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2004 Columbine Evidence Exhibit

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In 2004, thousands of pieces of evidence were released from the police vaults into the public eye. February 24th and 25th the evidence was put on display in Littleton for the families of the victims to view -- as well as the rest of the world. It was a grim show, something like a cross between a crypt and a museum. A sad, stark reminder of what happened.

  • Video: Dave Sanders' family at the exhibit

  • Pictures of evidence released

  • Rules of conduct at the exhibit

  • Index of evidence released 1, 2, 3

  • The following is cut from an email I received from Maris, who attended the display in Colorado. Thanks for taking the time to write it and for giving me permission to share this with others.

    Columbine victims' clothing, bagged and biohazard sealed

    Evidence Exhibit Description

    I did make it out to the Columbine display last Thursday (and had more cameras in my face than I've ever seen at any non-prom-related function). While we waited in line to sign in, there was a table full of fact sheets (one for the videotapes, Sheriff Ted Mink's speech to the press and a printout of where people can obtain copies of the various tapes and reports that have been released) and HUGE evidence lists [see links at top]. The list has every piece of evidence, although some are only identified by their numbers rather than a description (this was the case for items that were returned to families).

    After we signed in we were allowed to enter. The evidence filled two good-size rooms and there was a lot to see. Most pieces were in plastic bags and all were behind barricades. A lot of the evidence was mundane, like notebooks and CDs from Harris' and Klebold's homes. One of Eric's computers was there, along with Dylan's report on Charles Manson. But there was some very chilling stuff. You would not believe how many bullets there were. It's one thing to read about the number of rounds Harris and Klebold fires, but quite another to actually see the bullets.

    There were just bags and bags of spent shells, bullets, and related items. They also had the various things found in Harris' and Klebold's cars, which included four large propane tanks and at least eight big red gasoline cans. Each. Other evidence in the cars were bombmaking supplies. One table was filled with nothing but victims' clothing, contained in paper bags marked with biohazard stickers. There were also two large boxes simply labeled "Autopsy." I'm not entirely sure what was in them, but the evidence list files things like body bags, gunshot residue kits, rape kits and clothing under "Autopsy", so I assume that's what was in the boxes.

    The next room was devoted mostly to diagrams of the various crime scenes and a breakdown of the cafeteria tape. There are no pictures of the victims, but the library diagrams show how each victim was found and where they were. There were bodies literally scattered all over the library. I can't imagine what it must have looked like in person.Also on display were several chairs from the library, shredded by bullets, and a TV and computer monitor that were shot up. We saw bloody carpet fragments from the library and a baseball cap drenched in blood. One table had evidence from the science room where Dave Sanders died: the infamous "1 Bleeding To Death" sign and the carpet (once again soaked in blood).

    But the most chilling pieces I saw were the clothing and weapons Harris and Klebold were carrying that day. There were two glass cases full of their weapons, including the TEC-9 and the sawed-off shotguns. There was also a good deal of knives (at least one was a show piece; it had a curved blade and several spikes on the handle). There was some kind of wooden thing with "REB" carved in it, undoubetedly belonging to Eric, as well as his duster and Klebold's pants. Each case had their palmprints and fingerprints, presumably taken after their deaths.After we were done, we signed out and maneuvered through the tons of cops and cameras back to the parking lot. The only person I recognized there was Brooks Brown, who was sitting near the parking lot smoking a cigarette (and his hair is bright green now).