Police: Still searching for evidence of 3rd Columbine gunman
May 5, 1999
LITTLETON, Colorado (CNN) -- Investigators are looking into witness reports of a third gunman involved in the shootings at Columbine High School and also expect to make "one or more" arrests of people involved in planning the attack, according to reports published Wednesday.
Some students who were at the school during the April 20 attack have identified a potential third suspect, Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone was quoted as saying in Wednesday's Denver Post. He did not identify that person.
"There was quite possibly one other person shooting," Stone said. "We do have witness statements."
Stone's remarks about a possible third attacker marked the latest turn in a case that has seen authorities appear at odds with each other over developments in the investigation.
Department spokesman Steve Davis told CNN the possibility of a third suspect surfaced early in the investigation and still "hasn't been ruled out by any means."
"Investigators are still trying to "prove it or disprove it," Davis said. "Even on the first day, a lot of students said that. They said he had a white shirt."
Police began to doubt there was a third gunman when they found suspects Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, dead of apparent suicides -- one of them in a black trenchcoat, and the other having removed his black trenchcoat, and wearing a white shirt, Davis said.
"Investigators still don't have any evidence to show a third gunman. The cafeteria videotape shows nothing," Davis said. Investigators are looking for additional evidence to substantiate the witness' claims, he added.
On Saturday, county Prosecutor Dave Thomas said Harris and Klebold apparently acted alone when they stormed the school, killing 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves. At that time, Thomas said it was unlikely that anyone else would be charged with playing a role in the attack itself.
Thomas said Tuesday that the sheriff has not told him of any witness statements from students who named a third gunman.
"John Stone's office is conducting the investigation. Maybe they've come up with something I don't know about," Thomas told the Post.
Stone told the newspaper that the issue of a possible third gunman arose from statements by "students who were witnesses at the scene when this was going down" and who agreed on the third person's identity. Stone said investigators have questioned the person.
He did not say how many students had mentioned the third person.
Stone did say he expects that fingerprint analyses of bullets and bomb materials will show that Harris and Klebold had help in planning the shootings.
"I think the evidence will show there were more than two people involved in this," the sheriff said. He predicted "there will be an arrest made of somebody that had direct knowledge -- one or more."
So far, only one arrest has been made in connection with the attack.
Mark Manes, a former Columbine student and acquaintance of the gunmen, was arrested this week on a charge of providing a handgun to a minor. Investigators say he sold the gunmen a semiautomatic TEC DC-9 handgun that was used in the attack.
A lawyer for Manes, 22, has said his client had no knowledge of plans for the school attack.
After tragic life lesson, Columbine students return to class
Columbine High School Information Center
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