Columbine shooters | Videos and tapes | Basement Tapes
NOTE: There are no official transcripts of the Basement Tapes compiled by JeffCo or the FBI.
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I originally posted this information starting in 1999. Other authors copied this section into their own media without citing the source, making it seem like official transcripts of the Columbine Basement Tapes. They are not. There are NO official transcripts and never have been.
What's more: The information they copied is INCORRECT.
I made some errors when I originally cobbled together these pages. The information in this section is the corrected version
(revised July 2023). I've added more detail, fixed the tape numbers, and reworded a few things so you can tell what's the most recent version. Other publications that copy-pasted my writing before 2023 are obsolete and inaccurate.
If you decide to copy this site's material, understand that it is not an official transcript. I don't mind if you share it but if you do, please refer people back to this site. Not just as credit to the work I've done, but to reduce confusion for researchers if I have to revise it again in the future.
Columbine Basement Tapes
#200 - Sony 8mm video camera. "Columbine High School" engraved on side. Battery labeled "CHS LMC".
The following are my attempts at transcribing the tapes.
According to a statement by Jefferson County, they destroyed the actual Basement Tapes
back in 2011.
- 8mm tape
- two 8mm tapes, one labeled "Reb's Tape"
- 8mm tape taken from #200 labeled "Top Secret Rampart"
• #333 - 4-20-1999 message
The last video footage the shooters taped, found on the end of the 8mm tape pulled from #200.
• Rampart Range
Full video and screenshots
• Hitmen for Hire
Full video and screenshots
Other related videos Includes some of the videos Eric and Dylan made for film class, as well as footage in and around Columbine, and other Columbine-related videos.
Temporarily unavailable due to YouTube takedowns. I will be uploading these to my own site after the overhaul.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold made several home videos which were kept tight under wraps since Time
magazine blew the cover off
(offsite link) of them without consent from the families of those who died. After five years, parts of the videos were re-released to the public though the full-length tapes were withheld due to court order. When Time
magazine reporter Tim Roche got access to the tapes, he wrote an article for the magazine on December 20, 1999. In it, he said that there were five video tapes - the "Basement Tapes
called the tapes the shooters' "final word, to all those who had picked on them over the years, and to everyone who would come up with a theory about their inner demons".
After the issue hit the news stands, the families of the victims threatened to sue Jefferson County for the breach. They hadn't even seen the content yet and there it was, staring at them from the pages of a magazine that the whole world could read. Jefferson County quickly allowed the families to view the tapes before they hid them in the vaults. In 2011, Jefferson County destroyed the tapes.
, an online news source that was in contact with the families supported the claim that there were five tapes
(archived offsite link) originally. The runtimes they offered for the videos was a vague "nearly four hours". My original notes on the tapes that I drafted after reading Time's
magazine back in 1999 indicate three groups of times given: 2 hours, 40 minutes, and 22 minutes. CNN also made mention of the five videos in an article
(offsite link) from December 1999.
In October 2003, one 15-minute-long tape was released to the public: Footage of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shooting at Rampart Range
. Also released was a film project they did for school: Hitmen for Hire
. It's been assumed by many that these are two of the five tapes due to the hype Jefferson County made about releasing them and the subsequent media frenzy that followed. So what of the remaining three tapes?
The following transcripts that I put together are primarily quoted from three tapes that Eric and Dylan made prior to the assault on Columbine High School, assembled with the help of documentation from the Columbine Report
magazine (both the hard copy and online copy of the article), Salon
, and statements made by people who personally watched the tapes.
In 2006, the courts allowed Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink (who took the job after John Stone) the choice to release the Basement Tapes to the public but he decided not to. He feared other troubled youths would see the tapes as a "call to arms" and a "how-to instruction video". Instead, he opted to release 946 pages of previously unreleased documents including diaries
belonging to the shooters, day planners and schoolwork, and a journal written by Eric's father Wayne Harris
. An earlier Supreme Court ruling allowed the parents of the shooters to appeal the decision to release the documents, and Wayne Harris tried to do just that. However, the courts ruled that the Columbine Documents
would indeed be released as a supplement to the Columbine Report.