"Brooks, I like you now. Get out of here. Go home."
Those were the last words
Eric Harris would ever say to Brooks Brown, on April 20, 1999. Surprising words from a guy who in 1997-98 had gleefully described terrorizing Brooks
to people on the fledgling internet - and encouraged them to do the same while posting Brooks' home address. It's an act that, today, could get a person arrested. But despite the fact that Brooks' parents filed a complaint
with the police, nothing was done at the time. The report files were subsequently "lost" during the Columbine investigation, resurfacing later as the "Guerra files" in the Columbine documents, so-called after the officer who took the initial complaint.
On April 29, 1999, Brooks appeared on PBS' Online NewsHour
, detailing the content
Eric had posted on his websites. But it would still be some time before the Guerra files would see the light of day.
Brooks later said in his book No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine
that he'd found the encounter with Eric in the parking lot that morning of April 20th strange but Eric was
prone to hot and cold mood swings; he could be very unpredictable. Brooks was already on his way off campus when he'd crossed Eric's path so he didn't see what happened next. But he was still within range of hearing when the first shots rang out.
Brooks' story is best told in his own words, in the book referenced above. I strongly suggest anyone researching the shootings read this book. While it may not be entirely accurate (no Columbine resource is), it will get you closer to the people involved in the tragedy - particularly the gunmen - than any other book to date. Brooks Brown was friends with Dylan Klebold since grade school and knew Eric Harris from the start of high school. He knew what both were like together and his book sheds a lot of light on what things were like before the day of the attack.
Directly following the shootings, Brooks Brown was - because of his long time and well-known association at Columbine with Dylan and Eric - one of several people that Jefferson County officials looked at as a possible accomplice. Eventually he was removed from the list of suspects. In 2002, Brooks appeared in Michael Moore's film Bowling for Columbine
, along with Columbine survivors Mark Taylor
and Richard Castaldo
. His book was published that same year.
In 2004 he was interviewed by FHM regarding his prior friendship with the shooters and how Eric let him leave just moments before attacking the school. "Eric and Dylan created this tragedy," he told them. "But Columbine created them." (Pages 1
In June 2005 Brooks Brown posted an interesting message to his blog in which he states "Violence in games is a GOOD thing". (Pages 1
). He still maintains a blog
at 1Up, a gaming site, but has since launched an independent blog
. He was working on Star Wars games for George Lucas' enterprises at last update.
As a side note, Brooks Brown's long-time internet nickname is "D-FENS", which also happens to be what's on the license plate belonging to Michael Douglas' character in the film Falling Down
(1993). In the movie, Douglas' character - who is listed in the credits only as D-FENS though he had a name - crosses town on foot with a duffle bag of guns, systematically killing thugs and bullies, destroying street construction barricades, and terrifying annoyingly heartless cashiers. Spoiler! In the end D-FENS is looking at the cop who's got a gun drawn on him and D-FENS says all confused: "I'm the bad guy? How did that happen?". It's a film I've always sort of related to, in the same way I relate to Columbine.
Brooks Brown in 1999 and in 2012