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Who's buying the video?

By Kieran Nicholson and Sheba R. Wheeler
Denver Post Staff Writers

April 27 - It was mostly media types who bought the Columbine tapes Wednesday afternoon, but several residents and at least one student stood in line to buy the $25 video.

Jefferson County officials have ordered 500 tapes and had 80 on hand Wednesday. Forty sold in the first hour after going on sale at 3 p.m. An additional 50 faxed requests - and twice as many phone calls - poured in from around the country, County Administrator Ron Holliday said. The county set up a special phone number, 303-271-8981, for the public to order tapes by mail.

Randy and Judy Brown, who plan to launch a petition drive June 5 to recall Sheriff John Stone, were among those who bought a tape. The Browns are critical of Stone's handling of the Columbine response and investigation, and of the sheriff department's investigation into threats that killer Eric Harris made against their son, Brooks, before the massacre.

"It's macabre beyond description," Randy Brown said after viewing the tape. "I feel sorry for all the families that this was released. Once again, the fire department has taken something that is inconceivable that anyone would get any value from and shown it to the whole world. There's no benefit in seeing this."

Brown said the video backs up complaints about slow police response to Columbine. He said there are images where officers can be seen standing outside the library doors waiting to get in hours after the killers had committed suicide.

"If you want to know how bad the police response was, go rent "Gone With the Wind,' and watch the entire thing," Brown said. "It took the police longer than that movie to get (teacher Dave Sanders), who was bleeding to death, out of that classroom. That's too long and unacceptable."

The tapes were distributed at the Jefferson County Administration Building in Golden. Brad Jensen, 27, who attended Columbine in 1987 and 1988 and still lives in the area, said he intended to watch the tape as soon as he got home. "I would just like to see what happened," said Jensen, wearing a T-shirt that said "S.O.D. - Stormtroopers of Death. I'm not a racist. I hate everyone."

"I'm going to add it to my video collection," he said. Columbine senior Ben Grams said his curiosity was piqued because his friend's father works for the Littleton Fire Department and had a hand in producing the video. "I want a little more knowledge of what went on inside," he said. Another Columbine-area resident, Robin Brandfas, a 29-year-old homemaker, brought her two young children and a neighbor's child to stand in line and wait for the tapes to go on sale.

"Just to have one," Brandfas said. "I feel really bad for the parents and what happened."

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