| Mark Taylor
, 17 in 1999.
Mark had been attending Columbine for only three weeks
when the shooting happened. A born-again Christian, he was exchanging ideas with Mormon students while waiting for the lines in the cafeteria to get shorter. He was between the cafeteria entrance and the parking lot (near where Rachel Scott and Richard Castaldo sat eating lunch) when Eric and Dylan opened fire. Spotting the two shooters at the top of the stairs, at first he thought they were shooting paintball guns.
He quickly became one of the first
people to be shot. He was bending over
when unbelieveable pain burst through his upper left body. He saw blood oozing from a hole in his thigh and started crying out "'Oh my God! Help me!" Lungs collapsed, he fell to the ground and played dead, trying to lay as still as possible while fighting to breathe. He was hit several more times (twice in the chest and five times in the back) while laying there. As he watched, Eric went over to where Rachel lay bleeding and shot her again as she tried to get up. Other students trampled him in their attempt to flee from the gunmen, thinking him dead. Eventually an officer showed up and dragged Mark to safety behind the nearby shed.
Four of the eight bullets were left in him: Two near his aorta and two in his spine. He was released April 30, 1999. Later re-admitted to Littleton Adventist for treatment of a staph infection in the wounds in his lungs. Was in and out of the hospital three times.
He never returned to Columbine, enrolling in Dove Christian School instead with the words: "I don't want to go back there. I don't want to go back to that kind of surroundings anymore." The True Vine did an interview with Mark
after he was healed. Later he and his family created a "Ten Commandments Bear"
to honor those who died during the massacre. He sued Solvay Pharmaceuticals
, saying that their anti-depressant Luvox® made Eric Harris psychotic and violent. His family also sued Eric Harris's parents
Later he appeared in Michael Moore's 2002 documentary film 'Bowling for Columbine
' with Richard Castaldo and Brooks Brown. Together they successfully lobbied against K-mart to stop selling to minors the kinds of bullets that he still had inside his body. Interviews with Mark later regarding the film hold that he wasn't entirely clear on what the movie would be about before he agreed to be in it. He said that Moore used him
and other Columbine victims for his own purposes then discarded them. In Mark's own words:
"I had no idea what Moore's agenda was. And he had an agenda. He had it all planned out, completely. I believe that every American has the right to have a gun. We should have the right to protect ourselves."
"He lied to me on so many levels. He said that if I would be in his movie, he'd get me in front of the right people, help me make my own movies. He made promise after promise.... Man, he is something. You'd have to get to know him on a personal level."
More recently Mark published his own book about his experiences on April 20, 1999: I Asked, God Answered: A Columbine Miracle
, 17 in 1999.
Brian was inside the school, heading for the west entrance with a few friends when he saw two teens standing just inside the first set of double glass doors. He recognized Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and noticed that both were holding guns. When a teacher he didn't know (Patti Nielson) asked him what was going on, he told her he though that they were carrying prop guns and he proceeded to head out of the building with her close behind. He had just passed through the first set of double doors when Eric turned and fired on him, breaking the glass door behind him. Fragments of glass hit him and he fell backwards but got up quickly. The other students who were with him quickly retreated back into the school, heading for the library. Brian and Patti, also injured when the doors shattered, soon followed.
He saw Patti crawl under the circulation desk to use the phone and heard her shout at the room for everyone to get down. Brian, his friends, and another teacher, Peggy Dodd, hid in the storage room of the library. They locked the door and turned the lights off. Shortly after, he heard several gunshots and 10 to 15 explosions. There was a small window in the door through which Brian could partially see the library and Brian saw Dylan run past it several times, and Eric a few times. He only saw those two and assumed from that, that there were only two shooters in the library.
While they were hiding in the storage room, Peggy Dodd said: "I have to get out of here, Brian. They hate me. They're going to kill me." She left the storage room then. Brian and the others were able eventually to leave the storage room through an interior door. They were eventually escorted from the building, to safety.
When investigators asked Brian why he thought Eric shot at him, Brian told them "because I was wearing a white hat" and explained that many of the school's athletes wore white hats to school. Brian had had previous interaction
with the gunmen before 4-20 and they had asked him 2-3 weeks before the shootings to help them find a website where they could find sound effects for a video they were making that involved a house under seige by gunmen but Brian was unable to help them. Police also contacted Brian to ask him if he knew the three individuals who had been arrested near Clement Park. Apart from having been on Sally Jesse Raphael's talk show with them following the shootings, Brian had no previous contact with them. Brian said he didn't believe they were involved in what had happened, after talking with them at the show.
Treated for injuries sustained from bullet fragments bouncing off a shattering window when Eric shot through the double-paned west-entrance doors. He was released April 20, 1999. He graduated from Columbine May 20, 2000.
As of 2008, a friend of Brian's [Dewayne Johnson] says that 26 year old Brian Anderson has moved on with his life. He now owns his own trucking company in the Littleton, Colorado area. Brian says he still tries to make sense of that fateful day at Columbine High School. To this day he has not stepped one foot into any library nor does he like the sound of helicopters or fire alarms. Brian also lost his good friend and classmate "Corey Depooter
" in the shooting at Columbine and said there are times when he thinks of him and all the fun times they had in school. Recently Brian said he would like to go back to Columbine and see the new library and there he hopes to find more closure. Brian still lives in the Jefferson County area. He would like to thank all those who pitched in with a helping hand during the whole ordeal at Columbine. Brian also states that there is one person that means a lot to him and will always have a place in his heart because in his eyes she is a HERO and that is teacher Patti Nielson
, 16 in 1999.
Nicole had been attending Columbine for only seven weeks before the shooting. She was assigned to "A" lunch but usually spent it in the library or an empty classroom so she could do homework. She went to the library that day, and found an empty table to sit at. Aboyt 5 to 10 minutes later she heard some banging noises that she thought was the librarian working on something. Nicole then saw two students come in, a male (Brian Anderson) and a female. The female asked for Ms Keating (the librarian) loud enough to attract Nicole's attention, then said that the boy with her had been shot. Nicole thought it was a senior prank until she heard a woman who was on the phone (Patti Nielson) shouting for everyone to get under the tables. She repeated this several times. No one seemed terribly concerned at the time but since others were starting to comply, Nicole did so too.
After a couple of minutes she could hear the distinct sound of gunshots in the hall and screams from downstairs. She also heard two explosions that shook the floor and heard the fire alarm go off. She saw one of the gunmen walk past the library window (Dylan) but didn't know who he was. Glancing over at another table, she saw a boy there whom she didn't know (John Tomlin) and told him what she'd seen. Noting that his table seemed to have better concealment from the library entrance, she asked him if she could hide with him. John checked the library entrance then waved her over. She crawled over and they pulled chairs in around themselves for better concealment.
As the sound of gunfire got closer John held her hand to comfort her. Twice she started to say something but he motioned her into silence both times. She then heard a male voice demand: "Everybody get up". She could hear the gunmen "whooping and hollering" and laughing, along with several gunshots and at least one explosion. It sounded to her as though the shooters were really having fun. She heard the girls at a table near hers start to scream loudly and "really freak out". She then heard one of the gunmen ask "Do you believe in God?" and a female answer first "no" and then "yes" in a way that Nicole thought she was trying to make sure she wouldn't get shot. The conversation was followed by more shots.
Shortly after Nicole saw black boots [Eric Harris] near her table and almost immediately after she saw a gun pointed under the table. It fired
and wood from the chair splintered, spraying at her and imbedding splinters in her back. She was struck in the abdomen by something, though she didn't know at the time whether she was shot or if it was something else (in the hospital it was determined she was hit with buckshot from the shotgun). She saw John try to jump out from under the table on the far side from the gunman to avoid being hit by a second shot and landed on his stomach on the floor beside her. The gunman [Dylan Klebold
this time] moved around the table and, standing over John, shot him in the head. Her legs were touching his at the time and she felt his legs start shaking, as though he were having convulsions. After a brief moment his body went still.
The gunman moved around the table to where he'd been when he first opened fire on their table and asked "Are you still breathing?". She didn't know who he was talking to; to be safe she lay very still with her eyes closed and pretended to be dead. At that point she lost consciousness.
When she came to, she could hear the fire alarm. She could hear what she thought was more gunshots, but further away; not in the library. She could hear people moving and realized they were leaving. She cried out for help several times but no one came to assist her. Eventually she pulled herself up with the help of the nearby table. Seeing another female student nearby [Patti Blair], she asked her to help. The other girl didn't move, either to help her or to leave, and Nicole realized the girl was waiting for her. Nicole was able to make her way over to Patti and they both left the library, and were able to escape the school. She was taken by officers on scene to the cul-de-sac where triage had been set up and from there was transported to the hospital.
Nicole was hit with nine pieces of buckshot. Three were through-and-through; doctors were able to remove only one of the remaining six. The other five are still in her stomach. She was released April 21, 1999.
Her father had attended Columbine and when she moved to Littleton to live with him, she chose to attend the school he had gone to. She had been going to Columbine for 6 weeks when the shootings happened. She went back to Columbine after she recovered, refusing to let Eric and Dylan "win" by chasing her out of her school. She took on a part-time job at an appliance store in her junior year. She currently does reach-out work for the Rachel's Challenge
: read her story in her own words.
Letters to Nicole from the gunmen's families
Nicole's Rachel's Challenge blog
, 15 in 1999.
A couple of weeks before the shootings, Evan noticed that someone had superglued cardboard over several of the doors leading into the school. They remained that way for a couple of days before they were removed. Other than this, which he thought might have been a senior prank, he didn't notice anything unusual that would give him any idea of what was to come.
On April 20 Evan was supposed to meet with Ryan Barrett to run during their free time on orders from Coach Lowery. Evan went to the library to find Ryan as he knew Ryan regularly went there during "A" lunch. On entering, he saw a girl he knew there - Sarah Houy - and waved to her. He saw other people he knew there as well: Matt Kechter
, Craig Scott, Makai Hall
, Dan Steepleton
, and Pat Ireland
. Eventually he found Ryan at one of the computers and the two of them talked about how they'd both forgotten they were supposed to run during their free period. They decided they would tell the coach they'd done it then would make up the run after school. Ryan then went to pick up something from the printer and at the time he returned, Evan heard a big boom from somewhere outside the library. Soon after he heard several shots fired and more explosions.
He went over to the west windows then and, looking out, saw a flash in the parking lot near space #129 (the space his brother usually parked in; Evan's brother wasn't in school that day). The black car in the space soon had smoke all around it. He then saw kids on the soccer field running. He then heard someone outside shout "Look at this fucker's head!" and another loud voice respond: "This is awesome!" - he couldn't see who was shouting but he heard a shotgun blast outside soon after.
A few moments later Evan saw Ms. Nielson
enter the library and went behind the main counter, yelling for everyone to get down. He heard her say "There's kids with guns" and noticed she looked to be injured. She got on the phone then and, seeing other students complying with her commands, Evan moved behind a pillar to hide. Soon after he heard two bombs in the hallway followed by multiple gunshots and a shotgun blast. He looked around the pillar and saw Eric Harris out in the hall, someone he saw almost every day at school. Eric was carrying a sawed-off shotgun in one hand and something that looked sort of like dynamite, one end lit. Eric threw it and soon after Evan heard another explosion.
Evan lost sight of Eric for a few seconds during which he heard a few more shotgun blasts. When he peeked around the pillar again, Evan saw him standing directly in front of the library doors. They made eye contact and Eric chambered a round in his pump-action shotgun. He aimed toward Evan and fired a round into the library. Evan ducked low and behind the nearby copy counter to the north of the circulation desk, where the copy machine was. Eric fired another round, splintering the wood of the copy counter and injuring Evan
The library began to fill with smoke and the fire alarm went off. He heard more shots being fired and could hear voices as the two gunmen moved into the library, coming toward where he was hiding. Evan decided to move to a large open space under the main counter where he hid. He could hear one of the shooters say "All jocks stand up". He also heard them make a racial slur toward someone and fire more shots, after which the gunmen cheered. He then heard one of them say "wow, look at this nigger's brains!" to which the other responded: "Yeah, we've never seen nigger's brains before." Realizing people were definitely being shot, Evan pulled one of the nearby chairs in front of himself to provide better concealment.
Moments later he heard several more shots further into the library and heard a girl scream. During an interview with investigators Evan told them that he thought he heard a girl named Cassie screaming "Please God, save me! God help me!" but when they asked him how he knew who it was, he told them the only reason he thought so was because he had heard on recent news reports that's what her name was.
Evan then heard one of the gunmen ask "Do you believe in God?" and after the girl affirmed her belief, he heard the gunman respond: "God is gay." Evan said he heard the girl say "Go with God and you'll be saved" and then heard more gunfire. After several more shots were fired, Evan saw Dylan Klebold come around the counter where Evan was hiding. Evan also knew Dylan because he'd seen him around school almost every day. He told investigators that he was positive it was Dylan because he was face to face with him at that moment. His impression of Dylan was that of a clown: his black backward ball cap seemed tight on his head, making his curly hair seem to stick out the way a clown's might.
He saw Dylan check the magazine room, testing the door (which was locked) before turning to the room directly east of the magazine room. He "swept the room with his Tec-9" and then turned to head back in the direction where Evan was hiding. He pulled the chair out and pointed the Tec-9
in Evan's face, saying "Oh look what we have here.". Evan could see Eric approaching as well, and noticed it looked as though Eric had a broken nose. He appeared a bit dizzy and wobbly; he was having to "catch his balance". In response to Dylan's statement Eric asked: "What?" to which Dylan replied: "Just some fat fuck."
With the gun still in Evan's face, Dylan asked: "Are you a jock?". Evan answered: "No." and Dylan said: "Well, that's good. We don't like jocks." He paused then, adding a moment later: "Let me see your face." Evan took off his hat then and tilted his head back so Dylan could see him.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you," Dylan told him. Evan's response: "I don't want to get in trouble." He had no idea why he said that but the answer seemed to make Dylan angry. "Trouble?" Dylan demanded. "You don't even know what fucking trouble is!"
Evan hastily tried to clarify his comment. "That's not what I meant! I mean, I don't have a problem with you guys. I never will and I never did." Dylan stared at him for a moment then looked away, saying: "I'm gonna let this fat fuck live, you can have at him if you want to." Eric didn't seem to be paying any attention to what Dylan was saying and never acknowledged him, saying instead: "Let's go to the commons."
The moved to leave then, though Dylan paused long enough to grab a chair and smash it down on a computer that was sitting atop the counter. Both shooters left the library then; Evan never saw them again. Soon after, though, he heard the sound of explosions somewhere in the halls. Evan moved to the RNN (Rebel News Network) studio room, afraid the shooters might come back and confront him again. He first hid behind a curtain but, feeling less than secure there, moved to hide under the news desk. After a couple of minutes he heard what sounded like a stampede and looked up to see several people fleeing the library. It didn't look like they were being chased though so Evan abandoned his hiding place and fled with them. Outside the building he ran to a nearby police car where he was reunited with Ryan Barrett among the 30-40 other students already there.
Ryan and Evan were directed by officers to hide behind a nearby shed and when they and a few other students repositioned themselves there Evan found a boy he knew, Mike Johnson
, already there and covered in blood. Mike complained that his feet were going cold. Evan held Mike's hand and tried to reassure him. As he sat there more students arrived, including one girl that looked as though she was missing her shoulder and another that looked to be shot in the stomach. As they hid there a train of several police cars pulled up and began shuttling the students away. Evan told officers that there were two suspects, one armed with an "uzi" and the other had a sawed-off shotgun and that they possibly had bombs.
Eventually Evan, Ryan, and Mike were shuttled from the scene and taken to a cul-de-sac where several other people were being provided with first aid. He and Ryan remained there only briefly before leaving by foot to walk to Ryan's home which was nearby. Evan called his parents from there and was picked up by his brother and taken home. Evan was never taken to the hospital but he did go to a nearby clinic where he was treated for abrasions to the eye and back from the splintering counter. He was released the same day.
Evan was the last of the survivors to be identified; he was listed in Littleton papers as 'Unnamed Boy
'. He returned to Columbine when he was well enough and went on to play for the Columbine Rebels' state championship football team. He also held a 27-10 wrestling record on the varsity squad and made Eagle Scout in 2000. He was last planning to attend college and pursue a career as a federal law enforcement officer.