Columbine victims | Dead | John Tomlin
John Tomlin
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John Tomlin
Born September 1, 1982
16 years old

John Tomlin was a sophomore at Columbine when he was killed in the library. A native of Wisconsin, his family moved to Littleton in 1995 when his father, John Michael, got a job there with a heating firm. John found the move difficult at first. He was shy and lonely. But he soon made friends with Jacob Youngblood and Brandon Sokol, both of whom later spoke at his funeral.

Young John Tomlin
Young John Tomlin
John attended the Foothills Bible Church and belonged to the Riverside Baptist Church South youth group where he met his girlfriend of seven months, Michelle Oetter. His sister Ashley said the pair were nearly inseperable.

"He treated me like the queen of the world," Michelle said of John.

He loved church and Chevrolet trucks. He had recently got his driver's license and had just bought an old Chevy pickup that he had been working for since he was 14. He enjoyed off-roading Rocky Mountains. He once drove all the way to Mexico to help build a house for a poor family. He enjoyed four-wheeling in his truck and lifting weights.

He was gentle and kind. Family and friends remember his energy and the warmth of his smile. "He had such a sense of humor. He was always making goofy faces," his mother said.

He worked after school and on weekends at Arapahoe Acres Nursery hauling trees and driving tractors 30 hours a week. According to friends, he always wore the same thing to work: Carpenter pants, mud-caked boots, a blue cap, and a jacket featuring his favorite team, the Green Bay Packers. He planned to join the army when he graduated.

John Tomlin
His truck, like Rachel Scott's car, became a standing memorial in the parking lot. Thursday following the shootings, his family gathered around the truck despite the fact that it was raining. His bible was still sitting on the dashboard, where he always left it in the hope that someone would see something there that would bring them closer to God. His grandfather, John Francis, his father, and other family members took turns sitting in the truck.

"He was as close to a perfect son as you could get," his father, John Michael Tomlin, said. "He was just good. You'd ask him to wash a car, and he'd wash both cars."

John spent his lunch hour in the library every day, studying. He was there when the gunmen stormed the school. Hiding under a table, he welcomed a girl he didn't know (victim Nicole Nowlen) into his hiding place when she grew scared where she was hiding. He held her hand to comfort her when the killers started shooting people in the library. When he heard Dylan Klebold harassing Valeen Schnurr after she'd been shot, John confronted the gunman. Eric Harris opened fire on John and Nicole, injuring them both with blasts from his shotgun. Then Klebold came around the table and shot John at point-blank range in the head, killing him almost instantly.

The first of the funerals for the victims killed at Columbine, his was held at Foothills Bible Church where he had attended church. He was buried in his hometown of Waterford, Wisconsin, in Saint Peters Cemetery. He was buried in a satin-lined coffin of green and gold, the colors of his favorite team, embroidered with Chevy trucks.

John Tomlin and friend
John Tomlin
John Tomlin and family

Photos of John Tomlin and Family:
- John's parents
- John

Related Documents:
- Autopsy Summary

Offsite Links:
- Denver Post Online remembers John Tomlin
- Rocky Mountain News remembers John Tomlin
- About John's family - Interviews with John Michael and Doreen Tomlin.