Hundreds interviewed in school massacre probe
Security video may hold clues
April 23, 1999
LITTLETON, Colorado (CNN) -- Investigators trying to determine if other people were involved in the Columbine High School massacre or in efforts to booby-trap the school have interviewed hundreds of people and may be helped by video from a security camera, authorities said Friday.
Meanwhile, President Clinton announced $1.5 million in federal aid to help victims of the gun and bomb rampage that left 15 people dead, including the two teen-age killers.
Authorities have found no physical evidence against anyone but gunmen Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, but say the elaborate nature of Tuesday's attack in the Denver suburb of Littleton suggested the work of several people.
The Colorado Attorney General said his office was involved in the search of a home elsewhere in the Denver area in connection with Tuesday's attack. There was no information on whether anything was seized from the home in Arvada, Colorado.
Guns changed hands
As some investigators conducted interviews with students and others who might have useful information, police also returned to Columbine to continue scouring for hidden explosives.
On Thursday, the discovery of a bomb made from a 20-pound propane tank heightened suspicions that Harris and Klebold intended to destroy the school, and could have had help in assembling their arsenal.
The device, with nails and other shrapnel attached, was removed without incident.
Aside from the large bomb, searches have turned up more than 30 homemade explosives, including pipe bombs and crude hand grenades. More may remain hidden, authorities said.
Two sawed-off shotguns, one semi-automatic rifle and one semi-automatic handgun also have been found.
The rifle and handgun have been traced to their original owner but Jefferson County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Davis said Friday there was no link between the original owner and the high school gunmen.
"We don't know how many times those guns changed hands before getting to our suspects," he said.
Investigators were still trying to trace the shotguns.
Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, who toured the school on Friday, left saying investigators are all but certain the two gunmen had help.
"There are backpacks with bombs in there everywhere," Owens said. "The officers in there are convinced there had to be more people involved. There's just too much stuff in there."
Video could be 'crucial'
Time-lapse security cameras mounted throughout the school do not run continuously, though they record about a week at a time, said Lt. John Kiekbusch of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.
A surveillance video from Saturday night, when there was an after-prom party at the school, "has the potential to be extremely important," he said.
"We don't know how much (of) that time period might turn out to be on those videos, but it certainly has the potential to be very, very crucial evidence in terms of movement of people throughout that school," Kiekbusch said.
"Ideally," he said, "they would show the movement and also the actual placement perhaps of some of the explosive devices, prior to the incident. If that's the case we have got just very important evidence."
The $1.5 million in federal aid announced by Clinton would help victims pay for funerals, medical expenses, lost wages and counseling.
The money is an initial payment to help the students, teachers and parents in Littleton on "their long journey toward recovery. And we will do more," the president said.
"The images from Colorado have become painfully familiar: the terrified children, the racing ambulances, the grieving families," Clinton said outside the White House.
"Still, it is important to remember that the vast majority of schools are safe," he added.
The president also reminded school officials across the country of federal programs to help prevent violent eruptions of rage. Among them:
Gore to attend Sunday memorial
Next to Columbine High School, in Clement Park, a Sunday afternoon memorial service is planned for the one teacher and 12 students gunned down before their two murderous classmates turned their guns on themselves.
Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, planned to attend. Clinton was staying in Washington for the three-day NATO summit which began on Friday.
With Columbine closed indefinitely, Principal Frank DeAngelis said students will resume classes at a building off campus next week. He told CNN that, despite the tragedy, students want to return to the building someday.
"They said, 'Mr. DeAngelis, don't let them take our building from us, no one is going to chase us out, we have too much tradition there, too much pride, it's a great high school, we want back in,'" the principal said.
The principal said there was little that could have been done to prevent the attacks. "One (law enforcement agent) made the comment that the National Guard could ... not (have) prevented this," he said.
Jefferson County District Attorney Dave Thomas, admitting he was as confused as the rest of the world on how such violence can occur -- and how to prevent it -- made an impassioned appeal to the news media "to join with this community and with the people in this country ... to help solve the problem of human violence against other human beings."
"I'm an ordinary man," he said. " I don't have the answers."
Newly found bomb adds weight to theory of accomplicesDONATIONS FOR COLUMBINE FAMILIES:
Swedish Hospital (patient conditions)
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