Report clears policeman in Columbine shooting
LITTLETON, Colorado (CNN) -- Just days before the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings, an independent report concluded that one of the students slain there was killed by one of perpetrators and not by a Denver police officer.
The parents of 15-year-old Daniel Rohrbough had argued that their son was killed by a SWAT team member sent to the high school during the rampage. But a four-month investigation into the allegations, found that Sgt. Dan O'Shea had not arrived on the scene when Rohrbough was shot.
The report, conducted by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, also concluded that one of the bullets retrieved from Rohrbough's body was a "textbook match" to Columbine killer Eric Harris's gun.
"The murder of Daniel Rohrbough at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, was undeniably caused by gunman Eric Harris beyond any reasonable doubt," said the report, released Wednesday. "If Eric Harris were alive today, there exists overwhelming probable cause to arrest him for the murder of Daniel Rohrbough."
The slain student's parents, Brian Rohrbough and Sue Petrone, filed a lawsuit last December alleging their son was accidentally killed by O'Shea, but the initial investigation by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department found Dylan Klebold fired the fatal shot.
After hearing a summary of the 1,200-page report, Brian Rohrbough told a news conference Wednesday, "I believe for the first time in three years we have the first plausible explanation about what happened to my son.
"This is the very first time we've been presented with a scenario that makes sense: Eric Harris fired all three shots that killed my son," Rohrbough said. He added, "The claims we've made against Dan O'Shea were based on facts and evidence available at the time. Now we've seen those claims aren't valid."
Barry Arrington, the parents' attorney, said Jefferson County had been "reckless with the truth" and withheld information from the families. Because of that, he said, "a lot of people have had a lot of heartache."
Arrington said the family will not decide how to proceed until they have had time to study the full report. The El Paso County investigation was conducted at the request of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
When asked about how the new findings impact the upcoming anniversary of his son's death, Brian Rohrbough said, "Nothing changes the fact that Dan's not here, but at least hearing something about what happened to him -- I think that will be helpful."
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