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Eric David Harris

April 9, 1981 - April 20, 1999

 

After Eric and his friend Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School, killed 12 students and a teacher, and injured 23 people, they shot themselves to death in the school library. I the shooting, Eric used a sawed-off shotgun and a Hi-Point semiautomatic rifle. 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.

In the garage of Eric's house the police found bomb making equipment, and they also confiscated a computer and some written notes. His diary it shows that the crime was well-planned, the diary dates back to April, 1998, and they had already started the planning of the shooting.

After Eric had been identified as one of those responsible for the shooting, his family said they were devasted. They also issued a statement where they called the rampage a senseless tragedy. The family ask the public to pray for everyone touched by the shootings. The statement expresses the family's sympathy for the victims, their families and the Columbine High School community.

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

This is Wayne and Kathy Harris' statement:
We continue to be profoundly saddened by the suffering of so many that has resulted from the acts of our son. We loved our son dearly, and search our souls daily for some glimmer of a reason why he would have done such a horrible thing. What he did was unforgivable and beyond our capacity to understand. The passage of time has yet to lessen the pain.

We are thankful to those who have kept us in their thoughts and prayers.

- Wayne and Kathy Harris





Eric was 18 years old, and was ment to graduate from Columbine High School on May 23, 1999. Friends describe him as smart, kind and computer savvy. They also said that he never was accepted on the school, because he was quite odd and didn't fit in.

Eric and Dylan met eachother in seventh or eight grade at Ken Caryl Middle School. Before that, Eric had moved a lot around in the country with his family, because of his father's job in the military. Eric was forced to start over to make friends often. But when his father retired in 1993, he moved his family back to his native Colorado. When the family lived in N.Y., Eric had started to play baseball. But he was a timid player who wouldn't swing when it was his turn to bat, Terry Condo, his Little League coach in Plattsburgh, N.Y., said. "He was afraid to strike out and let his teammates down. It struck me as him really wantng to fit in".

In Colorado, Wayne, Kathy, Kevin (Eric's big brother) and Eric Harris rented a house a few blocks south of Columbine. The girl next door, Sarah Pollock, used to walk with Eric to school. She told her mother that Eric was "preppy and dork", but oherwise nice and polite.

At age 14, Eric started at his freshman year at Columbine High School together with Dylan. They were good friends with their other classmates, and fit in to 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 at the beginning of his sophomore year, the problems began. Eric felt mistreated at school, especially by a small group of jocks (athletes), and he felt ignored by teachers and administrators. It was in this period of his life that Eric and Dylan started hanging out with a group who's members was united by their differences. This angry and rebellious group would later become known all over the U.S. as the "Trench Coat Mafia". People said they always wore black trenchcoats, therefore the name.

Classmate Ryan Whisenhut could never figure out why Eric liked him when they were freshmen, then wouldn't talk to him when their sophomore year started.
"He just sort of changed", Ryan said. "He gave you this look like he could kill you".

This pattern he would repeat to all his former friends. Except Dylan. And Dylan remained loyal to Eric to the very end.

Eric and Dylan started to work at a local pizza joint, Blackjack Pizza, at the end of their sophomore year. "Eric was nice and talkative and funny and just a cool guy", Sara Arbogast, a co-worker and classmate of Eric and Dylan, said. "He never expressed any hate toward anything, just the normal teen-age angst. A lot of people say they don't like school. I said it all the time."

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. Eric stayed.

Kim and Sara grew closer to Eric. He complained that some jocks were bullying him.

Sara never witnessed any taunting, but she did see classmates give Eric weird looks. She thought it was because of how he dressed. The boy who wore khaki when he started at Blackjack now draped himself in black cargo pants and black T-shirts.

Kim and Sara couldn't understand why their classmates didn't like Eric.
"No one ever gave him a chance", Kim said. "People always looked at me because I would go over and hug him in the morning."

Sara would tease him about a co-worker he briefly dated. He would call Sara "Ohzay BooBoo", a phrase he had gotten from the movie "Ace Ventura -Pet Detective".

When Eric got his senior pictures taken and whined about how stupid he looked, Kim and Sara cooed about how cute he was and helped him choose prints.

When Eric harped that girls wouldn't have anything to do with him, Kim and Sara invited him to hang out with them. Sometimes he went bowling, but many times he refused, telling them he thought he wouldn't fit in.

Eric did join Kim and Sara and their friends' homecoming night of their junior year. They had skipped the school dance for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Denver. When they arrived to pick up Eric, they had to wait 10 minutes until his mother came home.
"He didn't want to leave without her knowing where he was", Kim said. "He didn't want her to worry."

After his junior year, Eric got a second job. He worked with Nate Dykeman at Tortilla Wraps. He wanted to save some money to buy a new computer. Eric's employer raved:
"He was a real nice kid", David Cave said. "He would come in every day with nice t-shirts, khaki shorts, sandals. He was kind of quiet, but everyone got along with him."
Eric provided two references when he applied. One was Susan Klebold, the otehr one was Columbine English teacher Jason Webb, one of his favorite teachers.
He loved Mr. Webb", classmate Jeni LaPlante said. "He even gave Mr. Webb a Christmas present."

Eric and his friends often used to play violent computer games together. Most of them outgrew that hobby, Eric never did. His nickname, Reb, was inspired by a character in one of his favorite computer games, Doom.

 

Family story

Eric's father, Wayne Nelson Harris, was a Colorado native. He was attending Englewood High School, Class of 1966. According to his former classmates, he was a quiet and smart boy. Wayne's father, Walter, worked as a valet at the Brown Palace Hotel. His mother, Thelma, stayed home with Wayne and his older sister, Sandra.

Eric's mother, Katherine Ann Pool, was also a Colorado native. She attended George Washington High School, Class of 1967. Her father, Richard Pool, was retired military, and ran a hardware store on Holly Street in southeast Denver. The Pools still live in the house where Katherine and her two sisters grew up.

Wayne and Katherine had a church wedding at First Presbyterian in Englewood on April 17, 1970.

Three years later, Wayne joined he Air Force and it was off to Okalhoma for pilot training. Wayne and his wife criss-crossed the country, Washington, Kansas, Ohio. Their first child, Kevin, was born in 1978 in Washington. Eric David came along three years later while the family was stationed in Wichita, Kansas.

At his 20-year high school reunion, Wayne Harris wrote that his goal was to "raise to good sons". The highlight og his life, according to the reunion questionnaire, had been the birth of his boys.

Katherine Harris stayed home when Kevin and Eric were young, busying herself with military-wives luncheons, volunteer projects and school functions.

Former friends in military towns describe Eric as a good kid. Smart. And cute, always cute.

By the time Wayne Harris retired from the Air Force, he'd risen to the rank of major and tackled some prestigous assignments as a test pilot and flight instructor. He earned a Meritorious Servic Medal for his work on B-1 bombers.

Then, like many military bases in the early 1990's, Plattsburgh Air Force Base in New York closed. In 1993, after 20 years of military life, Wayne and Katherine returned to Colorado.

Wayne got a job at Flight Safety Services, an Englewood company that makes military flight simulators. Katherine was hired by Everything Goes, an Englewood caterer.

At first they rented an apartment. Then, in May 1996, just as Eric ended hi freshman yeara, they paid $180 000 for a house on cul de sac off Pierce Street, straight south of Columbine.

Wayne and Katherine drilled the value of homework and hard work into the boys. Kevin Hofstra, who hung around Eric mostly in middle school, said Eric and his brother Kevin always had to do homework before they could goof off.

Sport was a big thing in the Harris family. Sunday afternoon football on TV, Wayne coaching Kevin's rec-league basketball team.
"His parents were always 100 percent awesome to me", said Derek Holliday, a 1996 Columbine Graduate who is close to Kevin. "The Harrises are great parents."

The family pet, a tiny dog named Sparky, suffered from seizures. Eric sometimes took off work when Sparky got sick.

At some point in high school, Eric's parents realized their son had problems more serious than they alone could fix. They took him to a psychiatrist, who prescribed Luvox, an antidepressant used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Eric's bedroom was in the basement. His shelves were lined with boxes of old firecrackers and a collection of miniature cars. A poster with one of his favorite musical groups, KMFDM, was taped to the ceiling. Another band Eric liked was Rammstein, a German band. Eric studied German, and used to translate the songs to his friends. KMFDM and Rammstein feature music with brooding and violent lyrics that Eric often copied and sent out to friends through the internet.

 

School

In their senior year, Eric and Dylan went for some pretty cerebral subjects: psychology and creative writing. One theme dominated Eric's homework assignments: guns.

As part of Eric's government and economics class, students marketed a product and made a video of it.
His product was the Trench Coat Mafia Protection Service", classmate Matt Cornwell said. "Dylan was not in the class, but he was in the video. If you paid $5 they would beat someone up for you. If you paid them $10, they would shoot somebody for you."
"There were some pretty crazy products. Some people did Hit Man For Hire. Most of them were funny. This wasn't funny at all. After it was over, everybody was like, 'Whoa, that was weird'".

Once in creative writings class, students were asked to describe themselves as an inanimate object. Eric chose a shotgun and a shell. But Brooks Brown, a classmate and a friend of Eric's, doubts that Eric took the assignment seriously. Although some students in the class adored the teacher, Judy Kelly, they said Eric clearly felt superior to her.

Mrs. Kelly was concerned enough about Eric's papers to talk to his parents at a parent-teacher conference in March. Wayne Harris had justified his son's fascination with weapons by saying he had been in the military and Eric hoped to join the Marines.

But then there was the dream. To psychology teacher Tom Johnson, Eric's dream wasn't much weirder than a lot of others that landed on his desk. If was February. Eric and Dylan was in class together in fifth period, after lunch. They would show up early, sit side-by-side and talk openly with other kids in the small, friendly class. Dream analysis was optional. Students would type up a recent dream and hand it in. No names, no grades. But the class figured out which one was Eric's because it had so many references to "me and Dylan".
"It occured in a mall and the boys were being put upon by someone, and they retaliated", Tom Johnson said.

Guns were involved, and the dream was somewhat violent. But at the time it seemed fairly normal in the surrealistic dream world.
"Whenever there are guns involved, there's anger. But it didn't strike me as being particularly obsessive or compulsive", Johnson said. "You do 100 dreams a day and many of them are in the same ilk."

Johnson had taught Eric freshman government and economics. To him, Eric wasn't much different in his senior year, just more gothic, longer hair and darker clothes. But Eric was still motivated and worried about grades. He had a 99 percent.

After graduating at Columbine, Eric had no spesific plans on what to do. Though he was smart, and could have gotten into a good college, he had thought about joining the military like his father and grandfather, who was a World War II veteran. Eric told friend that he wanted join the Marines to pursue the toughest challenges, to prove himself. But the Marine Corps recruiter told the family that Eric could not be a Marine because he was taking the drug Luvox. He told them that Eric had to be Luvox-free for six months before trying out again for the Marines.

 

Friends

Brooks Brown had been a friend of Eric's for several years when Eric suddenly started to behave weirdly. Eric had blamed Brooks for vandalizing a classmate's house. Someone had toilet-papered tree, set a bush on fire and glued the locks. But Judy Brown, Brooks' mother, knew her son had been home that night. Judy and Randy Brown are the kind of parents who know a lot about their kids' lives. Brooks used to tell his mother everything, and what he didn't tell her, she mamaged to find out. Judy talked to the homeowner whose house had been vandalized and she called deputies and told them Eric was responsible. The deputies said they would talk to Eric's parents. Eric was furious. One day as Brooks was driving by the bus stop near his house, Eric threw a chunk of ice, breaking his windshield. Brooks told his mother, who immediately drove to the bus stop and confronted Eric. She got his backpack and told him she was going to talk to his mother. He grabbed onto her car, screaming, his face turning red. He reminded her of an animal attacking a vehicle at a wild-animal park.
Katherine Harris was in her driveway when Judy Brown pulled up. Judy can still recall the plaid flannel shirt she was wearing. Katherine's eyes were teared up when Judy described Eric's behavior. Later that day, Brooks talked to Katherine, too, telling her that Eric had been slipping out of the house at night, pulling pranks and setting off fireworks. Wayne Harris called the Browns.
"He said his son was afraid of me and that's why he was hanging on the door handle", Judy Brown said. "I said 'Your son's not afraid. Your son is terrifying. Your son is violent.'"
Wayne Harris drove Eric to the Browns to apologize. He waited in the car while Eric went inside.
"He went through this whole spiel, how it was all in fun", Judy Brown said. "I said, 'Eric Harris, you can pull the wool over your dad's eye, but you're not going to pull the wool over my eyes.'"
She told Eric if she ever saw him near her house again she would call the sheriff.
"I said, 'Stay away from my kids.' I just had a feeling about him at this point."

Judy and Randy Brown thought the problems had ended. But in March 1998, Brooks came hom from Columbine one day. He said a friend ahd tipped him about a web-site Eric had made.
"He said 'I can't tell you who it is, Mom, because he's afraid that Eric Harris will harm him'", Judy Brown said.

The friend was Dylan Klebold.

What the Browns read on the Web page terrified them. Eric threatened to kill Brooks, stab meteorologists who had made wrong predictions with broken baseball bats, and take a shotgun to anyone who blocked his path in the hallways.
"I'm the law, if you don't like it, you die. If I don't like you or I don't like what you want me to do, you die. God I can't wait till I can kill you people. Now our only problem is to find the place that will be ground zero."

Randy and Judy had one comfort: Dylan. Dylan was one of the sweetest kids they knew. They figured Dylan would never let Eric get really violent.

In Brooks' senior year, he found himslef in two classes with Eric. The two hadn't talked in more than a year. They decided to patch things up, mostly for Dylan's sake. That way, Eric could go along if Brooks invited Dylan for a smoke. Dylan wouldn't feel torn between his two friends. Brooks shook his family up one night when he announced at the dinner table that he and Eric were friends again. Judy Brown looked at her son in disbelief.
"He said 'He's changed'", she recalled. "I said 'Stay away from him. It's a trick'".
Brooks didn't believe her. In their creative writing class, he even volunteered to read one of Eric's essays.

 

Girls and dating

Eric asked many girls out, but many of them said "no". Brenda Parker said "yes". They met eachother at Southwest Plaza in late January 1998, in Eric's junior year. Eric and Dylan were hanging around there, and they ended up talking about what they were doing that night. Cruising in her 1996 Mustang, Brenda said. That night, Eric drove to Westminster, where Brenda lived. Brenda would turn 23 in three weeks. Eric was 16. Only she didn't know that. When he talked about school, she didn't know he meant Columbine. She thought he meant a community college.
"He acted older", she said. "And I'm immature."
They bowled. They cruised. They went to Bandimere Speedway. She thought he was nice. He bought her Mountain Dews.
"-I didn't even have to ask."
And he told her she was pretty.

Eric taught Brenda (in the picture) how to download Doom and other computer games, and how to use the Internet. Eric liked to visit her Westminster apartment because she lived alone. Sometimes Dylan came along, but he rarely said a word.

Once, Eric called Brenda late and whispered for her to come get him, that he was going to sneak out of the house. Then they drove to Dylan's house and picked him up. The trio drove up to the mountains and drank. They decided to spend the night in her Mustang because they were worried about drinking and driving.
Eric was a little tipsy and we went for a walk and it was really dark. He was holding on to me and he tripped and he took me with him", Brenda said.
She described their brief relationship as a "friendship but more than a friendship". One of the reasons it ended was because Eric was grounded and couldn't get away yo see her much. Brenda thinks the last time she saw Eric was about five months before the shootings. They met at the Macaroni Grill in Westminster.

In early 1999, Brenda came home to find three messages from Eric on her answering machine. He kept calling back because her machne cut him off.
"He said, 'I'm sorry I lied to you. There's something we need to talk about. I'm 17. I'll be 18 in three months.'"
And then he told her it would be great if she wanted more in their relationship. But it was something else that prompted Brenda to call right away. He had left some Rammstein CD's at her house. He told her she could have them because he wouldn't be needing them anymore. She wanted to see if he was all right. And she also wanted to make sure he was clear about their relationship.
"I told him I just wanted to be friends."

On Saturday, April 17, 1999, just days before the shooting, was prom night for Columbine. Eric couldn't find a date for the evening, he asked a few girls, but they turned him down. So he made some plans with a girl he had talked to at Blackjack the night before, Susan DeWitt. She came to his house, and they watched a video, and then Susan went home, and Eric met Dylan and some other friends and their dates to an after-prom party. Everyone he talked to that night said he seemed normal.

 

On the other side of the law

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

January 30, 1998. 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.

"He said, 'I wish I hadn't done it'", Sara Arbogast, a co-worker at Blackjack, said. "He said their parents were really mad at them and they weren't allowed to hang out together for a while because of it."

2 months later, Eric and Dylan appeared before Jefferson County Magistrate John DeVita. They both insisted this was their first crime. Their fathers were there, and backed them up.

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.

Just days before the hearing, Judy Brown, the mother of Brooks Brown, had turned over a transcripf of Eric's Web site. But noone cared about her.
"You all better hide in your (expletive) houses because I'm coming for EVERYONE soon, and I WILL be armed to the (expletive) teeth and I WILL shoot to kill and I WILL (expletive) KILL EVERYTHING!", was some of the stuff that Eric had written on his site. "No I am not crazy, crazy is just a word to me."

The counselor Eric was sentenced to go to, praised Eric in his reports: "Eric is a very bright young man who is likely to succeed in life". Two months after this was written, was April 20th. . .

 

Preparation

When Eric's friend Brenda saw Eric the last time, about five moths before the shootings, she said that he looked "really bummed out".
"At first I thought it was because we were broken up. He kept calling and wanting to see me but I didn't want to because I had a boyfriend at the time", she said. "He just said he was bummed out. I asked about what and he wouldn't tell."
But what Brenda didn't know was that Eric and Dylan had been shopping for guns with Robyn Anderson, a good friend of Dylan's. In December, they bought three guns, a Hi Point 9mm carbine rifle and two shotguns, at a gun show. 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.

Eric asked Mark manes to buy ammo for the semiautomatic pistol, although Eric was old enough to buy it himself. Mark went to Kmart and bought 100 rounds for $25. That night, Eric drowe the few blocks to Mark's house to get the ammo. Thy talked infront of the Manes' house. Mark asked if he planned to go target shooting in the night. Eric told him no, he needed the ammo for the next day.

Tuesday, April 20
Eric and Dylan skipped the classes they had before lunch. Then, at 11.00 am, they finally arrived, dressed to kill. Brooks Brown, who had walked outside for a cigarette, saw Eric and confronted him in the parking lot, telling him he was an idiot for missing an important test that morning. "It doesn't matter anymore", Eric told him. "I like you Brooks. Get out of here."

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

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.

Eirc and Dylan died next to each other.

In his diary, Eric wrote: "My belief is that if I say something, it goes. I am the law. . . . Feel no remorse, no sense of shame." There you have it: the culmination, the end, of modernity".

 

ERIC HARRIS PICTURES

 

Eric's web site on WBS (the original web site was confiscated by the police, this is a mirror site)

AOL Profiles

Eric's Marine Corps application

A suspicious incident report

Eric's autopsy

 

Pictures from his AOL Web site

Book 3 image

Book 3 image close up

Logo

Image

 

Motto image from WBS

 

 

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