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Authorities say Columbine shooters acted alone

Thomas
Thomas says it appears that Harris and Klebold acted alone   
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Harris' parents refuse to meet investigators

May 1, 1999
Web posted at: 9:58 p.m. EDT (0158 GMT)


In this story:

Shooter's parents demand immunity

Crosses remembering shooters destroyed

Complaints about Harris lodged a year earlier

Complainants dispute investigators

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



LITTLETON, Colorado (CNN) -- The two students blamed for the Columbine High School massacre apparently acted alone and it is not likely others will be charged in the attack, Jefferson County District Attorney Dave Thomas said Saturday.

"There is no positive, affirmative information at this point that anyone other than Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were involved in this event," he said, referring to the April 20 shooting and bombing spree at Columbine High School that left 15 dead.

The number of weapons and bombs used in the attack -- police found more than 50 unexploded devices at the school -- led authorities to focus on the possibility of conspiracy in their investigation.

Thomas said the man who sold the shooters a TEC-DC9 semiautomatic handgun is expected to turn himself in early this week. He faces a fourth-degree felony charge of selling or transferring a handgun to a juvenile.

The suspect has not been identified, although Thomas said he didn't think the man was a co-worker of Harris and Klebold at the Blackjack Pizza parlor, as previously indicated.

The three other guns used in the attack were purchased by Klebold's 18-year-old girlfriend, police have said.

Shooter's parents demand immunity

Klebold's parents met with investigators Friday and are cooperating as witnesses, not suspects, their attorneys told CNN.

But the parents of Eric Harris -- who kept a diary detailing plans for last month's massacre --have refused to talk with investigators without immunity from criminal prosecution.

"I was advised in trying to set up an interview with them that they will not consent to an interview without a grant of immunity," Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Mark Pautler said.

"We wanted to interview them as witnesses. We're disappointed they won't cooperate. We don't know why they think they needed immunity."

Pautler rejected the request for immunity.

"We're not giving anyone immunity at this point, certainly not them," he told the Denver Post.

In addition to Harris's diary, police found bomb-making materials at his home.

Crosses remembering shooters destroyed

cross removal
Rohrbough said he felt vicitimized again by having crosses for the killers with crosses for the victims  

Meanwhile, thousands of mourners climbed the small hill behind Columbine High School Saturday to view the crosses erected in memory of those killed in the massacre.

Only 13 of the crosses erected by an Illinois carpenter remain following Friday's removal of those erected for Harris and Klebold.

The crosses were cut down and destroyed by the father and other relatives of Daniel Rohrbough, 15, who died in the attack.

"I don't think any thinking person in this country is going to disagree with me," Rohrbough said. "We never, ever honor a murderer in the same place as the memorial for his victims."

Many bystanders supported his actions, although a number of flowers and notes quickly accumulated where the crosses once stood.

By Saturday afternoon, someone had placed thigh-high make-shift crosses where the 6-foot markers once stood. Mourners tacked letters on the crosses asking "Why?"

"They do need to be remembered," said Jody Baker, of nearby Highlands Ranch. "They were kids who died and they probably needed help."

Some residents in Littleton have directed their anger toward the authorities for not doing enough to prevent the attack.

Complaints about Harris lodged a year earlier

report
A 'suspicious report' filed with Jefferson County Sheriff's Department alleging Harris exploded pipebombs  

Tensions escalated after it emerged that police and school officials were warned more than a year before the shootings that Harris was detonating pipe bombs and talking about killing people on his Web site.

No charges were filed because investigators could not locate the Web site, according to Jefferson County Sheriff's Department Lt. John Kiekbusch. He also said that posting threats on the Internet was apparently not illegal.

"We could not get to the point where there was a crime that could have been identified," Kiekbusch said at a press conference Friday. "At that time, everything we did with that case ... was reasonable within the workload and the policies of the department."

But in the wake of the Columbine tragedy, local police are now tracking down and investigating any similar threats they receive, Kiekbusch said.

"We all learned a lesson on the 20th of April. Part of that is that we need to take these things in a more serious fashion," he said.

Complainants dispute investigators

Randy Brown -- who made the initial complaint about Harris in March 1998 -- called the investigators' claims "unbelievable." He said he and his wife were never told that the sheriff's office couldn't find Harris' Web page on the computer.

"My 15-year-old could have found it for them," Brown told CNN.

He also disputed the sheriff department's statement that the Browns did not want Harris' or Klebold's families contacted.

"That's why we gave them the kid's names and the parents' names. We wanted them to contact them," he said.

Despite that, Brown complimented Deputy Neil Gardner, who patrolled Columbine. He said the important thing at this point is, "Let's not let it happen again."

Correspondents Don Knapp, Charles Zewe and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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RELATED SITES:
National Rifle Association
Littleton Adventist Hospital - Important Phone Numbers
  • Fact Sheet on Littleton, Colorado School Shooting
Columbine High School
School violence
GUN-FREE SCHOOLS ACT OF 1994
CDC: Facts About Violence Among Youth and Violence in Schools
Violence and Discipline Problems in U.S. Public Schools: 1996-97 / 98-030
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
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