Remembering the 13 victims of the Columbine High School shooting 20 years on
The Columbine High School massacre happened 20 years ago and left 13 dead, including 12 students and one teacher - becoming one of the deadliest mass shootings in US history.
The shooting took place on April 20, 1999, in Littleton, Colorado and became one of the worst school shootings of all time. Furthermore, it also became a model for a new form of violence in American schools.
Since the tragedy, at least six mass shootings and 40 active shooter incidents occurred at elementary, middle or high schools across the United States. According to the FBI, a mass shooting is an event in which four or more victims are killed by gunfire.
The perpetrator in nearly half of these 46 school shootings had used Columbine as a script to carry out their attacks.
Today, we remember the 13 unsuspecting victims of the brutal attack, which set a damning precedent for many more shootings in the years that followed.
Cassie became known to be the girl in the library who was asked by shooter Eric Harris whether she believed in God, to which she responded "Yes," before she was shot to death. It is widely believed that Cassie was a martyr who saved her friend Valeen Schnurr from the wrath of the shooters.
Steve Curnow was very close to his parents Susan and Robert and dreamed of being a Navy top gun pilot someday. He worked part-time as a referee out of his love for soccer while his father coached the soccer team, Blue Devils of the Colorado Rush, that he was a part of.
When the shooting began, Steve was hiding under one of the computer tables in the library, near Kacey Ruegsegger, who survived the ordeal. Shooter Eric Harris used his sawed-off shotgun to shoot Steve in the neck. Steve became the youngest victim of the Columbine massacre at just 14 years of age.
A former wrestler, Corey DePooter loved to golf, hunt, fish, and hike. In order to save up to buy a fishing boat with a friend, he had recently taken up a maintenance job at a golf club. His other passions included wrestling, in-line skating.
Corey sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the neck, chest, and left arm and was found lifeless in the library.
Kelly was very excited about learning to drive and wanted to save enough money to purchase a Mustang or a Corvette, so she took up a job at a daycare center. She dreamt of being able to drive so that she could go on road trips after returning to Phoenix, her hometown. Kelly aspired to be a published author someday and often competed in writing contests. Her favorite kind of books was about vampires.
Her body was found next to her friend, Lauren Townsend.
A sturdy 210-pound Sophomore, Matt Kechter played on both offensive as well as defensive lines of the football team. Besides being a weight lifter and a straight-As student, he's remembered for his ready laugh. Matthew was shot and killed when he was studying at the library with his friends Craig Scott (Rachel Scott's brother) and Isaiah Shoels.
Daniel Mauser was a genius who excelled in math and science as a Sophomore. His last report card showed perfect A's across all subjects. While he attended Ken Caryl Middle School for some time - the same school the shooters went to - there's no record of them being acquainted with each other.
Tom Mauser, his father, remembers his son as a smart young man who wasn't ashamed to hug his parents in front of others, neither was he afraid of challenges.
Daniel was fatally shot in the face by Eric Harris while he was hiding under one of the tables in the library.
Daniel Rohrbough was looking forward to getting his driver's permit soon when he lost his life. Aside from enjoying electronics and video games, he helped his father with his stereo business every day after school. During the summer, he worked on his grandfather's farm harvesting wheat - a tradition he followed since was three. The money he earned, he used to buy presents for his entire family.
There was controversy surrounding Daniel's death after Arapahoe County Deputy James Taylor told his parents that Danny may have been killed by "friendly fire" from the bullet of a Denver SWAT team member. However, the claims were later proven to be false.
William "Dave" Sanders taught computers and business at Columbine for over 25 years before he was killed, leaving behind a wife, four children, and five grandchildren.
Also serving as the coach of the girls' basketball and softball teams, his students remembered him as a teacher, a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration. As soon as the gunmen opened fire outside the school, he ran to the cafeteria and sounded the alarm. Assisted by two janitors, he was able to get more than 100 students out of the line of fire and save their lives that fateful day.
The cafeteria was nearly empty by the time the gunmen made their way there, thanks to his sacrifice.
Rachel Scott was a vibrant individual who loved photography. According to her father, Darrell, she was "made for the camera" and was an aspiring writer and actress.
Her friend Nick Baumgart had inspired her to quit smoking before he took her to prom. It is quite possible she would've been at the "Smoker's Pit" during lunch instead of in the line of fire if she hadn't quit smoking. Instead, she was eating lunch on the grassy knoll with a friend when the shooters opened fire at them.
Isaiah dreamed of becoming a music executive and comedian. Despite being born with a heart defect, he was a fighter who overcame his disability and made his school proud playing football and wrestling.
When the shooters arrived, the youngster was studying with his mates Craig Scott and Matt Kechter. He was shot in the chest and died at the scene.
It later came to light that the well-known athlete was someone whom the shooters had had problems with before.
John Tomlin hailed from Wisconsin and worked at a local nursery after school, hauling trees. He met his girlfriend of seven months, Michelle Oetter, at a church youth group both were a part of.
Josh absolutely loved Chevrolet trucks. He had just recently bought an Old Chevy pickup after getting his driver's license - he had worked to save up for the vehicle since he was 14. Once, he famously drove all the way to Mexico to help a poor family in building a roof over their head. He enjoyed lifting weights and four-wheeling in his truck.
Josh regularly spent his lunch hour in the library and was there when the gunmen stormed the school.
Lauren Townsend was a senior and led the girls' varsity volleyball team. She was in the National Honor Society and was also a candidate for valedictorian of her graduating class. She had plans to do a major in biology at Colorado State University after graduating from Columbine.
Lauren was also in the library with her friends at the time the gunmen arrived and was shot to death.
Kyle had only been attending Columbine High for three months when the massacre occurred. He was a shy teen and was just beginning to come out of his shell, his parents said. Kyle loved computers and was sitting at one of the computer tables in the library when the killers stormed in.
Kyle became the first victim to die in the library after he was shot in the back of the head by the second shooter Dylan Klebold.