Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold | Blackjack Pizza


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Chris lau at Blackjack Pizza where Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris worked

April 23, 1999 - Chris lau at Blackjack Pizza where Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris worked.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold worked at Blackjack Pizza in the months before the shootings at Columbine. This section analyzes the restaurant as it pertains to the shooters. This is only about this specific location at that specific time.

Robert Kirgis was the owner of the Blackjack Pizza franchise located at 6657 W. Ottawa Place in Littleton, CO. He owned it from December 1, 1995 to March 8, 1999, when he sold it to Chris lau for $15,000. He hired Charles "Chuck" Phillips first. Six months later, he hired Chuck's friend Chris Morris (an aside: Chuck and Chris were both part of the Trenchcoat Mafia). In 1997, Chris introduced him to Eric Harris (whom Kirgis called "Reb") and Dylan Klebold. Six months after Chris was hired, Eric started working there making pizzas. Dylan hired on about a year later. Kirgis also hired Zach Heckler, who "drove like crap". Zach quit working there roughly two months after being hired. Other employees Kirgis hired who knew each other well were Nate Dykeman and Brian Sargent (who was another TCM member).

Kirgis told investigators that Harris, Morris, and Klebold all loved fireworks. He also knew the boys liked to go to Cheyenne, Wyoming to purchase fireworks that were illegal in Colorado. This is backed up by information Eric posted in his online "missions". July 4th, 1998, Eric, Dylan, and Chris "put on a great fireworks display at the store". Robert Kirgis took his daughter Brianna Kirgis there to watch. There were other times when Morris, Harris, and Klebold went up on the roof to set off fireworks. Kirgis admitted he sometimes went up there with them to watch. He also saw the teens set off dry ice bombs on the roof of the pizza place. Nicki Liston, a former store manager, told investigators she also knew about the dry ice bombs. Kirgis told investigators that he worked with the teens, but didn't have much to do with them outside of work.

The former owner of the store, Randy Pearson, set off a dry ice bomb in the store bathroom. At the time Kirgis was interviewed by investigators (May 3, 1999), Pearson owned the Blackjack Pizza at 5500 S. Simms, where Billy Dao was working. Billy Dao later told Kirgis that Phil Duran had "got the machine gun" for Dylan and Eric.

Kirgis described Klebold and Harris as being "tied at the hip". They and Morris frequently came by Blackjack during school lunch hour (arriving around 11:05-11:10 a.m.) to have free pizza and salads, and smoke by the rear door. Klebold "wore a trench coat almost non-stop", while the others only wore a trench coat now and then. Kirgis said he heard Morris, Klebold, and Harris talk abuot Doom, but never guns. He also heard them talk about the Internet.

When describing them to investigators, Kirgis said that Chris seemed "a little mean" to him. He was more emotional than the other two and would say exactly what he thought. He got the impression that Morris' dad was a doctor and was hard on Chris, and that Chris was one of the smartest kids he'd met. He didn't think Chris was a leader, but could be if he wanted to be. Kirgis said he thought that Chris was trying to break off ties between himself and the Trenchcoat Mafia. but if he had a problem, it was over sooner. With Harris, he "seemed to hold a grudge for you". All three told Kirgis that they had been harassed at school by "jocks" because they were "nerds".

There was one time around April 1997 when Eric came by the shop, carrying "his usual black brief-type bag". He went to the rear storage employee changing area and took out a pipe bomb. It was metallic in color, metal pipe with end caps, about a foot in length. Kirgis knew the item was illegal, so he made Eric take it out of the store. He told investigators that he was afraid Eric was going to set it off in the store. Initially he was going to send Eric home, but Kirgis "needed him to work that night". So, Harris stowed the pipe bomb in his car and came back. When investigators asked Kirgis why he didn't call the police, he said he "didn't want any trouble". He then told them: he "really wasn't sure why, but hindsight being 20/20, I would now."

Kirgis also recalled that around May 1998, Klebold, Morris, and Harris were set to fight a group of people near the intersection of W. Coalmine and S. Pierce Street, behind the shops. When the three teens walked there from Blackjack Pizza donning their trench coats, the other group ran away.

Despite all this, Kirgis told investigators that he "felt very comfortable leaving Harris and Morris in charge of the store" while he was away from it. Chris seemed "really responsible".

Kirgis also said in his interview that he knew Chris Morris had a girlfriend in the 7000 block of S. Pierce Court, and that closer to the time of the shooting, Morris seemed to distance himself from Klebold and Harris.

When Kirgis sold the business to Chris lau, he retained Klebold and Harris as employees. They were cooks. Their duties included making pizza, taking orders, and customer service. They did not deliver pizzas. Harris was paid $7.65/hour and Klebold made $6.50/hour. They worked 3-5 nights a week, from 4 or 5 p.m. to approximately 8 or 9 p.m. They didn't always work the same shifts. While working for lau, they "performed well in the duties required by their position" and were never subject to disciplinary action. lau described Klebold as "hyper, loud, energetic, a good worker, punctual, no problems". He said they often wore black duster coats with patches on them. The only issue he ever had with them was a time he found them behind the store together, lighting a newspaper on fire. Neither gave lau any sign that they were capable of what they did on April 20.

lau also retained Chris Morris and Nate Dykeman as employees. He described Morris as "moody, looked angry, wore a black duster, black pants, black T-shirts, and black pants". Morris was scheduled to work at 10:45 p.m. on April 20, but failed to show up. Two days later, the management still hadn't heard from him. lau fired him, telling investigators it was because of his association with the Columbine shooters.

The last night Eric and Dylan worked was April 16, 1999. Earlier that day, lau offered Harris a manager position. He seemed pleased and accepted the offer. Both Klebold and Harris asked for cash advances against their earned hours. Eric received $200. Dylan got $120.