Columbine victims | Dead | Matt Kechter
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Born February 19, 1983
16 years old
was a sturdy 210-pound sophomore: He played on both the offensive and defensive lines of the football team. He's remembered for his ready laugh. He was a weight lifter and an 'A' student, always getting good grades in school.
"When I heard he was one of the ones from the library, it only made sense," said sophomore basketball player and close friend Greg Barnes
. "He was always in the library studying. He always put academics first," Greg said of Matt. "He had straight A's but he would never brag about it. I
kinda looked up to him because of it. He was never in a bad mood, he was consistenly happy." Tragically, Greg committed suicide
shortly after the 1st anniversary of the shootings at Columbine.
Matt was in the library studying when the shooting began. He had been seated at a table with his friend, Craig Scott (brother of victim Rachel Scott
). When the teacher ran in and told everyone to get down, both boys hid under the table they had been sitting at and were joined by Matt's fellow athlete and friend, Isaiah Shoels
. After the shooters entered the library they shot several people before Dylan Klebold spotted Isaiah and called Eric Harris's attention to their table. The two gunmen made racial slurs toward the black boy and then Harris shot him at close range. Klebold fired on Matt next, hitting him in the chest. Matt died sometime later in the library where he lay.
"He was a wonderful role model for his little brother," his parents wrote in a statement that was read at his funeral at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church on April 27. "Their brotherhood had just recently developed into a bonding friendship ... In Matt's heart, there was always enough room for everyone to be victorious."
Days after the shooting, his mother Ann slept in his dirty clothes just to feel close to her son. In
2001, Ann and Joe fostered an 8-year-old girl. Two years later, they adopted her
"We were not trying to replace Matt, but we have a lot of love to give," Ann said. "We feel more complete as a family."
The University of Colorado (where Matt had planned to attend) sent his younger brother Adam one of their jerseys bearing Matt's name and the jersey number he wore, 70, as part of Columbine's football team. The Columbine High School football team all wore ribbons bearing his old jersey number were asked to dedicate the next season to Matt's memory at his funeral service. Matt was buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
In September of 1999, Matt Kechter was posthumously accepted into the National Honor Society.
Photos of Matt Kechter and Family:
- Ann and Joe Kechter - parents
- Football player Matt Kechter
- Matt Kechter and friend
- Adam Kechter, Matt's younger brother
receiving Columbine's 1999 championship trophy in Matt's honor
- Newspaper clipping about Matt
- Matt Kechter Autopsy Summary
- Rocky Mountain News remembers Matt Kechter
- Denver Post Online remembers Matt Kechter