Zero Hour: Massacre at Columbine High is a minute-by-minute recap of the horrifying 1999 murders of twelve students and one teacher at the Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado. The perpetrators were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, two students at the school who took their own lives in the act.
Before the shooting
When Eric Harris first arrived at Columbine High School, he ran into Brooks Brown. They previously had a volatile history, with Harris threatening to kill Brown on his website. They had made peace by April 20, 1999. Brown got on to Harris about missing class, who replied it didn't matter anymore.
"Brooks, I like you now," Harris told him. "Get out of here. Go home."
Eric Harris (Age 18) and Dylan Klebold (Age 17) had planned to use 20-pound propane bombs in the school cafeteria (nicknamed the "Commons") to kill all 480 students having lunch in the cafeteria on April 20, 1999 set to explode at 11:07 am, just as the cafeteria reached the peak of the lunch time rush. The plan was to kill as many students as possible in the explosions and to execute survivors as they ran out of the school. The last part of the plan was when police and emergency personnel and TV crew arrived, bombs in their cars were set to detonate, furthering the carnage. However, the bombing failed and the two boys ended up having to go to Plan B, shooting their victims.
The boys were armed with two 9mm guns (Harris using a Hi-Point 995 Carbine rifle and Klebold using a TEC-DC9 handgun, set to three-bullet burst fire), two sawed off shotguns (Harris using a pump-action and Klebold using a double-barreled), two knives each, and 99 bombs, including one diversionary propane bomb, the two propane bombs in the cafeteria and time-bombs in each of their cars.
The boys first threw a pipe bomb, which exploded without injury to anyone. They cocked and locked their guns. Eric told Dylan, "Go! Go!" then opened fire on Rachel Scott and Richard Castaldo. Both were hit, Castaldo being paralysed for life from the chest down. Harris fired again and hit Scott, killing her.
The boys regrouped at the top of the stairs as Daniel Rohrbough, Sean Graves and Lance Kirklin came up the stairs. Harris and Klebold raised their guns and fired, critically injuring them all. Daniel Rohrbough was fatally shot in the back by Klebold seconds later. He then shot Kirklin in the face, but he survived. Graves, critically wounded, ran but fell right between the doors of the cafeteria entrance. Klebold ignored Graves as he stepped over him. Raising his shotgun, Klebold swept it back and forth but did not fire. He later regrouped again with Harris.
Eric shot at some teens out in the field, wounding both Michael Johnson and Mark Taylor. Taylor feigned death while Johnson kept running. As Klebold was at the cafeteria, Eric then took off his trench coat then pulled out his rifle. He shot and paralyzed Anne-Marie Hochhalter. Harris and Klebold then walked toward the West Entrance. Harris fired into the doors injuring teacher Patti Neilson and student Brian Anderson with bullets and flying glass. Soon, Eric and Dylan entered the school. Shortly, police officer Neal Gardner pulled up and exchanged fire with Eric Harris, until the latter's carbine jammed. When Gardner saw Harris duck down, he momentarily believed he may have hit him. In the school, Harris and Klebold wrecked havoc, shooting at anyone in their paths while laughing, also shooting lockers and throwing pipe bombs. When coming around a corner, Klebold shot Stephanie Munson in the ankle, who managed to flee the school.
Meanwhile, Dave Sanders and a student assisting him is trying to clear the hallways to where Harris and Klebold were. Dave Sanders and the student were in Harris and Klebold's way when the duo was going to evacuate the Library. Dave Sanders and the student attempted to turn and run, but Klebold raised his TEC-DC9 and shot at them both. Dave Sanders was hit, but the student with him escaped unharmed. Klebold walked over and stepped over Sanders' body and pointed his TEC-DC9 down the hallway, looking for the other student, then went back to regroup with Harris. While walking down the hall- Harris lit up a pipe bomb and slid it down the hall. It exploded and Klebold let out an evil laugh.
A few minutes Harris and Klebold arrived at the library door where 56 students and staff were hiding in the library. Eric yelled "GET UP!" so loud he was heard on the 911 call by Patti Neilson. When no one responded, Dylan yelled "Everyone with white hats stand up! This is for all the shit you given us for the past four years!". One of them told people to get out as they were going to blow up the library. When no one stood, Eric said "Fine, I'll start shooting anyway!" and shot twice at a desk with his shotgun, hitting Evan Todd with flying splinters. He wasn't seriously hurt however. Harris and Klebold then walked into the library where Kyle Velasquez' head was sticking out. Dylan then shot and killed Kyle.
Harris and Klebold walked up towards a table and reloaded their firearms. Eric then spotted police evacuating students and staff. "Let's go kill some cops," he said. The two went to the windows and opened fire on the police, who returned fire. Eric continued firing at the cops as Dylan turned around. Flashing an evil grin, he shot and wounded three students named Patrick Ireland, Daniel Steepleton and Makai Hall. Dylan then took off his trenchcoat. Eric then gave up shooting at the cops and fired at students under computer desks killing Steven Curnow and injuring Kacey Ruegsegger.
When Kacey gasped in pain, Eric told her "Quit your bitching." Eric walked to another table and slapped on the surface and bent down and saw Cassie Bernall. He said "Peek a boo" to her before killing her with a shotgun blast to the face. When he fired, the recoil from the shotgun smashed into Eric's face, breaking his nose. Checking his nose for blood, Eric then turned over to Bree Pasquale for not sitting under a desk but rather next to it due to a lack of space, Eric asked her if she wanted to die. When Bree pleaded for her life, Eric said they were all going to die, "We're gonna blow up the school anyway". Eric was bleeding heavily from his nose and seemed a bit disoriented.
When Patrick Ireland tried to help his friends, his head was seen by Klebold. Laying his shotgun on his TEC9, he fired, hitting Patrick, who survived. He noticed three jocks, one of whom was black. Calling Eric, by "Reb", to come over, Klebold tried to pull Isaiah Shoels out, also insulting him with a racial slur. Eric came over and fired at Isaiah, killing him instantly. As Eric relished in the murder, Dylan also fired, killing Matthew Ketcher. Eric yelled "Who's ready to die next?", probably not expecting an answer.
Eric then lit a CO bomb and dropped. A student threw it away before it exploded. Eric jumped on a bookshelf and shook it, screaming "Listen up, you f--king scared pieces of s--t! This school is f--king dead!" Then he jumped off and walked around the shelf and fired at some books. Dylan meanwhile hooted as he shot a display case. He laughed again as he walked around. He fired under a table, injuring Mark Kingten. Hearing two girls gasp, he fired at another table, injuring Valeen Schnurr and Lisa Kreutz with the same buckshot bullet. Kicking a chair, he took a step forward. Then he spun on the spot and fired his TEC9 rapidly, killing Lauren Townsend.
Eric bent down at Schnurr and Kreutz and called them "pathetic". Schnurr cried out to God, and Dylan asked if she believed in God as he reloaded his shotgun. When she said yes, he asked why. Schnurr replied it's what she believed, what her parents believed and raised her to believe. Dylan spared her.
Continuing their rampage, Eric shot under a table, injuring Nicole Nowten and John Tomlin. Klebold finished him off with his TEC9. Eric then fatally shot Kelly Flemming, then wounded the already injured Lisa Kreutz, who survived. Jeanna Park was also injured. The phone line left open by Patti Nielson recorded the sound of the killings in the library.
Harris noticed a student who looked familiar hiding under a table. Aiming his Carbine rifle at him, he told the student to identify himself. John Savage identified himself. Klebold came up behind Harris, who walked away. John asked what Dylan was doing. Dylan replied, "Oh, just killing people." John asked if Dylan was going to kill him. Dylan said "What?" because of the fire alarms. John asked again. Dylan hesitated, but told John to get out. As John Savage ran for his life, Eric fatally shot Daniel Mauser in the face.
Outside, the police's presence continued to grow, though no officer would enter the school until after the gunmen had committed suicide. They received conflicting reports, of a rooftop sniper (who turned out to be a maintenance worker) and that there were as many as eight gunmen. Similar to the 1997 North Hollywood shootout, the police followed standard police procedure, which dictated that police make a perimeter to keep the criminals from escaping. The procedure didn't advocate going in to stop them.
As Savage approached the exit of the school, Harris and Klebold fired one last time, killing Corey DePooter and injuring Austin Eubanks and Jennifer Doyle. Eric's rifle clicked, out of ammo. The killers then began to say they no longer found a thrill in shooting their victims. "Maybe we should start knifing people. That might be more fun," Klebold said.
After seven minutes, the killing spree in the library ended. Harris set off a Molotov cocktail. Klebold spotted the injured Evan Todd. He threatened and yelled at him. "You used to call me a fag! Who's a fag now?" He shot at a TV in the break room. When Eric inquired about going to the cafeteria, Dylan said he had to do one more thing. He now seemed reduced to a gesture of repressed rage as he slammed a chair on to a computer right above where Nielson was hiding. They left at 11:36. The surviving students and adults left the library, except two: Patrick Ireland, who was unconscious, and Lisa Kruetz, who was unable to move.
Eric and Dylan roamed through the halls. They threatened some students who hid in the bathroom, but did not enter. They looked into classrooms and even made eye contact with people in classrooms, but made no attempt to enter. They even reloaded their guns right near the room where Dave Sanders was bleeding to death despite some students efforts to give him medical attention. Eric and Dylan's movements through the school then seemed directionless.
At 11:44, the shooters descended down the stairs into the cafeteria. Kneeling on one knee and laying his rifle on the rails of the stairs, Harris tried to detonate one of the 20 pound propane bombs, firing at the duffel bag. It was perhaps his first suicide attempt during the attack, for if the bomb had detonated, he would have been in range of the blast. That failed so the two roamed the cafeteria. Harris took a sip of a drink students had left behind.
During this time, Harris' father called the police, telling them that he believed his son was responsible for the shooting, saying his son was also a member of the Trenchcoat Mafia, a group of trenchcoat wearing kids. Harris and Klebold were merely friends with a member, Chris Morris, whom Harris had thrice tried to recruit for the massacre as a third attacker.
Klebold lit a Molotov cocktail and threw it at the duffel bags. As he reached the stairs, one of the bombs partially detonated, blowing out the windows and setting a fire. The shooters left as the flames got bigger. When they came back a few minutes later, the fire had been put out by the sprinklers. They roamed around, briefly entering the kitchen.
They roamed the hallways again, shooting randomly and aimlessly.Harris and Klebold then came back to the library, which was filled with smoke. They sat down at the windows and reloaded their guns. Looking at each other, they made one last near-suicidal gesture. They rose and fired at police. Police returned fire. After some minutes, they ducked and took cover.
Realising that everything was over and nothing had gone according to plan, they sat there as the police continued providing cover fire for emergency personnel to get the wounded out.
Moving away from the windows, Harris and Klebold probably said their goodbyes to one another, then said "One... Two... Three!" and committed suicide at 12:08 P.M. Harris shot himself through the mouth with his shotgun and Klebold shot himself in the left temple with his TEC-DC9. Klebold lived long enough to aspirate blood in his lungs and make involuntary movements.
The police did not find their bodies for three hours.