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Teen Gunman Described As a Follower

April 21, 1999

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) _ Columbine High School gunman Dylan Klebold was a follower, not a leader, who went astray after he met Eric Harris, friends say.

In Cub Scouts, he was a bright, dedicated boy who worked hard for his badges. He also got along well with his older brother.

But four years ago, he met Harris, who died along with him in the school library Tuesday after launching a gun-and-bomb attack on fellow students.

``Dylan was real quiet, real smart,″ said Nick Baumgart, 17, a senior who met Klebold in grade school. ``When Eric and Dylan got together, Eric changed Dylan’s demeanor. Dylan was a follower, who was constantly looking for someone to lead.″

The two got their own home computers, and linked them with modems.

``They had death matches with violent computer games, matching computer to computer,″ Baumgart said. ``I don’t believe violent video games lead to violence, but this was different. They’d play these games for hours and hours and hours.″

Baumgart said that Klebold, 17, was respectful to his teachers and did well in school, and that too much has been made of the fact that he joined Harris in a group called the ``Trenchcoat Mafia.″

``These were just a few kids who felt a little outcast,″ he said. ``It was just a way for them to get together.″

Baumgart said the two killers weren’t menacing to other students, ``but you didn’t want them mad at you.″

``I sure didn’t think they’d kill people,″ he said.

Klebold liked sports, and was a big fan of the Boston Red Sox, said Andrew Beard, a fellow student. But he hated ``jocks″ in school who teased him.

``Dylan said he hated the jocks, and how they could walk over people and thought they were tough,″ Beard said.

John House, 17, a senior, said he refused to associate with Klebold after he joined the Trenchcoat Mafia.

``I went bowling with him, and when he would do something good, he would shout `Heil Hitler’ and throw up his hand,″ House said. ``It just made everyone mad.″

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