hallway events were compiled after reviewing reports of those students and staff
who were in the hallways when the shootings at Columbine High School began.
The purpose was to identify the chronological movements of the gunmen
throughout the school.
Twenty-six witnesses to significant events, which
occurred in the hallways, particularly the actions of Harris and/or Klebold and
their movements, were identified. Some
of these witnesses observed events from classrooms and others were in the
hallways as the events unfolded. There
were also witnesses who were in the cafeteria when the shootings began; however,
they quickly left the cafeteria and observed events elsewhere. The hallway
critical witnesses are comprised of two teachers, one secretary, one Campus
Supervisor and 22 students.
of those witnesses, Stephanie Munson and Dave Sanders are also victims.
Two suspects were identified as being present in the
hallways of Columbine High School that day.
Of the 25 living witnesses, eight positively
identified Dylan Klebold as the person they saw in the school hallway. Klebold
was seen either in possession of a weapon, shooting a weapon, or was in the area
where gunfire or explosions were heard. Nine
additional witnesses described seeing a suspect who matched Klebold's
Of the same 25 witnesses, five positively identified
Eric Harris as the person they saw in the school hallway.
Harris was seen either in possession of a weapon, shooting a weapon, or
was in the area where gunfire or explosions were heard.
Seven additional witnesses described seeing a suspect who matched the
description of Eric Harris.
of Events Which Occurred In the Hallways
following is a chronological account of what is believed to have occurred in the
hallways of Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, based on statements of
witnesses who were in the hallways and classrooms during the incident as well as
Class was in session for those students who did not
have the first lunch period so there were not many people out and about in the
school. Up to this point, the entire situation had taken place outside and no
one inside the school, other than in the cafeteria, yet realized there was a
A student standing near the library entrance saw
Brian Anderson, injured by glass and shrapnel from the shattered west doors,
stagger south down the hallway in front of the library.
She also saw teacher Patti Nielson run into the library’s main entrance
before she herself decided to run. The
student ran to teacher Dave Sanders who was at the top of the cafeteria stairs.
Sanders told her to get downstairs.
Student witnesses who entered the north main hallway
from adjoining classrooms saw Klebold and Harris standing just inside the
school’s west main level entry doors. Both
suspects, they recalled, were armed with guns. Students reported seeing Klebold
fire a semi-automatic weapon toward the students to the east and south down the
library hallway. Witnesses heard
bullets hitting lockers and hard objects in the hallway as they ran for cover.
West Entrance Door Area
Student Stephanie Munson came out of her physics lab
and was walking down the technology lab hallway to the photo lab in the north main
hallway. She was shot as she ran
through the main lobby and out the double glass doors at the school’s main
A student in the gym hallway observed Klebold and
Harris walking east down the north hallway.
Both were firing weapons to the east.
And both were laughing.
A student who was in the counseling hallway saw
students in the north hallway running east through the lobby. Klebold was
running behind them, but came to an abrupt halt near a bank of phones at the
entrance to the main lobby area.
North Hallway Looking East Toward the Main Entrance
Yet another student, on the telephone with her
mother, glanced up in time to see the sleeve of a black trench coat shooting a
TEC-9 towards the main entrance of the school.
She dropped the phone and hid in a nearby bathroom until she could no
longer hear any activity in the hallway. The
gunmen, she assumed, had turned around and gone back the other way. “Mom,
there’s a shooter in the school. Come
pick me up,” she whispered through the phone to her mother before escaping
through the east doors to the outside. Her mother’s cell phone bill showed this call was made
between 11:23 a.m. and 11:26 a.m. and lasted 3.8 minutes.
Klebold was last seen running west down the north
main hall in the direction of the library.
While Klebold was running towards the library
hallway, teacher Dave Sanders had come up the stairway from the cafeteria to the
south main hall in an effort to direct as many students as possible to safety.
One student ran with him up the stairs and to the right north in the
hallway in front of the library. The
student running alongside Sanders stated that she saw Klebold standing by the
west doors holding his gun with both hands.
He began shooting a “rapid firing black gun” in their direction, and
they both turned around and ran back toward the stairway.
As Sanders was starting to turn the corner from the library hallway, he was mortally wounded. Ballistics cannot positively identify the bullets or the weapon used to shoot Sanders. Evidence indicates that both Klebold and Harris at some point fired their weapons south down the library hallway.
Sanders was able to crawl to the corner of the
Science hallway where a teacher helped him into one of the science classrooms.
A group of students, including two Eagle Scouts, Aaron Hancey and Kevin
Starkey, gathered around him, tending to his injuries and administering first
In the meantime, Harris and Klebold walked up and
down the library hallway, randomly shooting and detonating explosives.
There was no one in this hallway anymore.
Everyone had either ducked into classrooms to hide, barricading
themselves behind locked doors and uprighted tables, or had run out the east
exits of the school and across the street to safety at Leawood Park.
Others escaped to the music room or choir room.
Still others hid in the auditorium.
They may have been in different places but, for the most part, all were
Investigators later scrutinized a 911 call made from
the school’s library. From the
tape, the investigation shows that Harris and Klebold spent almost three minutes
in the library hallway randomly shooting their weapons and lighting and throwing
pipe bombs. They threw two pipe bombs in the hallway and more over the stairway
railing down into the cafeteria.
Investigators believe that at this point, the gunmen
no longer had a definite plan in mind. Their
diversionary bombs secretly placed in the Wadsworth greenbelt were not
successful and did not divert attention away from the school for any measurable
amount of time. The massive propane
bombs placed in the cafeteria did not explode.
The police arrived on scene much sooner than the killers anticipated.
They had been shot at and they were not sure what to do next.
According to the investigation, the murders that took
place in the library were not planned. The
library was never mentioned in any of the plans or earlier writings of the