- Embittered parents are campaigning for the dismissal
of the sheriff investigating the Columbine High School massacre in which
a teacher and 12 students were shot dead by two fellow pupils who then
turned the guns on themselves.
- Unhappy with police conduct before and after the killing
spree, which was carried out by teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold
almost a year ago, a parents' group has begun proceedings to strip John
Stone, an elected official, of his sheriff's badge. Signatures are being
collected for a petition that could force him from office.
- The efforts are being led by Randy and Judy Brown, whose
teenage son Brooks was under a cloud of suspicion for much of last year.
Sheriff Stone announced soon after the murders that he suspected the boy
was linked to the killers. Brooks was cleared in December of any involvement.
- Before the murders the Browns had complained to the police
about a web site set up by Harris which was filled with violent fantasies.
They say that Harris had threatened to kill their son, but that the evidence
was ignored by police officers.
- Mr Brown says that Sheriff Stone "lied about my
son being a potential suspect" and he complains about "a pattern
of misrepresentations the sheriff has made about Columbine". He said:
"It is time to do something." To succeed, the petition must gain
support from at least a quarter of 61,000 voters who originally backed
- Critics of the sheriff, who refuses to comment on attempts
to remove him from office, are also questioning a delay in the release
of a 300-page official report into the massacre originally due to be published
before Christmas. A spokesman for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department,
which covers Littleton, says that "very optimistically" the report
could be published within the next six to eight weeks.
- Some details of the events of 20 April, 1999 have been
leaked to the press, angering parents still further. Transcripts of homemade
video tapes made by Klebold and Harris justifying their actions were shown
by police to Time magazine which then published extracts. Sheriff Stone
says that Time broke a promise not to reveal their contents, an assurance
which the magazine says it was never asked to give.
- The report is expected to show that Klebold and Harris
had amassed far more homemade explosive than first suspected and planned
to destroy the entire school. Superficially, normality has returned to
Columbine High. The library, where many of the murders took place, has
been sealed, the bullet holes covered up and shattered windows repaired.
- The mild weather in Denver last week cleared the snow
from the sport pitches and allowed the Columbine lacrosse teams to begin
training. But dozens of pupils are still receiving counselling and psychiatric
help for the traumas of the murders, while others have been withdrawn from
- Events have also conspired to keep memories fresh. The
school has been shut down on several occasions because of bomb threats,
while two pupils were murdered barely a fortnight ago in a local sandwich
shop. Police believe that the killings may be related to drugs.
- The most traumatic moments since the massacre may be
still to come. A temporary restraining order preventing the release of
the video confessions was granted to the parents of Klebold and a woman
mentioned in the tapes but is due to be reconsidered this week.
- If the judge changes his mind, television companies are
ready for a bidding war to show the Columbine killers in their own words.
- SIGHTINGS HOMEPAGE
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