Daniel Lee Rohrbough was an American freshman student and the second murder victim of the Columbine High School Massacre, which claimed the lives of 12 students and a teacher, as well as both perpetrators. He was close friends with students Lance Kirklin and Sean Graves. The three were smokers and often hung out at Smoker's Pit in Clement Park until Dan's fateful day.
BackgroundEditDaniel Rohrbough enjoyed electronics and computer games. He was looking forward to getting his driver's permit soon. Remembered as a fun guy, he helped in his father's stereo business every day after school and, during the summer, he worked on his grandfather's farm harvesting wheat as he had done since he was three. He used the money he earned to buy Christmas presents for his family. On Tuesday Danny's father Brian knew something was wrong when his son failed to show up at the shop after school like normal.Dan was heading out of the cafeteria that morning with friends Lance Kirklin and Sean Graves when the shooters opened fire down the grassy knoll outside the school's west entrance. There was no warning for Danny and no chance: He was felled by shots to the abdomen and left leg. Lance tried to catch him but was shot as well. Moments later Dylan Klebold shot him again at point-blank range in the chest. He bled to death on the sidewalk outside the school where he lay for nearly 2 days before paramedics were allowed to move him.
The Rohrboughs were kept in the dark about what had happened to their son; law enforcement told them they didn't know for certain that the body on the sidewalk was Dan Rohrbough and wouldn't let the family in to check for themselves. It wasn't till the morning after the shootings that the Rohrboughs found out for certain what they already knew in their hearts: Danny was indeed the dead boy outside and they learned this news because it was splashed all over the morning news and not because the family was told directly by officials.
There was even more controversy over Daniel's death when Arapahoe County Deputy James Taylor, who had been a friend of the Rohrbough family, told Danny's parents that the boy may have been killed by 'friendly fire' from a Denver SWAT team member. Lawsuits and independent investigation has confirmed that Dan died from the shot fired by Eric Harris but it was never made clear whether or not Danny was hit in the crossfire by a bullet from law enforcement. The family later sued Taylor, who was suspended from the force. Additionally, there was initial confusion over which gunman was the one to have killed Dan Rohrbough. The Columbine Report states that it was Dylan Klebold who fired the fatal shot but an independent investigation by the El Paso County Sheriff's Dept. determined it was Eric Harris' weapon that was responsible.
He was known in the media reports later as "the boy who held the door open" for friends, allowing them to escape from the school during the assault. It's a very heroic notion but, like many of the stories of martyrdom during the crisis, doesn't seem to be supported by witness statements entered into the official reports that followed the investigation of the shootings. But whether he did or didn't, all the people who knew him could agree on one thing: Danny was a wonderful young man and he would be sorely missed.
Shortly after learning of his death, Dan's mother Sue Petrone started a load of laundry in order to "do something normal" and came across Daniel's shirt and socks. "The little things just bring back the horror of the fact that he's not with us any more," she said. She didn't often see Dan in the mornings before his death but that last morning they managed to come together for a brief chat that ended with a hug, a kiss, and her telling him she loved him. It was the last time she saw him alive.
Dan Rohrbough's funeral was held at Grace Presbyterian Church and he was buried in Littleton Cemetery in Littleton, Colorado.