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Dylan Bennet Klebold

September 11, 1981 - April 20, 1999

 

After Dylan and his friend Eric Harris had entered Columbine High School and killed 12 students and a teacher and injured 23, they shot themselves to death in the school library. In the shooting, Dylan carried a sawed-off shotgun and a TEC-DC9 assault pistol. They had also hidden several bombs around on the school, but luckilly many of them didn't go off. "It would have been devastating if all of them had gone off'', Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone have said in an interview.

After she shooting, Dylan and Eric's families issued separate statements, apologizing to the Littleton community for the pain caused by the two teenagers. "We cannot begin to convey our overwhelming sense of sorrow for everyone affected by this tragedy", said Dylan's family. "Like the rest of the country, we are struggling to understand why this happened". Both families were well regarded in the community.

April 14, 2000. As the one-year anniversary of the shooting approaches, the family of both gunmen have issued separate statements.

This is Tom and Sue Kelbold's statement:
"Nearly a year has passed since tragedy changed the Columbine community forever. A day that began innocently ended catastrophically. The healing process has moved slowly as we all attempt to cope, not only with our own despair, but also with the distractions and intrusions that result from world attention.

"There are no words to convey how sorry we are for the pain that has been brought upon the community as a result of our son's actions. The pain of others compounds our own as we struggle to live a life without the son we cherished. In the reality of the Columbine tragedy and its aftermath, we look with the rest of the world to understand how such a thing could happen.

"We are convinced that the only way to truly honor all of the victims of this and other related tragedies is to move clearly and methodically toward an understanding of why they occur, so that we may try to prevent this kind of madness from ever happening again. It is our intention to work for this end, believing that answers are probably within reach, but that they will not be simple. We envision a time when circumstances will allow us to join with those who share our desire to understand. In the meantime, we again express our profund condolences to those whose lives have been so tragically altered. We look forward to a day when all of our pain is replaced by peace and acceptance.

"Finally, we wish to thank those who have sent their kind thoughts, prayers and expressions of support to our family. We are constantly surprised and heartened by the gestures of understanding and compassion that have been extended to us. The support has been both humbling and inspiring, and we are truly indebted to those who have offered it."

- the Klebold family

Read a police interview with Dylan's parents






Dylan was 17 years old, and was ment to graduate from Columbine High School on May 23, 1999.

Dylan was said to be shy, smart, but an unrepentant slacker, and computer savvy, and he enjoyed video games. Friends also said he was kind, but that he never got accepted at school because he was quite odd, and didn't fit in.

"He played football and stuff with us every day," former classmate Jake Cram said. "He loved baseball and he played it a lot. He was a little bit clumsy." (Maybe because of his height, he was 6 feet 3)

When Dylan was in ninth grade, he started getting into computer games. He, Eric and some other friends could play for hours, together or alone, connected by modems. They made fun of teachers and students who was computer illiterate and rolled their eyes of classmates' stupid questions. When Dylan wanted to put a nasty note in someones locker, he hacked into the school's computer system to learn the combination.

Dylan drove and older BMW. It was already so beat up that when a classmate bumped into it with her car she told her it was no big deal.

 

Family history

Dylan's parents, Sue and Tom Klebold, both grew up in Ohio, but their childhoods were hardly similar.

Susan Frances Yassenhoff lived in the well-to-do suburb of Bexley outside Columbus. The name Yassenhoff means something in Columbus. Her grandfather, Leo Yassenhoff, was a prominent developer and philanthropist who left his $13 million estate to charity. The Jewish community center in Columbus is named after him. Sue's father, Milton, was Jewish, her mother, Charlene was not. Sue attended Temple Israel High School. After that, Sue studied art and math at Ohio State University.

Thomas Ernest Klebold was born in the Toledo area. His mother died when he was 6, his father when he was 12. His half brother, Donald, who was 18 years older, raised him. Tom attended a small college in Springfield, Ohio, for two years, before transferring to Ohio State, where he majored in sculpting and fell in love with Sue.

They married in 1971. Tom was the thinker, the more reserved partner. Sue was artsy and extroverted and sensitive. The Klebolds moved to Milwaukee where Tom got a graduate degree in geophysics from Marquette University. The oil-and-gas industry took them to Oklahoma City in the mid-1970's, and then to Colorado.

Their oldest son, Byron, was born in 1978. Dylan was born three years later, on September 9, 1981, in Lakewood.

In the early 1980's, the Klebolds moved from Lakewood to a neighbourhood just southeast of Columbine. They became good friends with neighbours Randy and Vicki DeHoff.
"Their kids weren't even allowed toy gund when they were growing up", Randy DeHoff said. "Dylan did not learn to hate in that home."

Sue and Vicki eventually worked toghether at Arapahoe Community College. Sue's job was to make sure disabled students had access.

Tom, predicting the fallout in the oil-and-gas business, started looking for another career. He started a mortagage-management business. One of the rental properties he and Sue own is in Denver -on Columbine street.

In 1989, Tom and Sue paid $250 000 for a stunning 3,528-square-foot home tucked between two red rock outcroppings on Cougar Roa in Deer Creek Canyon. It had a swimming pool, a tennis court and a basketball court. But Dylan, sensitive like his mother, worried the cougars would eat his cats, Lucy and Rocky. Dylans's friends loved to visit them because there was so much to do and his parents were so cool.
"His parents were so nice to me", Nate Dykeman, an old friend, said. "Either they'd get doughnuts for me, or they'd be making crepes or omelets."

The Klebolds had to have a lot of food for Dylan, whose appetite was legendary. He ate breakfast cereal from a mixing bowl. And it was nothing for him to eat a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken by himself.

His older brother, Byron, went to a private high school before transferring to Columbine when he was a senior and graduating in 1997. When Byron moved into an apartment in 1998, Dylan inherited his bedroom. He repainted the room, two black facing walls and two white facing walls with red shutters on the windows. He stocked a miniature refrigerator that had been a 17th birthday gift from the family with candy bars and Dr Pepper. Dylan hung posters of Roger Clemens and Lou Gehrig on the walls, along with music groups and models. One poster described how to make coctails.
"And there was your typical teenage pile of dirty laundry", Nate Dykeman said.

Four or five years ago, the family attended St. Philip Lutheran Church in Jefferson County. The pastor, Don Marxhausen, is not your traditional man of the cloth. He spent much of his ministry working with ghetto drug addicts in New York, and swears on occation. Don Marxhausen said the Klebolds were looking for a sense of community, but Tom had "a bunch off issues" with organized religion and the family quit coming after about six months. The Klebolds had both Christian and Jewish background, and celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas.

Tom and Sue Klebold had strickt limits on how much money they spent on their kids.
"These kids were not spoiled", friend Judy Brown said. "Tom and Sue wanted them to know the value of money and work."
One Christmas, Sue fretted because Dylan wanted a collectible baseball card that cost as much as she had planned to spend on all his gifts. She worried about only having one gift under the three. But that's what Dylan wanted, and that's all he got.

As a senior, Dylan was out of class by 1 p.m. He often came straight home and spent time with his dad, who worked out of the house. Tom treasured that time. He thought he and Dylan had grown extremely close.

 

School

Before attending Columbine High School, Dylan went to Ken Caryl Middle School. I was here he first met Eric Harris. Before Ken Caryl, Dylan had been in a gifted program at Governor's Ranch Elementary School from third through sixth grades. Even though he was surrounded by smart kids, Dylan wowed them with his math skills. His parents, Tom and Sue, hosted the graduation party for the gifted students.

While Dylan grew older, he stopped caring about his grades, and even though he was said to be extremely smart, he was a C-student.

In their senior year at Columbine, Eric and Dylan went for some pretty cerebral subjects: psychology and creative writing.

In the creative writings class, Dylan often chose violent themes, and his teacher, Jude Kelly, was so concerned that she talked about his violent papers to his parents at a parent-teacher conference in March.

After graduating at Columbine, Dylan was ment to attend the University of Arizona to study computer science.

 

Friends

At age 14, Dylan started at his freshman year at Columbine High School together with Eric. They were good friends with their classmates, and fit very well into the environment. "That's back when they were just like everybody else", said classmate Katie Rutledge. "They dressed normal, I'd even say preppie."

But in his sophomore year, Eric and Dylan started hanging out with the group later known all over the U.S. as the "Trench Coat Mafia". They were angry and rebellious, and united by their differences. People said they always wore black trenchcoats, therefore the name.

Dylan became an "outsider".

But Sarah Slater, a member of the same theater group as Dylan, e-mailed with him for a while, and she didn't at all think he was that much more different than anyone else.
"I liked him", she said. "He was really shy, although he wasn't all that shy with me."

When they came home from the theater at nights, they spent hours communicating by e-mail.
"We talked about a lot of stuff, mostly about alcoholic beverages and how he hated school."

Sarah understood that hatred. With her baggy pants and spiked jewelry, she didn't fit in until she started dressing more conventionally at the end of her freshman year. She worked hard to change her negative attitude, and discovered when she did that she enjoyed Columbine.

Dylan never did.

"Just when I talked to him, I don't know, it was like he would end the conversation with, '(expletive) the school'", Sarah said. "If I asked how he was doing, he'd say, 'I wish I didn't go here', or 'I wish I was somewhere else.'"

Sometimes during their online chats, Dylan would say he had been drinking. Sometimes Sarah could tell by his typing mistakes. Sometimes he would invite her to go out drinking.
But other classmates doesn't remember Dylan drinking a lot. Maybe he was just trying to impress Sarah, trying to come across as a party animal, trying to make her think he was living up to his nickname, VoDkA.

After Sarah quited theater, she lost touch with Dylan.

 

Girls and dating

Dylan rarely dated. He liked girls, but would never approach them because he was too shy and was waiting for them to approach him.

Robyn Anderson had a crush on Dylan and they went out a couple of times, but Dylan never considered her a girlfriend. They had been friends since ninth grade, and they both studied German. Dylan was always polite to her and treated her with respect, Robyn said.

On Saturday, April 17, 1999, just days before the shooting, was prom night for Columbine. Robyn and Dylan went together, friends of them said they hold eachother's hands, and that Dylan looked like he was in a really good mood. He even talked about everyone staying in touch after he went for college in three months. After the prom, Dylan, Robyn and some other friends met up with Eric at an after-prom party.

 

Blackjack

Dylan and Eric started to work at a local pizza joint, Blackjack Pizza, at the end of their sophomore year. While Eric was involved in flour fights in the kitchen, Dylan watched.
"I don't think Dylan fit into us very well. He was to quiet", Kim Carlin, a co-worker at Blackjack and classmate of Eric and Dylan, said. "We would get into massive food fights or water fights. He wasn't into playing with us. If you would ask him something embarrassing he'd turn red and give you this little grin."

On slow nights, the crew would sit behind the building and set off firecrackers or homemade explosives.
"We used to make dry-ice balls behind the store", Kim Carlin, another co-worker at Balckjack and classmate, said. "You just put dry ice and hot water in a 2 liter bottle. It just shoots up. We stole a cone one time when they did road construction in the parking lot. We would see how high we coul shot the cone."

One night Dylan brought a pipe bomb to work. The manager wrote him up and told him to never do that again. Shortly afterward, Dylan quit Blackjack.

 

Anger

When you're entering your high school and start to shoot, then you obviously have to be angry about something. But classmates describe Dylan as "the least violent person they've ever known". If Dylan had any anger, he never showed it in a violent way.

He expressed his feelings in a more controled way, and early in his sophomore year he joined a theater group. Dylan spent a dozen hours a week in rehearsal. He found his role behind the spotlight, spending lon nights hunkered in a cramped room at the back of the school's auditorium. He usually ran sound, a job that appealed to his love of anything technical. Chris Logan, who was heavily into theater, ran around with Dylan. Their circle of girls and guys bowled together and went to movies.

 

Criminal history

While in their junior year, Eric and Dylan bumbled as thieves.

January 30, 1998. Eric and Dylan were sitting in Eric's gray Honda Prelude, they were listening to a new CD. Bored, they set off some fireworks and broke some bottles. But they were still bored.

Afterwards, the police got different versions of what happened next:

From Dylan: "Almost at the same time, we both got the idea of breaking into this white van."

"Dylan suggested we should steal some of the objects in the white van. At first I was very uncomfortable and questioning with the thought", was Eric's version of the events.

They hauled a briefcase, electrical gear and sunglassesout of the van, then took off in Eric's car. They parked off Deer Creek Canyon Road to check out the loot. Minutes later, a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy confronted them. Both insisted they found the property stacked by the roadside. Yeah, right, thought the deputy. They were arrested, charged with theft, criminal mischief and criminal trespassing and then released to their none-too-happy parents.

2 months later, Eric and Dylan appeared before Jefferson County Magistrate John DeVita. Both of their fathers were there. Dylan told the judge he was a C student, which got him a stern lecture from the judge.
"I bet you're an A student if you put your brain power to paperwork."
"I don't know, sir", Dylan mumbled. The rest of his response was unintelligible.
"When the hell are you going to find out? You got one year of school left. "When you going to get with the program?" the judge barked.
More mumbling from Dylan.

Both of the boys insisted this was their first crime. Their fathers backed them up.
Tom Klebold told the judge: "This has been a rather traumatic experience, and I think it's probably good, a good experience, that they got caught the first time."
"He'd tell you if there were anymore?", the judge responded.
"Yes, he would actually", Tom Klebold said.

Eric and Dylan were sent to a diversion program, a mix of community service and counseling. When John DeVita chose the sentence, he had no idea that Jefferson County detectives had just received information about other criminal activities by Eric and dylan. No one had bothered to forward him the report, which contained, among other things, information of that they were sneaking out at night and setting off homemade bombs. The detectives knew this because of Eric bragged about it in a web site filled with his viperous writings.

The counselor Dylan was forced to go to, was given good prognosis' in his reports: "Dylan is intelligent enough to make any dream a reality but he needs to understand hard work is a part of it". Two months after this was written was April 20th. . .

 

Preparation

In December, Eric and Dylan bought three guns, a Hi Point 9mm carbine rifle and two shotguns, at a gun show. They had Robyn Anderson, a friend of Dylan's, with them. Robyn already had turned 18, and Dylan and Eric apparently thought they needed her along. Actually, at 17, either of them could have bought the guns from an unlicensed dealer at a gun show. Robyn has said she figured Dylan and Eric wanted the guns for hunting, or maybe they were collectors. She wasn't sure. To her, these were just cool guys she had fun with. They gave her cash. She showed the seller her driver's license. They got their guns. About a month later, Eric and Dylan went to another gun show. They met up with one of their Blackjack buddies, Philip Duran, and his friend, Mark Manes. Philip knew Eric and Dylan were scouting another gun. He put them in touch with Mark, who owned a TEC-DC9 semiautomatic pistol. They paid Mark $500 for the gun.

Monday, April 19
Eric and Dylan ditched their second to last class of the day with two other classmates, Brooks Brown and Becca Heins. They decided to go to McDonald's for lunch, but first Eric and Dylan had to drop by Eric's house. They told Brooks and Becca that they would meet them at McDonald's.

Later that day, neighbours heard glass breaking and explosive sounds from Wayne and Kathy Harris' garage.

Tuesday, April 20
Eric and Dylan skipped the classes they had before lunch. Then, at 11.00 am, they finally arrived, dressed to kill.

A few minutes later, they screamed "Death to the jocks" as they gunned down their classmates at ramdom.

When an old friend of Dylan's and a student at Columbine, Nate Dykeman, learned about the shootings, he called Dylan's parents and asked if Dylan were there. "No, Nate, he's at school", Tom Klebold answered.
Nate told him about the shooting, the trench coats, and about Dylan not coming to school. Tom Klebold checked Dylan's closet for his trench coat. It was not there.

According to Eric's diary, the plan had been to kill at least 500 people at the school. Luckilly, many of the homemade bombs thay had placed in the cafeteria never exploded, and their weapons jammed repeatedly.

In the end, Eric and Dylan returned to the library, where 10 of the fatally injured victims were. Art teacher Patti Nielson, hiding in a cabinet, heard voices in unison count: "One! Two1 Three!" Then she heard a loud boom.

Eric and Dylan died next to each other.

DYLAN KLEBOLD PICTURES

 

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