Columbine High shooting | 1993 - April 19, 1999
Columbine High School Shooting Details
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July 1993 Eric Harris moved to Littleton(1) with his family after a life spent moving around courtesy of his father's military career.

Fall 1993 Eric and Dylan Klebold met while attending Ken Caryl Middle School in the seventh or eighth grade. Around this time, Dylan also met Chris Morris and soon became close friends with him.(2)

Summer 1995 Columbine High School got a $15 million dollar makeover in preparation for the new school year.(3) The cafeteria was brand new; so was the student (front) entrance.

August 1995 Eric and Dylan began attending Columbine High School along with mutual friends, Brooks Brown and Nathan (Nate) Dykeman. Nate met Eric in Spanish class and then met Dylan at Eric's house. Brooks had been Dylan's friend since the first grade and happened to ride the same bus as Eric.

Harris house in LittletonMarch - September 1996 The Harrises purchased a $180 thousand dollar house on Pierce Street, just south of Columbine High and only minutes away from where Brooks Brown lived. Eric was very active on the internet, posting as many as 11 homemade Doom wads of his own design. At some point he was active in a Quake team that called themselves the RC Rebels.

Late 1997 The parents of Brooks Brown filed a report with investigator Michael Guerra regarding a threatening website Eric Harris posted that listed the Browns' phone number, along with rants aimed at Brooks. During his investigation Guerra found Harris' 'hit list' - a manifesto that listed everyone he hated and would like to see done harm. This list has never been released unredacted to the public since the investigation. Guerra also discovered Eric's rants and notes about the bombs he and Dylan had been making. Guerra wrote an affidavit for a search warrant for the Harris house but it never got filed and so nothing came of the complaint.(4) Immediately following the shootings, Jefferson County hid the 'Guerra Documents' for "liabilty purposes".(5)

January 1998 Dylan and Eric were caught breaking into a van and - as low-risk factors on a first time offense - were assigned to juvenile diversion, which included anger therapy for Eric and the stipulation that neither youth would be allowed to own a gun. Both boys were given early release from the program due to their apparent excellent progress within the system. They were both given high recommendations from the people who signed their release forms.

March 25, 1998 Eric Harris filled out a mental health self-evaluation form that was given to the therapist he was seeing for anger management. On this form he described experiencing homicidal thoughts, mood swings, anger, anxiety, depression and loneliness. In another form he filled out he described himself as confused and suicidal. The form his mother filled out suggests she didn't see even half the things in her son that Eric claimed to be experiencing.

July 4, 1998 Columbine student Peter Maher his friends had a negative encounter with Eric, Dylan and a few others at a convenience store.(6) Peter said that he saw one of the boys in a trench coat with a "big pistol-grip shotgun in the air". The two groups ran across each other later the same day at a fireworks stand where another altercation began.(7) One of the "trench coat boys" pulled a knife while another mentioned they had a shotgun, though Peter didn't see the gun at that time. He said he and his friends were able to talk the situation down and got away from the group.

Late 1998 Dylan and Eric made a video for film class, Hitmen for Hire. In it, they were hitmen who targeted and 'shot' friends who were dressed as jocks. The weapons they used in the video could be props, but they look like the ones they later used in the real attack. The end of the video included special FX of Columbine High blowing up. Both took German and learned it well enough to berate other students. They were said to have shouted 'Sieg heil' in bowling class whenever they rolled a good ball. At least one set of parents and two teachers expressed concern that both boys were exhibiting violent tendencies.

During this year Dylan and Eric began to keep plans in journals and notebooks to kill schoolmates, along with detailed maps of the school and places where the most people would be and where. These notes would later be found in boys' rooms along with a sawed-off barrel of a shotgun and an unused pipe bomb.

December, 1998 Dylan's 18-year-old friend Robyn K. Anderson purchased 2 shotguns and a rifle at a gun show for Eric and Dylan, where she acted as a 3rd party buyer for them since they weren't 18 at the time and therefore not old enough to purchase the guns themselves. Dylan and Eric were there, however, and asked all the questions; Robyn just paid for the weapons. Under Colorado law at the time, an 18-year old without a felony record could legally furnish minors with rifles and shotguns.

Early 1999 Philip Duran, Eric and Dylan's co-worker at Blackjack Pizza, introduced them 22 year old Mark Manes, a computer tech who liked guns. Mark had purchased a TEC-DC9 (also known as a TEC-9) at a gun show in August for $500 and agreed to sell it to Dylan and Eric at the same price. They paid $300 at the time and later Dylan gave the rest of the money to Phil to pay Mark with.

January 17, 1999 Eric Harris wrote a short story for class based on the game "Doom". He wrote from a first-person perspective and included details such as collecting bullets and weapons and seeing piles of bodies. The paper earned a C+. The teacher's comment: "Yours is a unique approach and your writing works in a gruesome way - good details and mood setting."

March 6, 1999 Eric and Dylan went shooting at Rampart Range with Mark Manes and Jessica Miklich. They made a video tape of themselves firing the TEC-9 and the two sawed-off shotguns that Robyn bought for them, using bowling pins and pine trees as target practice.

March 25, 1999 The whole Klebold family (Dylan, his brother Byron Klebold, and parents) drove to Tucson to visit the University of Arizona where they paid a deposit for what was supposed to have been Dylan's dorm room.(8) He was supposed to attend U of A after graduating in April. His family later said that he genuinely seemed to be looking forward to college life.

April 2, 1999 Eric Harris spoke with Staff Sergeant Mark Gonzales about joining the Marines. Harris indicated that he'd thought college but said that he was interested the Marine Corps. After sharing some personal details with the Staff Sergeant (including his plans after graduation and telling him that he had never done drugs), Eric was scheduled for further interview and testing.

April 5, 1999 Eric Harris showed up for his scheduled testing on time, driving a car with a Rammstein sticker in the back window. He was wearing black pants, black combat boots, and a black t-shirt with the word "Rammstein" on the front. He scored average on the initial screening test. At the end of the interviews he told the recruiting officer that he wanted to think about enlisting and that he also wished to talk the matter over with his parents.

April 8, 1999 Custodian Jay Gallentine arrived at Columbine just before 5 AM and found the locks of all the doors leading into the high school glued shut. Gallentine heard voices and footsteps on the roof, then silence. He called the police and set to replacing the locks. Inspection of the roof found someone had spelled the word 'seniors' in duct tape across the large glass skylight. Later that day, Jefferson County sheriff's deputy Neil Gardner (resource officer assigned to Columbine) reviewed video taken that morning by the school's outside security cameras. The tape showed two male suspects in dark clothing, including gloves and masks or hoods of some kind but they were never identified. However, Eric mentioned on his website that he and Dylan epoxied locks in their neighborhood as a prank and Brooks Brown says something similar in his book, No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine High School.

Eric Harris returned to the military recruiting office to speak to Staff Sergeant Gonzales again about enlisting. Harris arranged for a home visit by Staff Sergeant Gonzales on April 15th.

April 11, 1999 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold make "REB's Tape" - one of the Basement Tapes marked evidence item #298. In it they discuss their plans and how the event will impact their parents and the people who care about them. While they express regret for the trouble it will cause their families they appear dedicated to and even proud of their "two man war against everyone else".

April 14, 1999 Staff Sergeant Gonzales met Eric at Blackjack Pizza to confirm his appointment for the home visit.

April 15, 1999 Staff Sergeant Mark Gonzales met Eric Harris and his father at the Harris residence. During a casual conversation between Gonzales and Dwayne Harris about Eric's future with the military Eric's mother came downstairs and joined the conversation. She asked if Eric would still be eligible if he were taking an anti-depressant. She then showed the Staff Sergeant one of Eric's prescription bottles and he copied down the name of the drug prescribed: Luvox®. Gonzales said that he would check on the eligibility status and would call them back.

April 16 or 17, 1999 According to the Columbine Report, Staff Sergeant Gonzales left a message on voicemail at the Harris residence for Eric Harris to call him but never received a call back. Gonzales said that he had no further contact with Harris and was therefore unable to inform him that he would not be eligible for entry into the Marines.

April 16-18, 1999 Sean Kennedy, a 12 year old neighbor who sometimes played roller hockey with Eric Harris, said that two or three months prior to the shootings Eric "just became a bat -- He stayed inside his garage all the time." This weekend in particular neighbors Debbie Wilde and her husband, who lived 2 doors down from the Harrises, noticed there were sounds of breaking glass and power saws from the garage.(9) They had seen Dylan Klebold's BMW at the Harris house before and told authorities they had noticed it there on Saturday the 17th. Police are certain now the boys were making the shrapnel used in the construction of their pipe bombs.

Dylan with prom date RobynSaturday, April 17, 1999 Columbine prom night. Posters around the school announced the prom: "It's coming! 4/17/99" On several posters the number '17' had been crossed out and replaced with a '20'. Twelve kids, including Dylan Klebold and Nate Dykeman, went by limosine together to the prom.(3) Dylan's date for the night was Robyn Anderson, who boasted to another male friend shortly before the prom: "I convinced my friend Dylan, who hates dances, jocks and has never had a date let alone a girlfriend to go with me! I am either really cute or just really persuasive!"

Nate said Dylan's attitude that night was normal, like any guy going to his senior prom's attitude might be. Everything went "perfect" -- friends described Dylan as seeming very upbeat and was making plans to stay in touch with folks after leaving for college. Nate said that Dylan talked happily about a positive future in Arizona attending college; that he sounded like that was what he really planned to do with his life.

Rachel Scott - who would just days later become a victim in the shootings - attended the prom with Nick Baumgart.(1)

Eric Harris didn't have a date that night, though not for lack of trying. People who knew him said he asked a few different girls, all of whom turned him down. He ended up making plans with Susan DeWitt (a girl he'd talked to the night before at Blackjack Pizza).(3) She went to his house where they watched movies. Eric invited her to go to the after-prom party but she declined. She went home and Eric met his friends at the party, still alone.

Monday, April 19, 1999 During 3rd hour, around 9:30 AM, Eric and Dylan made a video with friends Eric Jackson and Dustin Gorton. In the Columbine Report, this is described as a "looking video assignment" and a set up video. It was to be used on the school's morning in-house television broadcast and featured the foursome driving up to Burger King in Gorton's 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle. Dylan was sitting in the front passenger seat, Dustin was driving, Eric Harris was a passenger in the back seat. They bought their breakfast and drove to Columbine's student parking lot where they ate and ended the video.

Eric and Dylan skipped creative writing class (2nd to last class of the day) with Brooks Brown and Becca Hines. Brooks and Becca went on to McDonald's where Dylan and Eric were to meet up with them after a side-trip to Eric's house. Eric and Dylan didn't return to school that day, skipping their last class, psychology, as well. A man hanging wallpaper next door said he heard glass breaking and other explosive sounds from the Harris garage that day.

Dylan wrote about 8 pages in his notebook, the first of which read: "About 26.5 hours from now the judgement will begin. Difficult but not impossible, necessary, nervewracking and fun. What fun is life without a little death? It's interesting, when I'm in my human form, knowing I'm going to die. Everything has a touch of triviality to it." One of his last journal entries read: Walk in, set bombs at 11:09, for 11:17 Leave, set car bombs. Drive to Clemete [sic] Park. Gear up. Get back by 11:15 Park cars. set car bombs for 11:18 get out, go to outside hill, wait. When first bombs go off, attack. have fun!

Eric asked Mark Manes to buy ammunition for him, though he - Harris - was old enough to purchase it himself. Mark bought 100 rounds from a local Kmart for $25 and gave it to Eric later that night. When Mark asked Eric if he was going to use the ammo to go target shooting that night Eric told him no; that he needed it for the next day.

Throughout April 1999 Klebold and Harris filmed five video tapes in Eric's basement bedroom over a span of time (the last recorded on April 20, 1999) that detailed a chilling account of what they planned to do and just how they felt about it. Apologies were offered to their parents, admitting that they knew a lot of innocent people would be hurt and that they weren't going to let that stop them. Eric quoted Shakespeare on one tape as he swigged Jack Daniels: "Good wombs hath borne bad sons." He and Dylan demonstrated how they could fit their sawed-off weapons in their coats and talked about all the people they hated and what they'd like to do to them.

  1. From Little League to madness: Portraits of the Littleton shooters Off-site link referenced CNN - April 30 1999
  2. Suspects Text Off-site link referenced CNN Columbine Report special 2000
  3. Fatal Friendship Off-site link referenced by Lynn Bartels and Carla Crowder, Denver Rocky Mountain News - August 22 1999
  4. Columbine: Were There Warning Signs? Off-site link referenced CBS News
  5. Tapes from Columbine probe released Off-site link referenced by Kevin Vaughan and Jeff Kass, Rocky Mountain News - September 30 2004
  6. Gunmen Recalled as Outcasts Off-site link referenced by Marc Fisher, Washington Post - April 21 1999
  7. Online friend didn't see evil side of Harris Off-site link referenced by Burt Hubbard, Rocky Mountain News - April 26 1999
  8. Shooters' Neighbors Had Little Hint Off-site link referenced by Dale Russakoff, Amy Goldstein and Joel Achenbach, Washington Post - May 2 1999
  9. Suspects' neighbors stunned by shootings Off-site link referenced by Sandra Fish, Daily Camera - April 22 1999