135 degrees Fahrenheit or 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The capacity of the system was originally designed to accom¬modate the simultaneous activation of eight heads before the fire department needed to supplement the sprinkler system water supply. However, when the addition was constructed, the capacity was reduced to six activated heads.
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:20 pm


THE DIVERSION

On April 20, 1999, at approximately 1122 hours, the Littleton Fire Department, West Metro Fire Department, and Jefferson County Sheriff's Office patrol deputy were dispatched to a reported explosion and grass fire at the intersection of Chatfield and Wadsworth, approximately 3 miles southwest of Columbine High School. A road crew working along the road's shoulder noticed two bags and tossed them aside. One bag exploded, resulting in a small brush fire. A crew member called the 9-1-1 operator, who dispatched the Littleton Fire Department. Engine 13, normally the unit closest to Columbine High, was sent to investigate the explosion and to extinguish the resulting brush fire. The person reporting the incident stated:

I don't know if it was a car or what it was, but they're on Wadsworth North Boulevard between Chatfield and Ken Caryl. There was an explosion in the backyard. I don't know if it was a car or a propane tank, a big ball of fire, now there is smoke. There are several people pulled off to the side of the road.

Upon arriving at the scene, they found a small grass fire and an explosive device that had detonated. The deployment of Engine 13 on this call placed them about three times farther away from the high school than would have been the case if they had been in station.
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:20 pm


THE ATTACK

The assault on Columbine High School began when two male students, ages 16 and 17, arrived at the school, parked their cars, and carried two duffle bags into the cafeteria. They returned to their cars, put on their trench coats, and gathered their weapons. They open fired at students sitting by the fence and outside the cafeteria on the grass by the west entry doors, killing two and injuring five. Shortly before 1200 hours, the perpetrators lofted at least one explosive device onto the roof. They then went to the northwest doors of the west corridor entrances outside the library.

As the attack began, some students thought it might be something related to Senior Prank Day involving firecrackers. A major segment of the students and faculty were completely unaware of the events that were unfolding. However, it quickly became apparent that a violent incident was occur¬ring. Teachers who could not get their students out of the building locked down their classrooms and barricaded the doors in an effort to keep the students safe. Other students were ushered out of the building to safety by the faculty and by fellow students. The administrators were able to relocate to safe refuge areas and began efforts to track the locations of students and faculty. The principal and a representative from the school district coordinated efforts to provide parents and the community with information as it became available.

The attackers threw pipe bombs, fired inside the school doors, and then entered through the west entry doors. Shots were fired down the hallway at fleeing students. The two heavily armed students exchanged gunfire with the school resource officer and continued throughout the school, shooting and throwing bombs. The assailants entered the library and walked through the area for approxi¬mately 10 minutes, encountering students who were hiding under the tables. Ten students were fatally shot, 11 were injured, and other escaped unharmed. The assailants then proceeded downstairs to the cafeteria and partially detonated one of the initially deployed duffle-bag bombs. From there they proceeded into the science area, shooting through doorway glass panels, deploying additional pipe bombs, and starting a fire. They then returned to the library and opened fire to the outside, shooting at paramedics who were attempting to rescue the victims lying outside the cafeteria.

Because of the haphazard path that was taken by the attackers, there were numerous 9-1-1 calls from different locations inside the school, further adding to the confusion as to the location and number of perpetrators. At one point, law enforcement personnel were under the impression that as many as eight individuals may have taken over the school.

Post-incident reconstruction suggests that the two perpetrators committed suicide in the library shortly after firing at the paramedics at about 1205 hours. This fact, however, was not known to first responders at the time. As a result, law enforcement and fire/EMS resources continued to arrive at the scene and to operate on the premise that violent perpetrators still posed a danger to students, faculty, and public safety personnel.
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:21 pm


THE RESPONSE

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 operators began receiving a flood of phone calls from panicked students and faculty. The activated fire alarm at the school also alerted the operators to a situation at the school. A teacher called 9-1-1 from the library to report that the teenage assailants were approaching and that she was desperately trying to keep the students under the tables. The 9-1-1 tape reveals her beseeching the children to find cover and stay down.

Littleton Engine 11, Rescues 11 and 13, and Battalion Chief 1 were dispatched for a report of shots fired and an explosion on the initial response to the school at 1129 hours. It is estimated that gunfire was exchanged between the assailants and the school resource officer at the same time.

At 1133 hours, while en route to the school, Rescue 13 requested that two ambulances be added to the assignment while Engine 11 requested that a MedEvac helicopter be placed on standby. By 1137 hours, Rescue 13 had arrived and staged at Weaver and Pierce Streets.

Littleton’s Battalion Chief 1 arrived on the scene at 1138 hours and assumed fire command at Pierce and Fair Streets. He immediately gave a size up of the situation and designated a stag¬ing area for Rescue 13 at Pierce and Weaver. He then requested that a law enforcement representative respond to the command post as a massive law enforcement response was developing. Engine and Rescue 11 were directed to stage at Pierce and Leawood.

It is difficult to imagine the scene that first responders encountered shortly after arrival that morning. What they were confronted with was confusion, carnage, and chaos – the result of indiscriminate, wanton violence. The scene included the following.

• Dead and injured students and faculty who had been shot with a variety of semiautomatic and conventional weapons

• An active, hostile environment

• Antipersonnel-style, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in various locations of the two-story portion of the south end of the school, and extending into the adjacent lawns and side¬walks, which suggested additional risks, such as booby traps, tripwires, and motion-sensitive detonators

• Incendiary devices fueled by flammable liquids and gases in various types and sizes of containers

• An unknown number, status, and circumstance of school occupants hiding inside the structure in many locations, such as above drop ceilings, in closets, and in classrooms

• Confirmed casualties needing medical assistance both inside and outside the school

• Violent perpetrators whose numbers, identity, location, and status were unknown

• Terror-stricken occupants running from building and hiding behind vehicles and barriers

• An activated sprinkler system

• An activated fire alarm

• Reports of an odor of natural gas

• The interior environment compromised by smoke, haze, noise, and flashing strobes from the fire alarm system.
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:22 pm


Battalion 1 was receiving information from students, teachers, and law enforcement personnel already on the scene. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office reported to the LFD dispatch center that students were congregating at several locations. Due to the large number of students and teachers fleeing the scene in various directions, multiple triage and treatment areas would be established. The initial triage/treatment area was organized in Clement Park, just north of the school grounds.

At 1141 hours, the Engine 11 captain worked with students to control the crowd and to identify which students had seen the offenders and might be able to provide information. He directed all Littleton Fire Department personnel to remove their blue uniform shirt and badge, reverting to the standard issue gray fire department T-shirts to enable on-scene personnel and panicked students to more easily differentiate between the police and fire and EMS personnel.

The fire department dispatch center had broadcast warnings that he suspects might be wearing long, black trench coats. The center also had received reports of victims with head, face, and spinal injuries, at various locations in and around the building.

At 1144 hours, after recognizing the impending complexity of the incident, Battalion Chief 1 requested assistance from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office to set up a unified command post. Simultaneously, Rescue 11 was deployed to Fair and Pierce Streets for a victim with a gun-shot wound to the leg. Rescue 11 transported this patient to Jay and Bowles Streets, where the patient was transferred to Columbine Ambulance 5 and transported to Littleton Hospital.

At 1145 hours, there was a report of at least one assailant located in the cafeteria.

At 1146 hours, the command post was relocated to Leawood and Pierce near the Sheriff's com-mand post by Chief 10, the designated operations chief. He also initiated a callout of senior fire officials. The Littleton Fire Chief, Chief 1, was placed on the call at 1150 hours and responded from headquarters.

In the school cafeteria, the assailants were trying to activate homemade explosive devices that had not detonated by shooting at them. Their actions were captures by surveillance camera tapes that show the two teenagers entering the cafeteria, throwing devices, and shooting at one of the pre deployed device until it ignited and activated the school’s sprinkler system at 1152 hours. That device consisted of a 20-pound propane cylinder, a 1-gallon metal can of flammable liquid, and a 1-gallon container holding flammable liquid. The detonator was made of a pipe bomb with a combined mechanical and electrical activator. The propane cylinder was not breached and the container did not vent in the ensuring incipient fire. Only the flammable liquid in the 1-gallon metal can ignited.

Chief 1, along with the deputy fire marshal and a paramedic captain, arrived on the scene at about 1159 hours, assumed command of the fire and EMS operations, and established unified command with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s lieutenant in charge. The arriving command officers obtained information on the situation and resource status, incident objectives, and operational tactics. Battalion 1, now the designated operations sector chief, divided staging into fire and EMS. The north staging area included mostly law enforcement and EMS, while fire and EMS units staged to the south. A liaison officer was established due to the numerous resources and agencies responding to the scene. The Fire Department’s Public Information Officer (PIO) assisted the Sheriff’s Department (PIO).

As the incident progressed, two paramedic units moved in to rescue students who were just outside the building. Two minutes later, at 1158 hours, Rescues 11 and 13 reported that they were “taking gunfire” as assailants shot at the EMS and law enforcement personnel. Despite facing lethal gunfire, the unarmed paramedics made repeated attempts to rescue the wounded and take them to safety. Disregarding their own safety, drivers of the rescue units positioned the vehicles to protect the patient loading area from the line of fire. They successfully rescued three critically injured students, and confirmed that a fourth student was dead.
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:22 pm


At 1202 hours, while Rescues 11 and 13 had recovered three victims and were withdrawing under fire from the southwest parking lot, fire command authorized the police to use Engine 11 as a vehicle shield for the SWAT officers positioned to approach and enter the school. The windows of the engine were covered with body armor, a SWAT officer received an impromptu course in driving the fire apparatus from Engine 11’s driver, and all the medical equipment was pulled off the engine for use elsewhere on the scene. Onboard breathing apparatus were left on the engine. Those assets should have been removed in order to secure them and to reduce projectile-induced explosion risks to personnel and equipment. Engine 11 crew members were subsequently assigned to assist Rescue 11, Rescue 13, and the medical sector.

Over the following 35 to 40 minutes, command designated a medical group with a communications officer and a transportation officer. Although a precise time was not available, Jefferson County activated an EOC in their county building in Golden while also establishing an information and media center at the Columbine Public Library, which was also used as a meeting location for students and parents, as was Leawood Elementary. Student names were faxed back and forth between the library and the elementary school as information was updated. Mutual-aid companies began backfilling the Littleton fire stations.

Rescue 13 transferred one of its two patients to a waiting Denver Health Ambulance, which subse¬quently transported the patient to Denver General Hospital. Rescues 11 and 13 each transported their patients to the Swedish Medical Center. Students – some wounded – were being escorted from the school and away from the area by law enforcement personnel.

A landing zone was established for medical helicopters on the soccer field of nearby Clement Park. The area was chosen because it was out of the line of sight from the building and could accommodate two helicopters at a time. The area was easy to secure, had good access to the street, and provided adequate space to stage and prepare a potentially large number of patients for MedEvac transport.

At 1210 hours, the lieutenant from Rescue 18 established the Yukon/Caley Triage Division, a cul-de-sac in the residential area south of the school where students, some of whom were injured, began congregating. Communications at the site were limited as the area was essentially a “dead zone.” The communication problems experienced at Yukon and Caley prevented the lieutenant from contacting the triage sector for hospital assignments via the trauma-net hospital radio link.

Law enforcement officers began transporting some of the injured students in their police cruis-ers from a refuge area on the northwest corner of the school to the cul-de-sac at the intersection of Yukon and Caley. Rescue 18 responded first to the new triage area with five personnel. Rescue 18 had been transporting the crew from another unit that was placed out of service for mechani¬cal reasons. Included on Rescue 18’s crew were two paramedics, two EMTs and a new dispatcher assigned to ride in the ambulance to observe field operations. An ambulance and engine company from the West Metro Fire Department also responded to Yukon and Caley from a staging location at the Littleton/West Metro fire district border. Staffing was further augmented when an off-duty LFD paramedic captain, who was on his way to the school to locate his daughter, arrived and began assisting with patient care. Many of the law enforcement and fire department personnel at the scene had children or knew other teens that attended Columbine High School, which added significantly to responder stress levels.

Littleton’s Training Chief, Training 10, was in charge of coordinating the landing zone for the MedEvac helicopter east of Clement Park. Training 10 had been involved with live burn training evolutions prior to responding to the emergency at Columbine; he was still wearing his soot-covered turnout gear. At 1212 hours a police sniper deployed about a quarter mile away observed Training 10 and considered him a suspicious person because he appeared to be wearing a black trench coat. The chief was not wearing a helmet or an incident command vest, which would have more readily conveyed his operational role. Command vests were not used because the battalion chief’s vehicle was out of service briefly for an oil change. All the normally available incident command equipment was left in the vehicle, and the reserve vehicle was not comparably equipped. Officers attempting to secure the area approached Training 10 with their weapons drawn and took him to the ground before realizing who he was.
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:23 pm


At 1218 hours Yukon and Caley Command (R-18) requested 10 ambulances to assist with 11 patients – 4 critical, 4 serious and 3 stable – all of whom were students. One of the patients, a young male with a gunshot wound to the head, began to experience seizures just prior to transport; paramedics rushed to airlift this patient to the hospital (Figure 11). Other units that assisted at the Yukon and Caley Triage Sector included Engine 13; West Metro Ambulances 10,12, and 13; Pride Mark Ambulance 106; and Rescue 101. At 1224 hours Regional hospitals set up a trauma network and conducted an available bed count of their respective facilities.

Situation report from SWAT members inside the school indicated that fire suppression resources might be needed. Reports indicated that there was a fire in the cafeteria and activated sprinkles. In addition, the odor of what was thought to be natural gas was present in the school, creating con¬cern over the potential for explosion and fire. Later, it was determined that the smell was in fact the residual odor of the combustible liquids ignited from the propane bombs in the cafeteria. A fire task force was established at 1242 hours and staged at Pierce and Coal Mine Streets. The task force was made up of apparatus and personnel from the Littleton, Denver and West Metro Fire Departments. It was determined that the best access to the building would be through the main entrance. The task force began formulating plans to combat a fire-related emergency, working closely with law enforce¬ment personnel.

With communication between fire and rescue personnel increasingly hampered due to the sheer volume of radio traffic, the fire department incident commander, Chief 1, requested a second fire ground channel, a dispatcher from the emergency communication center, and the expedient deploy¬ment of the department’s new 800-MHz radios, which had not yet been placed in service. The radios arrived and were selectively deployed to link the different sectors of the ICS, while the use of VHF radios continued for the fire task force and staging operations. Concurrently, all EMS units with access to the Fire Emergency Response Network (FERN) were switched over to that channel. The channel allowed most, but not all, mutual-aid companies and the Littleton Fire Department EMS units to operate on the same frequency. Also, all ambulances transporting patients were required to notify the facility to which they were responding on the Hospital Emergency Administrative Radio (HEAR) network, which links all the area hospitals.

Shortly before 1300 hours, parents were advised that uninjured students could be met and released at Leawood Elementary School. Frantic parents descended upon the school in anticipation of meet¬ing up with their children. At 1354 hours, LFD’s Rescue 18 and Engine 17 were called to Leawood Elementary for a reported heart attack.

At 1305 hours, just 90 minutes into the incident and only 1 hour after it had been established, the Yukon and Caley Triage Sector reported to command that all 11 of their serious patients had been transported to local hospitals. Police officers accompanied each patient to the hospital to provide protection, to collect additional intelligence and evidence, and to be available to record dying dec¬larations if necessary. One ambulance called dispatch while transporting victims to the hospital and indicated that they were possibly being followed by one of the assailants. Returning ambulances restocked their medical supplies at Station 13 and awaited further mission assignments.

Rescue 13 was ordered to locate at the east doors of the school at the request of SWAT officers, who told them to wait there while they attempted to reach a critical patient inside the building. The plan was to have the SWAT team bring the patient out to the rescue, since it was unsafe for the paramedics to enter the building. At 1325 hours, Rescue 13 established the East Triage Sector at the east entrance of the school. The purpose of this sector was to triage and treat faculty and students as the SWAT team removed them from the building, or as they escaped on their own. Members of Rescue 13 also found a suspicious backpack in their path in the east entrance; by this time they had been warned about the possibility of motion-sensitive detonators. There were reports that the gunmen may have changed clothes and were attempting to escape with the other students. Thus, as students evacuated the building, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department personnel ordered that they all be treated as suspects until cleared. Throughout the incident, numerous students and faculty were evacuated from various locations inside the school.
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:23 pm


Littleton fire officials, Engine 17, Rescue 18, and the bomb squad were dispatched at 1429 hours to one of the suspect’s home for a report of a natural gas leak. Upon arrival and investigation, the crews found a variety of apparently live explosive devices. The engine company established a water supply, and all radio transmission on the scene were suspended. Upon arrival of an LFD captain at 1525 hours, the surrounding homes were evacuated, and the bomb technicians proceeded to render the devices safe without incident.

At the school, units were still operating with extreme caution. They were unsure of the suspects’ locations or conditions and were concerned about the obvious presence of explosive and incendiary devices. With students still in the building and no information about the status of most of them, the West Triage Sector was established at 1457 hours. An LFD captain assumed command of the sector and used the mutual-aid crews and equipment from Denver Health, West Metro, South Metro Rescue, and other ambulance companies. The primary mission of this sector was to support SWAT operations and to triage and treat victims who might exit the west side of the building.

By 1534 hours, there were reports of more than 20 people injured in the school. Additional reports indicated that there were three officers and two suspects down within the school. Although the “officer down” reports proved to be unfounded, they added substantially to the tension at the scene. Also at this time, area emergency service personnel began responding. A local news crew had aired an unauthorized and unneeded request that all available EMS personnel in the vicinity of Littleton should go to Columbine High School to assist with the mass casualty incident. The responsiveness of these personnel, some of who drove as long as 2 hours to reach the scene, is commendable, but the influx of unnecessary providers only added to the onsite challenges.

By approximately 1537 hours the last surviving student from the library was transported with multi¬ple gunshot wounds. Moments later, at 1540 hours, a teacher with a gunshot wound to the shoulder was transported. These actions essentially drew the assault-related EMS operations to a close.

Due to the duration of the incident, a logistics sector officer was established. The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army supplied food for the emergency workers at the scene. Sanitation needs were addressed, and potable water was provided. Local merchants helped with food and beverages. Emergency cellular telephone communications were enhanced at the incident site by deploying por¬table towers to improve service. Lighting units were requested to support nighttime operations. Fuel tenders were provided to refuel equipment. The Littleton Fire Department also provided a mobile mechanic and tow service for a mutual-aid that had broken down.

Although a formal planning sector was not established at this incident, the resources that were requested were tracked. Patient tracking was conducted between the treatment control officers, stag¬ing, and the transportation control officer.

At 1543 hours the incident command post received a report of a possible gas leak in the ceramics room of the school. Not long after, the SWAT officers reported that there were no more survivors in the school. The Fire Task Force was then asked to assist the EOD teams who were conducting render-safe operations. The task force’s assignment was to provide medical assistance and fire suppression if a device activated. Every member assigned to the Fire Task Force operations volunteered for this hazardous assignment.

The Fire Task Force was also requested to shut down the sprinkler system, deactivate the fire alarm system, and shut off the natural gas supply to the school. Gas company personnel assisted in these operations. As the fire department personnel and the utility workers approached the rear of the build¬ing to shut off the gas supply, they received reports of shots fired in the gymnasium. Actually, one of the explosive devices had detonated spontaneously, but there was no fire and no one was injured.
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:24 pm


By 1600 hours fire/EMS operations had undergone transition to a standby status in support of ongoing EOD and law enforcement activities. At 1604 hours SWAT officers cleared fire department personnel to enter the building and shut off the school’s fire alarm and main sprinkler system. As the incident began to wind down for the responding firefighters and paramedics, the Littleton Fire Chief ordered that all B-shift personnel be brought in to relieve the A-shift personnel for the remainder of their shift, thus allowing the A-shift personnel to stand down.

Despite the de-escalation, danger still existed within the school. Many explosive and incendiary devices remained in place, and hundreds of backpacks that had to be checked for explosives were still inside the building. Explosive experts and SWAT officers were particularly concerned about the pos¬sibility that the assailants had placed motion-sensitive detonators on devices throughout the school, or hidden devices in concealed locations.

A physician from Denver Health was on the scene as a medical control officer to coordinate transpor¬tation of the victims to area hospitals. The command staff was in the process of establishing a team of firefighters/paramedics to go into the building to verify the fatalities. Volunteers were requested, and protective equipment, such as helmets and ballistic vests, were being gathered. AT 1645 hours, the physician entered the school – against orders from the law and fire commands – to pronounce the dead. The physician, on his own initiative, assembled a team of on-scene paramedics to search the school with him. Their personal safety, as well as that of all emergency responders who were still on the scene, was jeopardized by these actions. One of the medics whom the physician directed to assist him went on short-term disability leave after the incident due to post-traumatic stress.

Most of the LFD personnel returned to their stations by approximately 1700 hours Critical incident stress debriefings took place that evening at the fire stations, and continued incrementally for months. Most A-shift personnel were relieved by 2000 hours. Meanwhile, bomb technicians from differ¬ent agencies worked into the evening at the school, performing render-safe procedures on various devices that were being removed. At 2230 hours one technician accidentally detonated a device while loading it into a disposal unit and had to be evaluated for injuries. That event effectively suspended operations for the day. The bodies of the deceased were removed the following afternoon, which concluded the direct fire and EMS support. Investigators processed the crime scene and maintained custody of the school until it was returned to the school district on June 1, nearly 6 weeks after the incident.
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:24 pm


LAW ENFORCEMENT/SWAT/EOD

The first law enforcement actions were rendered by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office community resource officer who was assigned to the high school. He was able to identify the initial location of the suspects and to communicate their actions to incoming personnel.

Upon arrival, the incident commander representing the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office recognized the need to collocate command posts and to unify the command structure with the fire department. It was especially helpful to place both command posts together because inter-agency communica¬tions were challenging, even under “normal” circumstances. Law enforcement was able to establish a Tactical Operation Branch to coordinate the interior SWAT operations as well as the tactical snipers who were deployed around the perimeter. An Evacuation Branch was established to control the triage/treatment areas, conduct interviews with students and teachers who had information pertaining to the incident, and transport the non injured students to safe refuge area. The Evacuation Branch also assisted the parents at the Leawood Elementary School until they were reunited with their children. The Scene Control Branch established inner and outer perimeters, monitored staging areas, and provided victim assistance and parental control. The Investigations Branch conducted the crime scene investigation, including explosives and munitions; gathered information and intelligence; worded with the Coroner’s Office and conducted vehicle, scene, and residential searches and seizures, shows how the law enforcement response was organized.

The SWAT teams at first were assembled by assigning SWAT personnel regardless of what agency they represented. A total of four primary SWAT teams were deployed. Five secondary teams were organized to perform secondary searches. When the teams’ officers entered the building, they discovered detonated and unexploded devices, an activated sprinkler system, and activated smoke and fire alarms. The SWAT personnel began a search of the 75 classrooms, restrooms, closets, utility rooms, and connected areas. They found students who were hiding in concealed spaces throughout the building. The officers searched each room, cleared it, marked their findings on the door, and then communicated the information to the Tactical Operations Branch director.

Law enforcement personnel maintained inner and outer perimeter control of the entire area sur¬rounding the school. They also had to restrict parental access to the school while they assisted fleeing students. Other officers were assigned to manage law enforcement staging areas or to interview and gather intelligence from students and teachers who had information vital to the incident.

At approximately 1135 hours the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office issued a group page for members of the Arapahoe Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad to respond to Columbine High School. LFD’s Deputy Fire Marshal responded and functioned as a bomb disposal technician under the command and control of the Arapahoe sheriff in accordance with preauthorized procedures. After reporting to the command post, he proceeded to Pierce and Bowles Streets and established the EOD staging area (near the Fire Department Command).
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:25 pm


EOD OPERATIONS

The law enforcement personnel assigned to the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) unit included certified bomb technicians and bomb technician apprentices from four agencies. All bomb squads have at least two bomb disposal suits, x-ray equipment, two disrupters, and counter-explosive charge materials. The EOD personnel brought the following resources and FBI-certified tools and equipment to the scene:

• Jefferson County Sheriff's Office: one bomb disposal vehicle (open containment vessel) on a trailer.

• Arapahoe Sheriff's Office: one bomb disposal vehicle (open containment vessel) on a trailer and transport truck and robot.

• Denver Police Department: one bomb disposal vehicle (open containment vessel) on a trailer.

• On Scene: three bomb robots of different sizes.

The arriving EOD units began to conduct render-safe procedures of the numerous devices in the building and surrounding areas. Render-safe procedures inside the school included a systematic search for explosive/incendiary devices. More than 60 devices were rendered safe for transport to a remote disposal area. Over 30 devices had either fully or partially functioned when the suspects initiated them.

At 1429 hours an EOD team responded to the residence of one of the suspects and conducted a consent search. They recovered pyrotechnic materials. Later, at approximately 1600 hours, two EOD teams entered the high school under SWAT cover to look for timed devices and to conduct render-safe procedures on exigent devices. One technician wore a full bomb disposal suit. A “fragmentation bag” was also available. The team observed various incendiary/explosive devices – some expended, others live.

Concurrently, at approximately 1600 hours, the EOD technicians initiated an automobile search and discovered two automobiles, each containing various explosive/incendiary devices. The two cars were parked in different lots at the east and south ends of the school. The EOD team identified exigent circumstances (timer-initiated devices) and initiated render-safe procedures. All EOD teams were diverted from inside the school to conduct render-safe operations on the devices in the two automobiles. Nationally recognized and accepted bomb render-safe and disposal procedures were employed to mitigate the life-safety hazard of the various explosive and incendiary devices and materials.

The crime scene investigation concluded that the assailants fired several hundred rounds of ammunition and used more than 90 incendiary/explosive devices, which were recovered in the investigation.
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PostSubject: Re: Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:25 pm


MUTUAL AID – RESPONSE

Littleton Fire Department participates in automatic mutual aid with neighboring jurisdictions, includ¬ing the West Metro, South Metro, Englewood, Sheridan, and Denver Fire Departments. They also enjoy good working relationships with several private ambulance companies, including Columbine Ambulance Company, American Medical Response (AMR), Pride Mark Ambulance Company, Rural Metro Ambulance Service, and Denver Health.

The fire, rescue, and EMS resources committed to this incident came from nearly 50 agencies repre¬senting local, State and Federal authorities. During this incident, a total of 172 command, fire, and medical personnel were used. They responded with 10 fire companies and 48 ambulances. One fire department chaplain also responded.

During the incident, a mutual aid chief officer was assigned to the communications center for the purpose of coordinating mutual-aid responses, ensuring coverage in neighboring jurisdic-tions, providing moveups to various fire stations as needed, and initiating the recall of Littleton Fire Department personnel The availability of a chief officer at the communications center also provided a decision making person to facilitate and approve requests for resources, equipment, services, and expenditures.


HOSPTIAL SERVICES

Within the immediate area of Littleton, LFD routinely used six hospitals for patient care. As rescue ambulances transporting victims arrived at local hospitals, they were met by trauma teams ready to provide the needed definitive care. All the victims who were treated at Columbine and transported by EMS units (and other means) from the scene to area hospitals survived their injuries.
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Wanton Violence at Columbine High School - April 1999
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