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  • Writer's pictureRita Gleason

Resilience in the Face of Tragedy- Series 3

Despite the terror that surrounded them on April 20, 1999, many individuals, both students and teachers, reached out to one another to provide comfort and support, or to administer aid to those physically injured. Over the next few days, these acts of courage will be detailed.

Student Jennifer Doyle hid beneath a library table with fellow students Corey DePooter and Austin Eubanks. Doyle reports that through the attack, DePooter had been encouraging both her and Eubanks by telling them that everything would be alright. Sadly, Corey was murdered by Dylan Klebold. Doyle and Eubanks were injured but survived. Once they escaped from the library, despite his own injuries, Austin removed his shirt so that it could be used as bandaging for other wounded students.

Pat Ireland, Dan Steepleton, and Makai Hall took refuge beneath another library table. Steepleton was wearing a white hat and when Eric and Dylan commanded all jocks with white hats to stand, Dan was going to do so to make himself the target and protect the others at his table. Makai Hall grabbed Steepleton’s shoulder and told him, “Don’t move.” Harris and Klebold unleashed a barrage of bullets under their table anyway and when Pat Ireland realized that Hall had been shot in the knee, he moved towards him with the intent of applying pressure to the wound. Ireland’s head came just above the table at that moment, and Dylan Klebold shot Pat, too. The horror was not yet over. Just after they were wounded, a pipe bomb landed on Steepleton’s leg. He was afraid to move lest he be shot again; Makai Hall grabbed the bomb and tossed it away from the table before it exploded. Despite their injuries, all three boys survived.

Beneath yet another table, Jenna Park, Lisa Kreutz, Diwata Perez, Val Schnurr and Lauren Townsend huddled in fear. Park ’s younger sister was also in the library near the computer tables. When Jenna realized the danger, she desperately tried to get to her sister despite the presence of the gunmen in the library. Diwata Perez had to physically restrain Park in order to prevent her from leaving the safety of the table. Diwata reassured Jenna that another friend was near the computers and that she would take care of her sister. When Park left the library, she checked under the computer table for her sister but she had already escaped. Val Schnurr reported that Lauren Townsend, upon seeing how frightened Schnurr was, put her arm around Val, pulled her closer and reassured her that everything would be ok. Several of the girls under the table were seriously wounded by Klebold; Lauren was killed. Lisa Kreutz told police that as she lay dying, Townsend was held by one of the other girls. When Eric and Dylan left the library and students began fleeing, Schnurr reported that she tried in vain to wake Townsend. Park and Perez tried to help Kreutz get to safety but she was too badly injured and couldn't get out under her own power.

To Be Continued...

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