Columbine High School massacre
|Columbine High School massacre|
Eric Harris (left) and Dylan Klebold (right) caught on the high school's security cameras in the cafeteria, 11 minutes before their suicides
|Date||April 20, 1999|
11:19 a.m. – 12:08 p.m. (
|Target||Students and faculty at |
|Deaths||15 (including both perpetrators)|
|24 (21 by gunfire)|
|Defenders||William David Sanders|
The Columbine High School massacre was a
Their precise motives remain unclear, but the personal journals of the perpetrators document that they wished their actions to rival the
The massacre sparked debate over
In 1996, Eric Harris created a private website on
Harris's site attracted few visitors, and caused no concern until March 1998. Klebold was aware of the site and gave the web address to Brooks Brown, in an effort to warn him of Harris's threats of violence against Brown and his family. Brown's mother had filed numerous complaints with the Jefferson County Sheriff's office concerning Harris, as she thought he was dangerous. The website contained numerous death threats directed against Brown: Klebold knew that if Brooks accessed the address, he would discover the content and inform his parents, and likely the authorities would be notified. After Brown's parents viewed the site, they contacted the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. The investigator Michael Guerra was told about the website. When he accessed it, Guerra discovered numerous violent threats directed against the students and teachers of Columbine High School. Other material included blurbs that Harris had written about his general hatred of society, and his desire to kill those who annoyed him.
Harris had noted on his site that he had made pipe bombs, in addition to a hit list of individuals (he did not post any plan on how he intended to attack targets). As Harris had posted on his website that he possessed explosives, Guerra wrote a draft
After the revelation about the affidavit, a series of
On January 30, 1998, Harris and Klebold stole tools and other equipment from a van parked near the city of
Harris and Klebold were eventually released from diversion several weeks early because of positive actions in the program; they were both on probation. Shortly after Harris' and Klebold's court hearing, Harris's online blog disappeared. His website was reverted to its original purpose of posting user-created levels of Doom. Harris began to write in a journal, in which he recorded his thoughts and plans. In April 1998, as part of his diversion program, Harris wrote a letter of apology to the owner of the van. Around the same time, he derided him in his journal, stating that he believed himself to have the right to steal something if he wanted to. Harris continued his scheduled meetings with his psychologist until a few months before he and Klebold committed the Columbine High School massacre.
Harris dedicated a section of his website to posting content regarding his and Klebold's progress in their collection of guns and building of bombs (they subsequently used both in attacking students at their school). After the website was made public, AOL permanently deleted it from its servers.
In one scheduled meeting with his appointed
Their journals documented their plan for a major bombing to rival that of the
The pair kept videos that documented the explosives, ammunition, and weapons they had obtained illegally. They revealed the ways they hid their arsenals in their homes, as well as how they deceived their parents about their activities. The pair shot videos of doing target practice in nearby foothills, as well as areas of the high school they planned to attack. On April 20, approximately thirty minutes before the attack, they made a final video saying goodbye and apologizing to their friends and families.