The Columbine High School Massacre

Columbine Crime Scene Photos

The Columbine High School massacre occurred on April 20, 1999 between 11:14 AM and 12:10PM. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students and one teacher and injured 20 students and one teacher. The killers, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, then killed themselves shortly after open firing in multiple locations in the school.

Although it happened nearly a decade ago, as massacre cleaners, The National Crime Scene Cleanup Association (NCSC) is exposed to similar situations everyday. NCSC understands how these events shatter the worlds of others, and our hearts continue to go out to the Littleton, CO community. We’d like to pay respects to all families that were affected. The publication of this article is to hopefully reduce the number of incidents through education.

Reader Discretion is Advised: This story contains graphic images.

Unraveling the Columbine Massacre

The Columbine Massacre had been so deadly that it is easily considered one of the most serious acts of terrorism on American soil. Combined with having happened in a high school, a place meant to symbolize youth and facilitate learning, the shock around the story remains over 20 years later.

Eric Harris wrote a note on his computer mentioning that the massacre would be huge,

... like the LA riots, the Oklahoma bombing, WWII, Vietnam, Duke and Doom all mixed together.

In total, all the weapons they used:

  • 4 guns
  • 7 knives
  • 2 large propane bombs
  • 7 smaller propane bombs
  • 48 carbon dioxide bombs
  • 27 pipe bombs

Who was responsible for the planning and execution of this intense massacre? Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

Photo of a pipe bomb from Columbine

A photo of a pipe bomb used at Columbine. "VoDKA Vengeance" alludes to Klebold's internet alias, VoDKA. Click to enlarge.

Eric Harris

Place of Death: Columbine High School Library

Eric was born in Wichita, Kansas but moved several times from Ohio, Michigan, and New York due to his father’s involvement in the military. It wasn’t until his father retired from the military in 1993 when they were living in Plattsburgh, NY that they decided to move to Littleton, CO. It was said once by Eric’s father, Wayne Harris, that his ultimate goal in life was to “raise two good sons.”

Eric met Dylan in middle school. The two became good friends for years to come. Both worked at Blackjack Pizza throughout high school, where they were known for a few minor misdeeds such as setting fireworks off in the back alley, setting fire to the kitchen sink, and booby trapping the fence. 

After the girlfriend he’d taken to homecoming freshman year broke up with him, he staged a suicide. Later, he wrote “Ich bin Gott” (German for “I am God”) in her and another friend's yearbook. 

Eric appeared to leave a trail of misdeeds, all of which his father took notice and recorded. Starting in 1997, Eric’s father recorded the following incidents:

  • Eric’s friend Brooks Brown had been giving Eric daily rides to school, but one day had been very late. Eric verbally harassed his friend for days about the incident. Brooks felt mistreated by the fact he hadn't even been given gas money for the rides, and told him to find another friend to help him. 
  • In retaliation, Eric shattered Brown’s windshield with a rock and terrorized his home with firecrackers. 
  • After the police were contacted, Eric appeared to have sincerely apologized but then posted his phone number online, spurring his father to keep records of his son’s misbehavior. 
  • Eric and Dylan had been arrested for breaking into vans twice, once to steal electronic equipment. Both times the boys completed community service via Juvenile Diversion and were even released early given how remorseful he appeared to the judge and even his parents.

Dylan Klebold

Place of Death: Columbine High School Library

Dylan grew up in the area and attended the Littleton School District his entire life, with one transfer to a different elementary school that his parents later reflected may have been difficult for him. Dylan was described as a “quiet, shy, gentle” child by his mother and many of his peers. However, Dylan was very smart and engaged. He was in gifted and talented programs and played several sports.

While friends and students noticed Eric Harris had been picked on, not the same could be said for Dylan. In fact, a few days before the shooting, Dylan had been at the prom with friend Robyn Anderson, and had been talking about how he was soon to attend University of Arizona as a Computer Science major. His parents had just put a downpayment for his tuition not too long before the shooting.

The motive from both isn’t clear, but it is apparent Dylan struggled with hopelessness as a result of clinical depression. Most of the deaths were conducted by Eric Harris and Dylan had no prior history of aggressive tendencies. Additionally, it’s been said several times by mutual friends of the two that Dylan had started to change significantly after the two grew closer a year before the shooting. It’s very likely that Dylan had been heavily influenced by what originated as Eric’s plans.

Who were the victims of Columbine High School Massacre?

In total, 12 students were killled. Most fatalities (9) were in the library, while 3 occured outside the school.

Crime scene photos of the Columbine High School Library, released by Bill Ockham on February 15, 2023. Dylan's trench coat can be seen on the floor.

The slain victims of Columbine High School massacre names and ages are as follows:

Rachel Scott

Rachel Scott was the first student fatally shot while sitting in the grass eating lunch near the West Entrance.

Rachel Scott

Place of Death: Seated in the Grass Near West Entrance

The first victim of the massacre, Rachel Scott was highly loved and valued by many. Known for her vibrant, straight forward, and picturesque personality, her parents remarked that she was the best daughter they could’ve ever asked for. Rachel was highly devout and religious, so much so that she has since left a legacy for the dedication to her faith.

Some sources have said she was one of the many taunted for their faith before being shot at point blank, although it has been disputed by witnesses. Whatever may have happened, what had been confirmed by eye wittnesses and forensic examination was that Eric had open fired towards her in the open field, shooting at her limbs as she started to stand and run. Rachel had fallen on the ground and Eric eventually motioned to her and killed her. She died from gunshot wounds from the head, chest, arm, and leg.

Rachel was highly involved in theatre and had natural talent for drama. Ironically, Dylan, having been friends with her since kindergarten, had saved her performance in a 1998 talent show. When the sound system glitched, he had hooked up a reserve tape deck.

Daniel Rohrbough

Place of Death: Sidewalk Near West Entrance

A hard working 15 year old boy, Daniel had worked closely with his family’s businesses and would help them everyday after school. When Daniel did not appear after school, his father knew something was wrong.

Rohrbough had been the second shot and killed that day. He had been walking from the cafeteria with his two friends, Lance Kirklin and Sean Graves, before he was shot by the killers. Falling to the ground, he was then shot point blank by the killers. There he bled to death and was left for two days before paramedics were able to move him.

Much controversy emerged over who killed Daniel. At first, Rohrbough family friend and Arapahoe County Deputy James Taylor initially stated he had been killed by “friendly fire” from the Denver SWAT team, then further investigation speculated that it was Eric, then Dylan. Later, it was confirmed that the fatal shot had come from Eric’s weapon.

Daniel Rohrbough

Daniel Rohrbough was the second fatally shot near the West entrance. His body was located near Scott's. Just before his death, he dropped a Dr. Pepper, marked in the image above.

Dave Sanders Evacuating Students

Dave Sanders seen evacuating students on cafeteria surveillance camera. Pictured below is the Science Lab (UA24) where Sanders passed.

Dave Sanders

Place of Death: Upstairs Science Lab (Listed UA24 On Columbine Report)

Dave Sanders was a coach at Columbine High School, and the only teacher murdered in the massacre. He was 47 years old at the time of his death, had 25 years tenure at the high school, coached girl’s basketball and softball, and taught computer science and business. He was married with four children and five grandchildren.

His acts of courage and heroism on the day will never be forgotten. When Sanders heard the gunshots outside, he ran to the cafeteria and sounded the alarm. With the help of two school janitors, he managed to evacuate hundreds of students from the cafeteria before going upstairs to tell everyone to hide in their classrooms. While upstairs, he was shot in the torso, head, and neck by Eric. He managed to crawl into the science lab where he bled to death waiting for help that was promised to come but never did.

Students in the science lab tried to keep Sanders alive by showing him photos of his family and wrapping clothes closely on his wounds to keep him from bleeding out, as instructed by 911 dispatchers. One student, Deidra Kucera, wrote on a whiteboard “1 BLEEDING TO DEATH” and put it in the window, but was dismissed by law enforcement and officials that thought it was a rogue by the killers.

Kyle Velasquez

Place of Death: Columbine High School Library

Kyle Velasquez had been mentally disabled and suffered from asthma complications since having a stroke as a baby. Already naturally quite shy, Kyle was quiet for the first three months he had moved to Columbine, and was just starting to come out of his shell. Likely confused by the noise and confusion, Kyle remained in plain sight when the killers entered the library. Tragically and also ironically, Dylan shot Kyle in the back of the head as he passed him by in the library.

Kyle was the first to die in the library.

Kyle Velasquez

Kyle Velasquez had been using the computer in the library when he was shot point blank.

Steve Curnow

Steve Curnow was fatally shot and killed by Eric Harris under a computer table in the library.

Steven Curnow

Place of Death: Under Computer Table in Columbine Library

At 14 years old, Steve was the youngest of the entire Columbine victims to have been killed. He had grown up with a close relationship with his mother and enjoyed playing soccer as a player and a referee, a job he held part time. His dad coached the soccer team, Blue Devils of the Colorado Rush. He was also a fan of Star Wars, anticipatingly awaiting Star Wars I: the Phantom Menace to be premiered a month after Columbine occurred. A nationwide memorial was put together the day the movie premiered.

Cassie Bernall

Place of Death: Columbine High School Library

Cassie had been murdered after Steven. Eric Harris had approached her table where her and other girls were hiding. Harris slapped the tabletop twice with his hand, said “peekaboo!” and then shot the right side of Cassie’s head, instantly killing her.

Like Rachel Scott, it’s been speculated that Cassie Bernall was also one of the deceased asked if she believed in God prior to her death. This was speculated greatly by witnesses that say the conversation had actually happened between another surviving victim, Valeen Schnurr. Valeen did confirm that this conversation took place between her and Harris, but some witnesses continue to purport that several victims had been asked the same question, including Scott.

Cassie had been a born again Christian, active in church youth programs and Bible study groups. She also loved rock climbing. Like Scott, she had left a legacy on the world as one of the girls that defended their faith to the very end.

Cassie Bernall

Eric slammed his hand above Cassie Bernall's table, shouting "peekaboo!", then fatally shooting at her from under a library table.

Matthew Kechter and Isaiah Shoels

Matthew Kechter and Isaiah Shoels were murdered underneath the same table in the library.

Matthew Kechter & Isaiah Shoels

Place of Death: Columbine High School Library

Matt was a studious athlete that played both offensive and defensive and had straight-A’s. Close friends remarked that it was unsurprising to hear he was killed in the library. A close friend and talented teammate of his, Greg Barnes, admired his optimism and how rare it was to find him in a bad mood. Greg subsequently committed suicide shortly a year after the shooting occured.

Close friend Isaiah Shoels was crouched under the table with Kechter. Isaiah was a comedian and athlete, very popular amongst his peers, and the principal distinguished Isaiah as a great loss to the community following the massacre. Dylan noticed Isaiah and called over Eric, which prompted the two to taunt Isaiah, addressing him with racial sluts before Harris shot at him point blank, immediately killing him. Dylan fired at Kechter right after, killing him. Craig Scott (Rachel’s brother) had also been under the table, but was left surprisingly uninjured and unharmed.

Lauren Townsend

Place of Death: Columbine High School Library

Lauren Townsend was another straight A, athletic volleyball student. An absolute sweetheart, Lauren had been hiding under a table in the Library with Valeen when the killers found them. She had put her arm around Valeen and told her everything would be okay. After several minutes of taunting and shooting other students, Dylan came to Lauren’s table and shot at her several times as fast as possible. A few minutes later Eric shot at her already dead body. 

Valeen, under the table with Lauren, had managed to escape after being terrorized by the killers over her answers to whether or not she believed in God.

Lauren Townsend

Lauren Townsend was one of the several students murdered in the library.

John Tomlin

John Tomlin was murdered near a table by Eric Harris in Columbine library.

John Tomlin

Place of Death: Columbine High School Library

John Tomlin was studying in the library when the killers entered, and hid under his table with Nicole Nowlen. Both were shot by Eric, but both were still alive. Dylan shot John a second time point blank, killing him instantaneously. Nicole survived, likely by pretending to be dead. Her recollection of the events was released shortly after.

John will always be remembered for his Chevy truck. Tomlin was a native of Wisconsin, worked after school at a nursery, belonged to a youth group, and had been seeing a girl for seven months before the shooting. He had just bought the Chevy truck he was saving up for years after getting his driver’s license and will always be known for driving all the way to Mexico to help a poor family build a house.

Kelly Fleming

Place of Death: Columbine High School Library

Kelly was hiding with 4 other girls when the killers approached her table. She was near Valeen Schnurr and Lauren Townsend. The shooters shot at some of the girls, before moving over to John Tomlin’s table and killing him. Dylan then came back to her table from behind and shot her in the back with his sawed-off shotgun.

Kelly moved from Phoenix just about a year before the shooting. Her parents had picked Columbine because it was a safe community. She was a writer and had been working on a novel for five years. Kelly had been learning to drive and was excited to get her first job and save up money for a car. She was looking forward to being able to visit Phoenix and travel. 

Kelly’s father has mentioned that he has prayed for the parents of the shooters, stating that: 

[The parents of the shooters will] have a tougher time getting over this than we will.

Kelly Fleming

A photo of where Kelly Fleming was murdered, also from beneath a library table.

Daniel Mauser

Daniel Mauser was shot and killed from underneath a table in the library as well.

Daniel Mauser

Place of Death: Columbine High School Library

Daniel was hiding under one of the tables when he was fatally shot in the face by Eric Harris. Mauser’s funeral was held with Kelly Fleming’s at the same church.

Daniel was an extremely smart straight-A student in math and science, and never backed down from a challenge. He was shy but participated in debates on the debate team and even challenged his athletic ability on the cross country team. He was very active in the community, as was his parents.

After his death his parents and several others helped found HOPE (Healing of People Everywhere) and pushed the district to renovate the library.

Corey DePooter

Place of Death: Columbine High School Library

Corey was hiding under the table with two of his surviving friends, Stephen “Austin” Eubanks and Jennifer Doyle. He was shot in the library by Dylan while his surviving friend Austin watched. Corey died from multiple gunshot wounds to the neck, chest, and left arm. Austin was very close friends with Corey and faced deep emotional trauma. Austin and other friends reflected back on Corey as a friend that would bring out the optimism on any bad day, and always made sure everyone was doing the right thing. This was particularly true when camping and fishing.

Austin once later said:

People said he was the kind of guy people like to be around. I know I sure did. Corey was always able to pick our spirits up in a gloomy situation.

Austin sustained gunshot wounds but managed to recover and survive the massacre. The mental wounds, however, seemed to never heal, no matter how much therapy. Austin struggled with opioid addiction as a result of medication he was prescribed for his gunshot wounds, remarking that it “took the pain away.” He would struggle with opioids and other dangerous drugs most of his life, eventually dying from an accidental Heroin overdose in 2019.

Corey Depooter

A photo of where Corey Depooter was murdered, he was one of the last murdered in the Columbine library.