Coloradans mark 20th anniversary of a dark day: Columbine shooting

Brighton High School placed on lockdown other Brighton schools on lockout	 	 	 			Brighton High School

Sean Graves, who was shot during the attack at Columbine High School 20 years ago, speaks as his wife, Kara, looks on during a program for the victims of the massacre on Saturday, April 20, 2019, in Littleton, Colo.

Twelve students and a teacher were killed on April 20, 1999, when two teenagers armed with an assortment of weapons and home-made bombs went on the rampage at the school, whose name has become synonymous with school shootings.

On Saturday, the day before Easter, people gathered in Clement Park next to Columbine High School, with hundreds in blue folding chairs and hundreds more sitting on the green lawn surrounding a stage.

This past week, law enforcement in Colorado launched a massive manhunt for an 18-year-old student from Florida, who they say was infatuated with the Columbine High School shooting.

In 1999, two teenage boys, dressed in black trench coats killed a teacher and 12 students.

Saturday's ceremony ended a three-day slate of somber gatherings honoring the victims and lending support to survivors, the school and victims' families.

"We are here on the sacred day, on this sacred ground to be a community of healing, redemption, faith and service", Pastor James Hoxworth said.

"It's the same issue that we are dealing with today", said Brandon Warren the founder of We LIVE, an Indy youth organization against gun violence.

Other visitors left cards, bouquets and seed packets for columbines, the Colorado state flower, around the memorial plaques.

Speakers stressed the strength and change that came out of the tragedy.

"Our innocence was stolen", Ireland said. Sheriff's deputies patrolled the area on foot and by bike as little league baseball games went on at nearby fields.

Columbine students and staff also marked the day by taking part in community service projects.

Authorities say Pais never threatened a specific school but made troubling remarks to others about her "infatuation" with the 1999 shootings. She "went dark" after a ride-share driver dropped her off Monday afternoon near Mount Evans, where her body was later discovered, officials said. Some describe their response to the month as an "April fog", dominated by their own memories of the sunny Tuesday in April that shocked the world.

Police had been warned that the young Floridian, "fascinated" by Columbine, was headed to Colorado and had purchased a gun. The 18-year-old was found dead of an apparent suicide that morning in the foothills west of Denver, about 40 miles from Columbine.

Her behavior incited panic Tuesday in the Denver area, where more than 20 schools, including Columbine, were closed and a almost 24-hour manhunt got underway.

Long-planned events marking the anniversary continued as scheduled, beginning with a Thursday evening church service and a community vigil on Friday night at the memorial.

The Columbine perpetrators, who took their own lives during the attack, have inspired cult-like admirers including some who have committed other shootings or were prevented from doing so.

'We are not a place to come visit if you're not a student, if you don't have business there, ' John McDonald, security chief for the school district, said on Wednesday.

A vigil at the memorial for the victims of the massacre at Columbine High School.



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