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- "Everybody with white hats, stand up! This is for all the shit you've given us for the past four years!"
- "Klebold as he enters the library"
Dylan Bennet Klebold (September 11th, 1981 - April 20th, 1999) was one of the two gunmen of the Columbine High School massacre. On April 20th, 1999, he, along with his best friend, Eric Harris, planted two 20-pound propane bombs in the cafeteria of Columbine High School. When they did not detonate, they went to plan B with their guns and started shooting everyone.
Dylan Klebold was born on September 11, 1981, in Lakewood, Colorado.
Dylan Klebold was a child of upper middle class parents, considered gifted in grammar school. During his earlier school years, he played T-ball, baseball and soccer.
He was in Cub Scouts with friend Brooks Brown, a boy he had been friends with since the first grade. He met Eric Harris while attending Ken Caryl Middle School in the seventh or eighth grade and it turned out that Brooks Brown lived near the house Eric's parents had recently bought, and rode the same bus as Eric.
Not long after that Eric introduced Dylan to his friend Nathan (Nate) Dykeman, who also attended Ken Caryl, and the boys all became good friends. As a quiet teen interested in technology, Klebold didn’t fit in with the dominant jock culture of Columbine High School. He developed a hatred of school -- a sentiment shared by Harris. The two adopted the style of the school’s outcast clique, the Trench Coat Mafia, wearing long coats, dark clothing, and looking unkempt, and reportedly hung around the group’s periphery.
Although he was bright, Klebold didn’t apply himself in school and earned mediocre grades. Intelligent, Klebold was in a program for gifted students at his elementary school. He was described as a shy child who loved baseball, especially the Boston Red Sox. By ninth grade, he was friends with Eric Harris and Brooks Brown. Klebold also enjoyed bowling and worked behind the scenes for school productions as a sound man. With Harris, he worked at a local pizza place for a time.
Before The Shooting
Dylan and Eric were victims to many relentless attacks of violence that led to the attack and some accounts say that Dylan had a cup of fecal matter thrown at him. One time in the lunchroom Dylan and Eric were confronted by a group of youths at the school—all members of the football team—who had pelted them with ketchup and mustard-covered tampons while referring to the pair as "faggots" and "queers". Klebold, in personal writings found after the attack, expressed suicidal thoughts and was deeply saddened by his lack of a romantic relationship.
There was also a lot of rage simmering under the surface as well, which appeared in the violent essays he wrote for English class and the stories and poems he wrote for his creative writing class -- all of which often featured blood, death and war. Another ominous sign of things to come, Klebold and Harris made a video of them acting as vigilantes shooting “jocks” in the school hallways for a school project. They believed that their actions would bring them fame as well as vengeance. In one of the videotapes made by the pair, Klebold said “I hope we kill 250 of you” and Harris compared the killings to one of their favorite video games, Doom, as reported in Time magazine.
They even discussed which director should handle the film version of their attack. Three days before the shooting Dylan's prom date for the night was friend Robyn K. Anderson, whom he'd met some years before at a Christmas party. She was attending the event with him as his friend; not a love interest. Despite early media reports, Robyn and Dylan were not romantically involved. Robyn proudly boasted to another male friend shortly before the prom: "I convinced my friend Dylan, who hates dances, jocks and has never had a date let alone a girlfriend to go with me! I am either really cute or just really persuasive!" .
It was Robyn Anderson who helped purchase the two shotguns and the rifle that were used in the assault. She acted as a middleman in a "straw sale" to purchase the guns for them since Dylan and Eric were not 18 at the time (the legal age to purchase a firearm in Colorado) but Robyn was. Shortly before the purchase, the owner of Dragon Arms gun shop in Littleton reported that five teen-agers tried to purchase an M-60 machine gun and a silencer-equipped assault pistol in early March. The five appeared on a store surveillance videoptape that was turned over to police but it hasn't been made known if any of the teens was Dylan or Eric.
Hitmen for Hire
In December 1998, Harris and Klebold made Hitmen for Hire, a video for a school project in which they swore, yelled at the camera, made violent statements, and acted out shooting and killing students in the hallway of their school as Hitmen for Hire. They both displayed themes of violence in their creative writing projects for school; of a Doom-based story written by Harris on January 17, 1999, Harris's teacher said: "Yours is a unique approach and your writing works in a gruesome way — good details and mood setting."
On April 20, 1999 Dylan Klebold had already arrived at the school in a separate car, and the two boys left two gym bags, each containing a 20-pound propane bomb, inside the school cafeteria. When these devices failed to detonate, Harris and Klebold launched a shooting attack against their classmates. At 11:19 a.m. they began shooting and killed 17-year-old Rachel Scott and severely injuring and paralyzing her friend, Richard Castaldo, then also 17-years-old. They then moved to a staircase and Harris removed his trench coat and aimed his 9 mm carbine down the west staircase toward three youths: 15-year-olds Daniel Rohrbough and Sean Graves and 16-year-old Lance Kirklin. The three friends had been ascending the staircase directly below the shooters. Kirklin later reported seeing Klebold and Harris standing at the top of the staircase, before the pair opened fire.
All three youths were shot and wounded. Klebold walked down the steps toward the cafeteria. He came up to Kirklin, who was already wounded and lying on the ground, weakly calling for help. Klebold said, "Sure. I'll help you," then shot Kirklin in the face, critically wounding him. Daniel Rohrbough and Sean Graves had descended the staircase when Klebold and Harris' attention was diverted by the students on the grass; Graves—paralyzed beneath the waist had crawled into the doorway of the cafeteria's west entrance and collapsed.
Klebold shot Rohrbough, who was already fatally wounded by the shots previously fired by Harris, at close range through the upper left chest and then stepped over the injured Sean Graves to enter the cafeteria. Officials speculated that Klebold went to the cafeteria to check on the propane bombs. Harris shot down the steps at several students sitting near the cafeteria's entrance, severely wounding and partially paralyzing 17-year-old Anne-Marie Hochhalter as she tried to flee. Klebold came out of the cafeteria and went back up the stairs to join Harris.
Police responded at 11:20 a.m. and Dylan and Eric went to the library the shooters walked to the opposite side of the library, to two rows of computers. Todd, 15, hid behind the administrative counter. Kyle Velasquez, 16, was sitting at the north row of computers; police later said he had not hidden underneath the desk when Klebold and Harris had first entered the library, but had curled up under the computer table. Klebold shot and killed Velasquez, hitting him in the head and back. Klebold and Harris put down their ammunition-filled duffel bags at the south—or lower—row of computers and reloaded their weapons. They walked back toward the windows facing the outside staircase. Noticing police evacuating students outside the school, Harris said: "Let's go kill some cops."
He and Klebold began to shoot out the windows in the direction of the police. Officers returned fire, and Harris and Klebold retreated from the windows; no one was injured. Harris walked over to the table across from the lower computer row, slapped the surface twice and knelt, saying "Peek-a-boo" to 17-year-old Cassie Bernall before shooting her once in the head, killing her instantly. Harris had been holding the shotgun with one hand at this point and the weapon hit his face in recoil, breaking his nose. Initial reports suggest that Harris asked Bernall "Do you believe in God?", to which she replied yes, before getting killed
However, three students who witnessed Bernall's death, including Emily Wyant, who had been hiding beneath the table with her, have testified that Bernall did not exchange words with Harris after his initial taunt, although Wyant stated Bernall had been praying prior to her murder. After firing through the windows at evacuating students and the police, Klebold fired his shotgun at a nearby table, injuring three students: 17-year-olds Patrick Ireland and Daniel Steepleton, and 19-year-old Makai Hall. He removed his trench coat.
As Klebold fired at the three, Harris grabbed his shotgun and walked toward the lower row of computer desks, firing a single shot under the first desk without looking. He hit 14-year-old Steven Curnow with a mortal wound to the neck. Harris then shot under the adjacent computer desk, injuring 17-year-old Kacey Ruegsegger with a shot which passed completely through her right shoulder and hand, also grazing her neck and severing a major artery. When she started gasping in pain, Harris tersely stated, "Quit your bitching."
Harris approached another table where two girls were hiding. He bent down to look at them and dismissed them as "pathetic". Harris then moved to another table where he fired twice, injuring 16-year-olds Nicole Nowlen and John Tomlin. When Tomlin attempted to move away from the table, Klebold kicked him. Harris then taunted Tomlin's attempt at escape before Klebold shot the youth repeatedly, killing him. Harris then walked back over to the other side of the table where Lauren Townsend lay dead.
Behind the table, a 16-year-old girl named Kelly Fleming had, like Bree Pasquale, also 16-years-old sat next to the table rather than beneath it due to a lack of space. Harris shot Fleming with his shotgun, hitting her in the back and killing her instantly. He shot at the table behind Fleming, hitting Townsend and Lisa Kreutz, also 18-years-old again, and wounding another 18-year-old: Jeanna Park. An autopsy later revealed that Townsend died from the earlier gunshots inflicted by Klebold. Harris walked toward the bookcases between the west and center section of tables in the library.
He jumped on one and shook it, then shot in an unknown direction within that general area. Klebold walked through the main area, past the first set of bookcases, the central desk area and a second set of bookcases into the east area. Harris walked from the bookcase he had shot from, past the central area to meet Klebold. The latter shot at a display case located next to the door, then turned and shot toward the closest table, hitting and injuring 17-year-old Mark Kintgen in the head and shoulder.
He then turned toward the table to his left and fired, injuring Lisa Kreutz and Valeen Schnurr, who was also then 18-years-old with the same shotgun blast. Klebold then moved toward the same table and fired with the TEC-9, killing 18-year-old Lauren Townsend. At this point, the seriously injured Valeen Schnurr began screaming, "Oh my God, oh my God!" In response, Klebold asked Schnurr if she believed in the existence of God; when Schnurr replied she did, Klebold simply asked "Why?" before walking from the table. The shooters moved to the center of the library, where they continued to reload their weapons at a table there.
Harris noticed a student hiding nearby and asked him to identify himself. It was John Savage, an acquaintance of Klebold's, who had come to the library to study for a history test. Savage said his name, believing they were targeting only jocks (which he himself was not), in an attempt to save his life; he then asked Klebold what they were doing, to which he answered, "Oh, just killing people." Savage asked if they were going to kill him. Possibly because of a fire alarm, Klebold said, "What?" Savage asked again whether they were going to kill him.
Klebold hesitated, then told him to leave. Savage fled immediately, and escaped through the library's main entrance. They had killed 10 people in the library and wounded 12. Of the 56 library hostages, 34 remained unharmed. Investigators would later find that the shooters had enough ammunition to have killed them all.
32 minutes after they left the library, Patti Nielson, who had locked herself inside a break room with a student and library staff, overheard Harris and Klebold suddenly shout in unison, "One! Two! Three!" These words were followed by the sound of gunfire. Both had committed suicide: Harris by firing his shotgun through the roof of his mouth; Klebold by shooting himself in the left temple with his TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun.
- Klebold is portrayed by Josh Young on the Columbine episode of Zero Hour.
- He is also shown in the security camera footage as seen in Bowling for Columbine (2002).
- The indie PC game called Super Columbine Massacre RPG! is based loosely on the Columbine shootings, with Klebold as one of the playable characters. It is available here.