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  • Writer's pictureRita Gleason

Exploitation of Columbine- Series 2

On 4/22/1999, two days after the attack on Columbine, police received an anonymous call from someone claiming to be a member of the Trenchcoat Mafia. The caller reported that there was a live bomb at a Columbine-centered service at Light of the World Church in Littleton. Investigators and church officials searched the building and grounds but no bomb was found.

Six days after the attack, the school remained a crime scene. Despite this, an individual pushed aside a barricade, ducked under crime scene tape and managed to get 75 yards into the school before being apprehended. When confronted by police, he told them that he “just wanted to see in the library”. The 20-yr old man was arrested for criminal trespass.

Within that same week, a neighbor of Tom and Sue Klebold found a man in a gold pick up parked in front of the Klebold’s front gate. He spoke with the man briefly and suspected that the individual was intoxicated. The truck soon drove off and the neighbor went up to the home to inform Tom. Within 15 minutes the Klebold’s received consecutive calls on both of their unlisted lines. The caller sounded like a “hillbilly drunk” and stated, “This is not a threat but I have vengeance” before hanging up. It was one of countless threats the Klebold’s have received since April 20, 1999.

In September of 1999, friends of a troubled young man informed authorities that he had been alluding to committing acts of violence, similar to Columbine, at nearby Golden High School. After thorough investigation and a polygraph examination, police found that he said these things as a joke.

In October 1999, Columbine High School’s librarian contacted authorities regarding a letter that had been sent to the school. The letter contained threats towards Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone and a young woman who had falsely claimed to have had a relationship with Eric Harris. Authorities discovered that 2 letters had been sent from the same individual; one to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and one to the high school. The JCSO letter contained a 3” X 5” card with handwriting, a photocopy of a computer disk, a suicide note, and a handwritten note. The Columbine letter contained a similar 3” X 5” card, disk photocopy, as well as two pieces of paper with handwriting on them. Fingerprints were found on the materials and authorities were able to identify the subject- a young man in Houston, TX.

Police interviewed the young woman mentioned in the letters about her affiliation with the subject. She relayed that that she had chatted with this individual online and while he had never threatened her, she and her cousin had recently received threatening messages from an unknown person. JCSO learned from the young man’s previous school counselor that once, years prior to Columbine, he had made a comment about obtaining guns and “mowing down” his class because he was upset with his teacher. Authorities traveled to Houston to interview the subject and he admitted to sending the letters. The subject claimed that although the letters were death threats, it was all just a prank and he had no intention of harming anyone. He called it “The Game”. The young man also admitted to setting up an e-mail account designed to look like it belonged to Eric Harris. He claimed to have targeted the young woman because when they spoke online she was always saying how cute Eric Harris was and he thought it would be funny to prank her.

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