Klebold Friend May Have Bought Guns
STEVEN K. PAULSON
Apr. 27, 1999
LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) _ The 18-year-old girlfriend of Columbine High School gunman Dylan Klebold apparently bought at least two of the weapons used in the attack at a Denver-area gun show, authorities said.
Investigators also were checking a report from a Colorado Springs gun dealer that the other gunman, Eric Harris, was among five teens who tried to buy a machine gun and another weapon last month.
The Denver Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post reported today that investigators believe the girlfriend, Robyn K. Anderson, bought three weapons not long after her 18th birthday in November. The Denver Rocky Mountain News said she was believed to have bought two guns.
Harris, 18, and Klebold, 17, committed suicide after bursting into Columbine High School with guns and bombs a week ago today, killing 12 fellow students and one teacher. Four guns were found in the school.
Ms. Anderson was questioned Monday and authorities describe her as a witness, not a suspect. District Attorney Dave Thomas said she was cooperating with investigators.
Prosecutors said the weapons may have been purchased legally.
``We think three of them were provided by the girlfriend of Klebold,'' Mark Paulter, a Jefferson County chief district attorney, told the Post. ``She bought them because she was older. She was 18 at the time. She bought them in November or December.
``We're not sure she committed a crime under Colorado statute. If you provide a handgun to a person under 18, that's a violation of the statute. If you provide a shotgun or a rifle, that's not a violation.''
The operator of the Tanner Gun Show, which holds shows in the Denver area several times a year, said the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms asked on Monday for a list of all of the show's exhibitors.
Prosecutors think Ms. Anderson bought two shotguns and a rifle. District Attorney Dave Thomas said prosecutors are not sure what knowledge she had about how the guns would be used. But Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone acknowledged it was possible that she did know how Klebold and Harris to planned to use the guns.
``She's not going to use those for pheasant hunting,'' Stone told the News.
A man who was at Ms. Anderson home declined to comment, saying the family was terrorized by reporters, the Post said.
Meanwhile, Mel Bernstein, owner of Dragon Arms, told investigators that four teen-age boys dressed in trench coats _ including Harris _ and a young woman came to his store in early March. They tried to buy an M-60 machine gun and a pistol equipped with a silencer. He said he declined to sell the guns to Harris because he was too young. When the young woman in the group tried to buy the guns, saying she was 18, he escorted them from the store.
Bernstein said the incident was captured on a surveillance videotape that he turned over to federal authorities.
``They were real mopey, like punk kids with the makeup on, like punk rockers,'' Bernstein said. ``To me, it was just another bunch of kids who wished they could own everything they see on the wall here. This is like Toys R Us to them.''
Bernstein said Harris ``was doing all the talking.''
Investigators still believe that someone other than Klebold and Harris was aware of their plans in the days and weeks leading up to the attack.
``There's a lot of munitions there,'' Stone said. ``Either somebody else brought it in or they brought it in and stored it. ... It's hard to get that in under your raincoat and not be noticed.''
Stone said three boys who were arrested near Columbine on the day of the attack have not been cleared in the case.
``I'm suspicious of their story,'' Stone said. ``They are not out of the woods in this one yet.''
Also Monday, authorities said Klebold and Harris had aimed for an even bigger bloodbath, plotting to kill hundreds of students, and then to hijack a plane and crash it into New York City. Investigators cited a diary they found that was kept by Harris.
The attack's bold, bizarre nature led to speculation that the gunmen might have been taking drugs, but toxicology tests revealed no drugs or alcohol in their bodies, the county coroner's office said.
``It makes it a little more frightening to me that they were of sound mind and not under the influence of alcohol and drugs,'' Thomas told MSNBC.
Columbine's campus remained closed to everyone except bomb squads and investigators. Columbine teachers were due to report for duty today at nearby Chatfield High School, where armed sheriff's deputies and parents have been assigned to guard the doors. Columbine's students will begin classes at Chatfield on Thursday.
Teachers haven't been allowed to pick up their books and other belongings since the bloodshed at Columbine.
``If they need anything and we can find it, we'll get it for them,'' sheriff's Sgt. Jim Parr said Monday. ``But I think they're going to be operating on a shoestring for a while.''
Chatfield Principal Sally Blanchard said her staff would try to make Columbine teachers feel welcome on campus as they prepare their lessons in hopes of finishing out the school year.
``We want them to feel honored. We want them to feel safe,'' she said.
Funerals were held Monday for three students and Dave Sanders, the only teacher killed in the rampage. The emotionally exhausted community faced two more funerals today and planned a moment of silence at 11:21 a.m., the time the attack began a week ago.
Mourners, including students by the hundreds, turned out Monday to remember Lauren Townsend, an 18-year-old honor student and captain of the girls' volleyball team; Daniel Rohrbough, the 15-year-old boy shot while holding an exit door open for fleeing students; and Cassie Bernall, the 17-year-old girl who professed her love of God just before she was shot.
``Cassie died a martyr's death,'' Pastor George Kirsten told mourners. ``She went to the martyrs' hall of fame.''