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Wounded student: Shooter 'an all-right guy'

Makai Hall
Makai Hall talks to reporters before he is discharged from the hospital where he was treated for a shotgun blast to the knee

Referring to Klebold: "...I thought he was an all-right guy ..."
(269 K/25 sec. audio)

"...I'm not going to let it bring me down ..."
(569 K/53 sec. audio)

"...I remember a teacher running into the library, screaming that some kids had guns ..."
(439 K/40 sec. audio)

April 23, 1999
Web posted at: 7:28 p.m. EDT (2328 GMT)

In this story:

Reluctant hero

Emotional healing with others

Dramatic second-story escape

Bullets to the brain


DENVER (CNN) -- A Columbine High School shooting victim who was discharged from the hospital on Friday described one of the shooters as "an all-right guy" and very different from the person described in the media.

Sitting in a wheelchair because of a bullet wound to his knee, Makai Hall, 19, said he attended French class last year with Dylan Klebold, one of the two students who went on a rampage with guns and bombs that left 15 dead, including the two killers.

"I thought (Klebold) was an all-right guy ... decent, real smart. He wasn't the kind of person he's being portrayed as," Hall said at a news conference.

"He was a nice guy, never treated me bad," Hall said of the former classmate he got to know while working on school projects together.

But he also said that he never made eye contract with Klebold during the shooting rampage.

Reluctant hero

See more scenes from the shooting

Audio and Images

Interactive Map: Recent school shootings in the U.S.

Hall, a junior, said he was in the library Tuesday when a teacher burst in "screaming that some kids had guns."

He said everyone got under their desks and five minutes later two people came in and started shooting.

"They fired a number of shots and one hit me," Hall said. "I received a shotgun blast to the leg, to the knee. They (doctors) counted 10 bullet holes."

When he was asked about reports that he was a hero who saved lives, Hall reluctantly described what he did.

"They threw a homemade explosive between a couple of us that were injured. I threw it away from us," Hall said simply.

The teen-ager explained why he was not willing to describe everything he saw and heard during the shooting rampage.

"People have asked me not to discuss some things. And some things I don't feel people should know," he said, acknowledging it was a "great tragedy."

Emotional healing with others

The tragedy is not going to "bring me down," Hall said.

"I want people to know I'm going to get better. I'm going to use it to motivate myself," Hall said, adding that it was easy to think of all the bad things, but he was focusing on the people who "came together to help us out."

As part of his own emotional healing process, he said he wanted to see other people who survived the attack and to attend some of the memorial services for those who didn't.

Dramatic second-story escape

Patrick Ireland is pulled to safety by SWAT team members

Patrick Ireland's doctors describe his injuries and condition

A doctor describes Ireland's injuries
(392 K/36 sec. audio)

Ireland's neurosurgeon describes the damage to his speaking ability
(349 K/35 sec. audio)

Hall also refused to talk about Patrick Ireland, another boy who was wounded during the shooting spree in the school library. His daring escape out a broken second-story window into the arms of SWAT team members standing atop an armored vehicle was captured on videotape.

Ireland's parents also attended the news conference at St. Anthony Central Library, but did not speak. A hospital spokeswoman read their statement thanking everyone for their well wishes and prayers for their son.

"It is our profound hope, that despite the darkness of this tragedy, we can somehow find our way back to the light of caring for, loving and respecting all people," the spokeswoman read.

Earlier Friday, John and Kathy Ireland for the first time viewed the videotape of the bloody teen-ager crawling out of the school window. They confirmed it was their son.

Bullets to the brain

Doctors said Ireland, a 17-year-old junior, had taken two bullets to the head. One stopped at the skull, the other bullet traveled from the boy's forehead through his brain to the back of his head. A third injury to his head may have been caused by a bullet fragment or shrapnel.

Dr. Adair Prall, who performed brain surgery on Ireland, said the boy has lost his strength and motor skills on his right side and is suffering from impaired speech. Ireland is undergoing physical therapy.

Prall predicted his patient may always have some weakness on his right side but the doctor was hopeful that Ireland's verbal skills will be restored over the next few weeks or months.

Currently, Ireland is having trouble communicating what he wants to say and understanding words, the doctor said, describing the injury as similar to a stroke. Prall also said Ireland has exhibited some frustration and has cried out, possibly from reliving the shooting.

Prall said he did not see the videotape of Ireland, which showed him with one arm dangling uselessly just before he threw himself out the school window, but the doctor said it must have taken a heroic effort for him to escape despite his wounds.

Are schools safe?

Newly found bomb adds weight to theory of accomplices
April 22, 1999
Poll: More parents worried about school safety
April 22, 1999
Violence steals youth
April 21, 1999

The Healing Fund
Mile High United Way

Swedish Hospital (patient conditions)
Littleton Adventist Hospital - Important Phone Numbers
Denver Health Medical Center - Home
APA HelpCenter
Violence Policy Center
  • Fact Sheet on Littleton, Colorado School Shooting
Columbine High School
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
Jefferson County Public Schools
  • Breaking News
Denver Rocky Mountain News:
KMGH Denver
  • KMGH Denver: Breaking News
School violence
CDC: Facts About Violence Among Youth and Violence in Schools
Violence and Discipline Problems in U.S. Public Schools: 1996-97 / 98-030
The Denver Post Online
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