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 Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED

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Sabratha

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PostSubject: Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED   Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED Icon_minitimeFri Feb 16, 2024 8:53 am

INTRODUCTION:

This is something I wanted to make for some time... ever since we had discussed the controversy related the Patti Nielsen call timeline, as well as the 2021 story told  by Richard Castaldo about a gunman walking up to Rachel and asking her the god question... which ws different than what he told to the police in 1999.

In both cases, the timeline of the first 5 minutes of the atatck was a central issue, from the opening shots to the end of the gunfire exchange between Harris and Gardiner.

A lot has heppeend during these 5 minutes and the precise order of some of the events remains unclear (IE: Did Harris shoot Hochhalter seconds after or seconds before Dylan shot Kirklin?). Having said that, I feel I had narrowed these down to ~20 second intervals and I got a good grasp of the timeline.

I've based the following reconstruction on the FBI timeline and diagrams, the CCN website timeline, the order of events as preented by Time Krabbe in his book, as well as the official timeline of the JeffCo and 911 calls.

The graphics used are my modififaction of the FBI sketches.

The colored dots representing people are labelled as follows:

K = Klebold
H = Harris
S = Scott
C = Castaldo
G = Gardiner
Ni = Nielsen
An = Anderson
Ho = Hochhalter
Gr = Greaves
Ki = Kirklin
Rh = Rohrbough
Jo = Johnson
Ta = Taylor

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Last edited by Sabratha on Sun May 12, 2024 1:33 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Sabratha

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PostSubject: Re: Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED   Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED Icon_minitimeFri Feb 16, 2024 9:55 am

11:19 AM - the situation just before the shooting:

Harris and Klebold are on top of the stairs, wearing their coats. They have a duffel bag at their feet. Scott and Castaldo are sitting down to eat by the entrance. Kirklin's group (Kirklin, Rohrbough and Greaves) just exited the cafeteria and are going towards the stairs. Taylor and Johnson's group (5 people in total) are sitting on the lawn just north of the parking lot, some 10 meters away from Harris and Klebold:
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11:19 AM Opening volley
One of the gunmen shous: "Go! Go! Go!". One pipe bomb is thrown towards the entrance (likely by Klebold), another out into the field (likely by Harris). The gunmen open fire on Scott and Castaldo, hitting both of them.
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11:19 AM: Chaos
Chaos erupts, most witrnessess still think this is some sort of prank. Harris and Klebold fire in several different directions (possibly at students far away in the distance), but never hit anyone. Klebold throws a pipe bomb into the parking lot that lands to the right of Kirklin's group who are turning towards the stairs.
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11:20 AM: Harris fires down the stairs
Johnson's group, still confused, begins to rise up from the grass. Klebold's TEC9 jams on the large clip. He is working on fixing the jam, but finally decides to reload the TEC and drop the unused large clip. Harris turns south and fires on Kirklin, Rohrbough and Greaves as they run up the stairs towards the gunmen in the confusion. Harris hits all 3 of them:
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11:20 AM: Johnson and Taylor are hit
Harris turns to his right and fires on the 5 person group that includes Johnson and Taylor. Both Johnson and Taylor are hit in the back as they are trying to run away. Taylor falls to the ground and pretends to be dead. Johnson runs away despite his injuries.
Greaves almost immedieatly after being shot begins to crawl away, down the stairs and away from the gunmen.
Meanwhile to their south, the Hochhalter group is still oblivious to the danger is approaching the gunmen from the south walking towards the stairs. Hochhalter herself later stated that she was sure it was a senior prank and that those were paintball guns:
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11:20 AM to early 11:21 AM: Hochhalter is shot
Klebold begins walking down the stairs. Greaves continues crawling towards the cafeteria entrance, while the Johnson group escapes towards the field to the west of the gunmen. The Hochhalter group stops and only now begins to turn away from the gunmen, realizing that something is very wrong. At just this moment, Harris takes a step or two down the stairs facing south, then fires at the group. Hochhalter is hit, leaving her paralyzed for life:
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11:21 AM: Klebold shoots Kirklin and Rohrbough
One of the gunmen (possibly Harris) shouts: 'This is what we walways wanted to do!'
Klebold walks down the stairs and stops by Kirklin and Rohrbough, who are lying wounded. Klebold says: 'Sure, I'll help you!' and shoots both of them point blank.
Harris throws a pipe bomb, which falls and explodes near Hochhalter:
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11:21 AM: Klebold goes to the cafeteria
Klebold walks over Greaves, who is lying in the cafeteria doorway playing dead. Klebold peaks into the cafeteria for a second or two, but does not shoot anyone inside.
Hochhalter's group now drags her away from the parking lot and places her near the CHS wall, out of sight of the gunmen.

NOTE: This is when the roughly 40 second time window when Harris is left alone happens. It is unclear was Harris is doing at this time. He does not shoot at the Hochhalter group while her friends are moving her away, thus it is reasonable to assume that Harris is facing in some other direction. We know that at some point in the first 5 minues of the attack, Harris had fired some shots in the direction of the football field. This is very likely the moment when this happens, as to do so he would need to turn towards the northwest and away from Hochhalter.
If he turned away from her and is now focused on aiming to hit targets far away in the field, then this would perfectly explain why he doesn't even notice Hochhalter being dragged away and why he doesn't attempt to prevent it:
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11:21 AM: Klebold goes to the cafeteria - ALTERNATIVE HARRIS'S ACTIONS SCENARIO
However, there is another possible interpretation of Harris's actions in this 40 seconds window. If Castaldo's 2012 account of the gunmen walking up to Rachel, asking her the god question and shooting her is correct, then this is the only momen when it could take place.

This would require Harris to run up (or at least very quickly walk) up to Rachel, ask about god, hear her answer, then shoot her in the head nearly point blank, then run back to his initial position at the top of the stairs. All within this roughly 40 second window of time.

I personally find this to be the least plausible scenario, however intellectual honesty demands me to admitt that it is not entirely impossible. Moreover, if Harris is walking towards the CHS entrance, than this would also explain why he doesn't see or react to Hochhalter's friends dragging her away. The very curve of the CHS building would block his view of Hochhalter at the time that he would be walking up to Scott.

NOTE: Even this alternative interpretation does not perfectly match Castaldo's 2012 account. He stated both gunmen walked up to shoot her, while it is impossible for Klebold to be both in teh cafeteria and next to Scott at this moment. Moreover, there is simply not enough time for Harris to 'taunt her for several minutes', even he were to walk up to her in this timeframe and shoot her again:
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11:22 AM: Klebold returns to Harris
The janitor repaces the CCTV tape and the CCTV footage from the cafeteria comes online again. Klebold runs back to Harris and joins him at the top of the stairs. The gunmen proceed to throw several bombs onto the CHS roof, towrds the parking lot and towards the grassy hill to the west. If we assume the alternative scenario of Harris walking up to Scott a few seconds before, then now is the moment when he fires his Hi-Point carbine towards the football field:
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11:23 AM: Klebold and Harris fire at Nielsen and Anderson
Teacher Nielsen and student Anderson approach the western entrance from inside the building. The gunmen shoot at them through the door, but fail to hit them directly. Nielsen is slightly injured by the broken glass of the door, which disintegrates when Harris shoots through it. Klebold removes another jam, before both start to walk towards the entrance.
Both JSCO and 911 receive distress clals from CHS. Both calls describe a girl being down at CHS (possibly referring to Hochhalter):
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11:23 AM: Gunmen enter the school
Harris and Klebold walk into the school, firing into the corridor (probably in an attempt to shoot some fleeing students on the other hand). None of the rounds fired hit anyone.
Outside, very close to the 11:24 AM mark officer Gardiner drives his vehicle into the parking lot outside the western entrance:
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11:24 AM: Harris and Gardiner exchange fire
Klebold throws a pipe bomb inside the CHS hallway. Gardiner gets out of his vehicle and is almost instantly shot at by Harris, who is standing at the door. Note that Gardiner is easily visible and identifed due to his bright yellow shirt. Gardiner and Harris exchange fire, but neither of them gets hit.
Both gunmen move into the CHS hallway towards the exit at the other end of the building, Gardiner does not pursue them and instead remains near his vehicle at the parking lot:
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.... and this marks the end of the first 5 minutes of the attack. The remainder of the attack will involve the gunmen moving through the CHS building, neither of them will go outside or manage to shoot anyone outside the building.

The timeline from now on is pretty much established, thanks to the 911 call timestamps. It is the initial 5 minues that are confusing and chaotic.
I trust I managed to bring some clarity to those 5 minutes. I also hope to have adressed the possibility of the gunmen walking up to Rachel Scott and asking her the god question.

I think Castaldo's 1999 version that he told to the police is much more plausible than any of his later versions. Still, I wanted to show that there is a slight possibility of Harris having enough time to walk up to her in the 40 seconds time window roughly between 11:21:20 AM and 11:22 AM.
Even in this "alternative Harris's actions scenario" Dylan couldn't have been there, any interaction between Harris and Scott must have been incredibly brief and no prolonged conversation would have taken place.

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Last edited by Sabratha on Fri Mar 01, 2024 4:58 am; edited 7 times in total

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PostSubject: Re: Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED   Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED Icon_minitimeFri Feb 16, 2024 12:11 pm

The diagrams and books are  often wrong unfortunately. 11:23 is when the phone call was made, not when Patti was shot. As I recall she fell down and had to get up. Patti says it was 11:20, she also doesn't recall hearing any gunshots. She also says Eric has something on his head, which if the balaclava was at the start.  Patti went out to say "no" because she saw the weapons, not heard them or saw them killing for five minutes or one minute. Rachel wasn't shot first, and Patti wasn't serendipitously shot as she got to the door. Jenny said Rachel and Richard weren't shot yet when they were. The whole library only learns the attack is happening because Patti tells them. Only then does  Bree  care to look out the window, and says Dylan hadn't even gone down the hill yet.

Again, they wouldn't start shooting before tossing a pipe bomb into the cafeteria to in their minds detonate the first bomb , or before pulling the fire alarm, unless they were interrupted. Eric wrote the attack starts if they get interrupted.

There's also no evidence for 11:19. Ive looked and asked. That first bomb was 11:20, not rando 17. Patti says it was 11:20, and the footage doesn't start until 11:22. So 11:21 makes more sense.

All books get the bomb times wrong. 11:20 to 11:35 is the most nerveracking fifteen minutes Dylan is talking about, between cafeteria bomb 1 and 2, when attack starts and when it stops.

Patti's first statement, Jenny's, anybody in the library, logical inferences like they would have tossed a pipe bomb first, is clear. It's only Brian, who was shot, who says they were shooting already. I think he's wrong and they were just taking aim or something, whatever made Patti think it was a video production, because of all the rest.
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PostSubject: Re: Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED   Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED Icon_minitimeFri Feb 16, 2024 2:50 pm

cakeman wrote:
The diagrams and books are  often wrong unfortunately. 11:23 is when the phone call was made, not when Patti was shot. As I recall she fell down and had to get up. Patti says it was 11:20
Her 911 call comes in at exactly 11:27:47. 911 calls are the best dated thing you have here given 1999 technology.
So if she was shot at during 11:20, it would mean she took 7.4 minutes to go up the stairs one floor and call 911. That's implausible to me, just too darn long.

cakeman wrote:
she also doesn't recall hearing any gunshots.
That does makes sense.

My interpretation: She doesn't hear the initial volley and the Kirklin and Johnson group getting shot, because she is too deep inside the building and the closed CHS western door muffles the sounds further.

By the time she walks down the corridor and sees Harris and Klebold through the door, it is already something like 11:22:45 (near the tail end of my "11:22 AM: Klebold returns to Harris" image). By this time, they already stopped shooting at Hochhalter's group and onto the field and they are mostly throwing pipe bombs onto the roof and the parking lot.
So that's when she sees them and yes, at this moment they are fiddling with pipe bombs or reloading etc, but not currently shooting. She sees them for maybe 20 seconds doing that, but after the shooting she incorrectly recalls it as something much longer like those "5 minutes" you mentioned This is because time gets distorded for victims a lot.

cakeman wrote:
Patti went out to say "no" because she saw the weapons, not heard them or saw them killing for five minutes or one minute.
That makes me convinced that she is just confused. Do you imagine the gunmen standing their with their guns out for 5 minutes and not shooting anyone?
Johnson's group is 10 meters away. Scott is like 9 meters away. Surely they would see them during these 5 minutes and even if they assume it is a prank, there would be some talk and interaction: "Hey guys, what's with thye BB guns?" kind of thing.

No way is Nielsen seeing them stand with their guns for 5 minutes or even one full minute. She's getting her time wrong (which is very common for victims of such traumatic events).

cakeman wrote:
Rachel wasn't shot first, and Patti wasn't serendipitously shot as she got to the door.
Jenny said Rachel and Richard weren't shot yet when they were.
That would mean the volley that hit the door flies something like 0.5 meters from Scotts and Castaldo's heads. Yet they do not even try to get up and run, instead they are shot exactly in their initial sitting position? I do not buy it.

Let's take a real example: Johnson's group was roughly the same distance from the gunmen as Scott was. The Johnson group was caught sitting on the grass and startled by the first shots, but by the time Harris turns to them and starts shooting, they are already on their feet, running away. Harris hits them in the back.

My argument: If Scott was not hit by the opening volley, she would have been shot in the back while running away like Taylor and Johnson.

cakeman wrote:
Only then does  Bree  care to look out the window, and says Dylan hadn't even gone down the hill yet.
If Bree sees Dylan on the top of the stairs, then ockham's razor tells me this is after he ran back from the cafeteria, but before they walk to the entrance. So something like 11:22:30 or 11:23:00 on my timeline.

cakeman wrote:
Again, they wouldn't start shooting before tossing a pipe bomb into the cafeteria to in their minds detonate the first bomb , or before pulling the fire alarm, unless they were interrupted. Eric wrote the attack starts if they get interrupted.
If there is an interruption then said interruption would happen before the planned shooting time. Which would in a sense push my timeline even back to 11:18 or something... while you are syaing the timeline actually needs to be pushed forward not back. So I'm a bit confused here.

Also, what would be the interruption? There's nobody approaching them when they start shooting. The closest people are Scott and Johnson's group and they are all sitting down. Neither Castaldo, not Taylor nor Johnson report seeing anyone approach the gunmen. There's no apparent interruption that I see.
*shrugs*

cakeman wrote:
There's also no evidence for 11:19. Ive looked and asked. That first bomb was 11:20, not rando 17. Patti says it was 11:20, and the footage doesn't start until 11:22. So 11:21 makes more sense.
We know the first 911 call comes at 11:23 and it is a student who reports that "a girl is down" in front of CHS. We know he means Hochhalter, cause Scott can't be seen where she is, because of the curvatire of the building.

So, if we asume that "11:21 makes more sense", then within 2 minutes of that Hohchalter is shot, falls down, some student sees her, take out his 90s cellphone, dials 911 and reaches the operator.

Can all of this happen in just 2 minutes? Yes. But that would mean that Hochhalter is shot very, very early. Like in the initial volley. Thus if Harris shoots Hochhalter with the inital volley, that means he is facing south and thus away from Scott. By the time he turns around 270 degrees and shoots Scott and Castaldo, those two would have already been on their feet and running away. Which we know is not what happened.

So one piece of this puzzle could fit with 11:21, but then all the other pieces won't fit.    

cakeman wrote:
All books get the bomb times wrong. 11:20 to 11:35 is the most nerveracking fifteen minutes Dylan is talking about, between cafeteria bomb 1 and 2, when attack starts and when it stops.
I do not see why 11:20 would be that time. The diversion bomb went off some time before. Plus, the alarm clocks they were using were not super-accurate in the same way the 911 call timestamps are.

I had such an alarm clock in 1999. It was very, very easy to get it early or late by 0.5 or even two minutes.
I'm sure they synchronized their watches with the alarm clocks, but the alarm clocks themselves could have been off from "real time" by up to 1 minute at least.

cakeman wrote:
Patti's first statement, Jenny's, anybody in the library, logical inferences like they would have tossed a pipe bomb first, is clear. It's only Brian, who was shot, who says they were shooting already. I think he's wrong and they were just taking aim or something, whatever made Patti think it was a video production, because of all the rest.
No argument here. I'm sure that the "Go! Go! Go!" shout, the first two pipebombs and the initiall volley all happened withon roughly the first 10 seconds.

If the pipebombs preceded the volley and the shout, or whether it was vice versa... I doubt we will ever know for sure. 10 secs is too short of a timespan to know, so it would all be on my "opening volley" image regardless.
All in all, we do not have a disagreement on this point. Smile


ADDENDUM:
There's some parts where I'm not exactly sure what was teh order of some shots. For example, I'm not sure if Kirklin's group or Johnson's group was shot first. I know both happened just after th initial volley, somewhere around the 11:20 mark..

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PostSubject: Re: Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED   Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED Icon_minitimeFri Feb 16, 2024 9:16 pm

This is really impressive. Excellent work. Thanks for posting.

We can quibble about the timeline but, like you said, given the limitations of the technology in 1999 there are some questions that we're never going to be able to answer with absolute certainty and 100.00% accuracy - unless we invent a time machine.

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Sabratha

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PostSubject: Re: Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED   Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED Icon_minitimeSat Feb 17, 2024 4:08 am

LPorter101 wrote:
This is really impressive. Excellent work. Thanks for posting.

We can quibble about the timeline but, like you said, given the limitations of the technology in 1999 there are some questions that we're never going to be able to answer with absolute certainty and 100.00% accuracy - unless we invent a time machine.

For sure. Especially events that happened around the 11:20 AM mark. We know what happened, but the exact order in which they happened is unclear. That is why I marked it as ~11:20 and called it "chaos". A lot of things are happening, but most of the witnesses are at this point turning away from the gunmen.

Like Eric firing into the field at around 11:20 after the initial volley... did it happen after or before Klebold throws the 3rd pipe bomb into the parking lot? Why does he throw that pipe bomb in the first place?

Here's one interpretation: That both Eric's gunfire and the 3rd pipebomb are an early attempt at hitting the Johnson group. Harris fires, but his shots go wide of them and fly into the field. Klebold throws a pipe bomb at them, but it goes wide to their left and into the parking lot.

That's just a guess.. We know Eric fired and shots flew into teh field, we knew Klebold threw the 3rd pipe bomb. But who were these aiemd at and which happened first, we just don't know..


Another example is the '40 second window' when Harris is left alone. Just seconds ago he was facing south - he fired at Hochhalter, then threw a pipe bomb in that direction. But now Hochhalter's freinds are dragging her away and Harris does not seem to intervene in any way.
So what is he doing? Walking up to Scott? Reloading? Expiriencing a minor jam that is fixed without leaving physical evidence like an unused clip? Is he now crouched doing somethign with the contents of the duffle bag?

I think the most plausible explanation is that he turned towards the northeast and is aiming and shooting at kids far away in the football field. These long distance shots consume all of his attention and he has his back towards Hochhalter, so he fails to notice her being taken away. That's my best explanation, but that is not the only possible one.


Anbother exaple is what cakeman wrote about the initial volley and the first 2 pipe bombs. Which came first? What was the order in which this happened? I'm guessing his version is the more probable one (First the "Go! Go! Go!" shout, then the 2 pipebombs, then the first gunshots), but we can't be 100% sure. It is just not poissible to have that level certainty when talking about events happening within 10 seconds of each other or less.

I'm hapy with having been able to group thee events in images of ~30 seconds each.

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PostSubject: Re: Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED   Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED Icon_minitimeSat Feb 17, 2024 8:22 pm

Are you going to do the same diagram for when they are inside the school and the library ?

Cause that would be nice to see.

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PostSubject: Re: Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED   Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED Icon_minitimeSun Feb 18, 2024 4:42 am

RickMaster wrote:
Are you going to do the same diagram for when they are inside the school and the library ?

Cause that would be nice to see.

I coiuld, but I feel that would be less interesting:

- Because a lot of the shots that are fired in the corridors are fired at inanimate objects. To me it really wouldn't be interesting trying to establish if they fired at some corridor wall on 11:38 or 11:40. That would comprise a large part of the diagrams, but it doesn't change anything in the grand scheme of things.
- The FBI/CNN timeline has imho a relatively good grip on the events inside, particularly because of the CSI work done.
- We have the crime scene videos and we have the 911 call and the CCTV footage to help us arrange the activity inside. Doing the first 5 minutes outside was more interesting for me, because we do not have those other pieces of information. As a result the first 5 minutes were really murky, hence benefitted most from this sort of illustrated rundown the most imho.
- Also, the external activity timeframe produced some of the most vivid controversies like the Castaldo story or the confusion over where they had fired most of the shots from etc. I thought that by doing the timeline this way, I could at least prove that some of the proposed reconstructions (like E&D both walking up to Rachel) are outright impossible.


If I would do another such FBI-based diagram, it would probably be for the library attack. Having said that, I think the facts of what happened there are already relatively well established. I'm not sure if there's any interesting question or controversy that a diagram like taht could help resolve.

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PostSubject: Re: Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED   Sabratha's columbine timeline - the first 5 minutes ILLUSTRATED Icon_minitimeSun Feb 18, 2024 11:03 pm

Thank you for posting this. There have always been problems with the government timeline of what happened outside of the building that day. Another thing was the school's principal telling two different versions about what he did after the attack started.
If you are one of the people unlucky enough to have read Dave Cullen's book, you know this post is more accurate.

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