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Parents of Harris, Klebold to be sued in Columbine shootings

Kirkland family
The medical bills for Kirklin, center, are beyond his parents' income  

Victims' families reportedly wrangle over aid funds

May 26, 1999
Web posted at: 11:17 p.m. EDT (0317 GMT)

DENVER (CNN) -- A lawsuit is being prepared against the parents of the two teen-agers who went on a rampage April 20 that left 15 people dead and more than 20 wounded at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

Meanwhile, some of the families of the victims are reportedly wrangling over how money donated to help them heal should be divided.

The family of Isaiah Shoels, one of the students shot to death, will sue the parents of Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, for $250 million for failing to supervise their children, attorney Geoffrey Fieger said on Wednesday.

Fieger, who has also represented assisted suicide crusader Jack Kevorkian, said Shoels was singled out during the massacre because he was African-American.

"Our schools must never again become a shooting gallery. As a result of this suit we will gain subpoena power to assist in the continuing investigations," Fieger said in a statement released from his Michigan office.

Isaiah Shoels
Isaiah Shoels was killed in the Columbine school shooting  

The statement did not say when the lawsuit would be filed.

Shoels, 18, a senior at Columbine, was among 12 students and one teacher who were killed during the shooting spree by Harris and Klebold.

Harris and Klebold also died at the school, apparently from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

Attorneys for the Klebold and Harris families were not immediately available to comment on the planned lawsuit.

"Justice demands a full accounting of everyone who significantly contributed to this massacre. Klebold and Harris could not have developed and executed their violence without the negligence of the parents and possibly others," Fieger's statement said.

'Healing Fund' tops $2 million

In Denver, the Mile High United Way established a "Healing Fund" to manage the money donated to help the Columbine victims.

According to published reports, some of the victims' families are quarreling over how the fund, which now surpasses $2 million, should be distributed.

Daniel Rohrbough, 15, died during the massacre. His father Brian Rohrbough is quoted as saying in the Denver Rocky Mountain News that the only fair way is to divide the money equally among the 34 families whose members were slain or injured in the assault.

But others think the money should be doled out according to need. They point to wounded survivor Lance Kirklin, 16, whose astronomical medical bills far exceed his family's modest income.

One member of the fund's advisory board said that anger is part of the grieving process and so it is understandable that some of that anger is directed at those in charge of the money. She said the board has accepted that and is trying to use what the families are saying in order to make the best decision possible about distributing the funds.

CNN affiliate KCNC and Reuters contributed to this report.

After memorable ceremony, Columbine students embark on life
May 23, 1999
Columbine seniors graduate in shadow of sorrow
May 22, 1999
Clinton praises Columbine students for keeping faith
May 20, 1999
Bodies remain inside school as police check for bombs
April 21, 1999
Clinton unveils national guide on school violence
August 27, 1998

Columbine High School Information Center
Fact Sheet on Littleton, Colorado School Shooting
Columbine High School
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 Colorado State Board of Education
Jefferson County Public Schools
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