Sean Graves is a former American student who attended Columbine High School. He was with Daniel Rohrbough and Lance Kirklin leaving the cafeteria at the time of the massacre, at approximately 1-2 minutes after it began.

Columbine High School Massacre

Sean was in the commons with several friends including Dan Rohrbourgh and Lance Kirklin. Lance had been making centerpieces out of everyone's plates and decided he wanted to go have a cigarette. Sean and Dan decided to go with him and the boys had just left the cafeteria and were heading toward the grassy knoll with plans to go to "Smokers' Pit", an area at Clement Park across the street that was popular with the smoking crowd who attended Columbine.

The shooters were roughly twelve feet away when Sean saw them. According to his statement in the Columbine Report, he remembered "looking up the hill and seeing black clothes". He saw two people in black, the tallest of which had a duffel bag at his feet. The three friends were nearly to the top of the hill when the shooter who would later be identified as Eric Harris loaded his gun, then turned and fired on the west entrance about 10 times. The taller shooter, later identified as Dylan Klebold, turned and saw Sean and his friends. Dylan opened fire and Eric followed suit and Sean heard Dan yell. Dan stumbled back into Sean and fell; Sean saw Dylan point his weapon at him then and he felt something graze his ear. Sean thought it was a paint ball gun, under the mistaken impression that it was senior prank day. Lance turned to run and was shot in the leg. He fell to the ground and Sean realized that it was not a prank. He turned to run as well; he took three shots to the abdomen and back but still managed to make it as far as the cafeteria door before a shot to the leg brought him down. At first he thought he'd been hit by shots from a tranquilizer gun because his legs gave out.

He saw that the cafeteria door was closing so he stuck his arm in the way, yelling to people inside to get the tranquilizers off his back. A female dean tried to pull him inside but another school employee told her not to move him because of his back. He tried then to scoot inside the doorway but couldn't; he was caught half in and half out of the cafeteria. He could hear explosions coming from the commons. He took off his backpack because his back was hurting but he still couldn't quite grasp that he'd really been shot. He saw a bullet hole on the back side of his backpack but didn't see an exit and thought the bullet must be stuck in a book. A lady inside the cafeteria tried to comfort him then she was gone and Sean decided to play dead there, wedged halfway inside the building. Dylan stepped on him when that shooter entered the cafeteria to check on the bombs left there earlier. He could hear shots inside and more explosions which occurred later.

At one point the janitor came over to hold Sean's hand; Sean told him to leave so the shooters - who were still in the school - wouldn't know he was alive. He told the man that he wanted to play dead so the janitor left him. There were more explosions from the common area and then the propane bomb partially detonated. There was a "swoosh of a fire ball" and the overhead sprinklers came on. The cafeteria was on fire and he was stepped on again by students trying to escape the blast. He heard some say "don't leave him" but the only thing he could do was lay there and pray. He started to lose consciousness about the time he heard sirens. He remembered medics coming to pull him to safety but couldn't remember anything of the event after that.


When asked by investigators about the Trench Coat Mafia, he said that he knew them by name only, dating back to when he was attending Ken Caryl Middle School (the same school incidentally that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold both attended). However, he never associated the shooters with the group, telling investigators he'd seen the members of the TCM in passing and didn't know any by name. He also told them that he didn't remember seeing any members of the TCM the day of the shooting.

Sean was best friends with fellow victim Patrick Ireland; both boys were good friends of the deceased Danny Rohrbourgh. Sean and Lance Kirklin haven't spoken much about that day, Sean told reporters. He said he that he gets too emotional to talk to Lance in person, preferring email correspondence as of 1999.

His back/spine injury was deemed an 'incomplete spinal injury' by doctors, meaning that he was paralyzed below the injury level but retained some feeling and movement. He was later moved to Craig Hospital for spinal cord rehabilitation. On June 20th, 1999 he took his first steps. He was released from Craig July 7th, 1999.

Sean told reporters he used to have nightmares about being shot long before the attack on Columbine. Those nightmares stopped after the shooting. His home was rebuilt to accomodate the wheelchair he was using at the time and donations from folks around the world paid for a home gym to assist his personal therapy. Sean's father Randy purchased him a used pick-up truck when Sean was 16, when the teen proved to his father he could get in and out of it unassisted.

Sean graduated from Columbine in 2002, using only a crutch to walk across the stage to receive his diploma. Two years after, a 20-year-old Sean went back to Columbine for the 5th 'anniversary' of the tragedy. He planned to place a cigar on the ground where Danny died.

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