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Bells Toll 15 Times in Littleton

April 27, 1999

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) _ Exactly a week after the first shots rang out at Columbine High School, a hush fell over the Denver area Tuesday and church bells tolled 15 times _ one for each victim and the two gunmen.

It was the first public expression of mourning that included the two killers, whose names went unmentioned at Sunday’s memorial for 70,000 people.

Televisions and radios fell silent for one minute at 11:21 a.m. After the tolling, the bells rang out in joyous tones.

``We did a celebratory peal to remind everybody that there is life after death,″ said Barry Bowman of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Denver.

Funerals for three more victims _ Matthew Kechter and Kyle Velasquez, both 16, and Corey DePooter, 17 _ were held. The Velasquez services drew 800 mourners, including Gov. Bill Owens.

Investigators, meanwhile, questioned Dylan Klebold’s 18-year-old girlfriend, who is believed to have bought at least two of the weapons used by Klebold and Eric Harris. Investigators want to know whether she knew how the guns were to be used.

And in Washington, President Clinton announced proposals to tighten federal gun laws. ``We don’t have to go through another Littleton if the American people want it badly enough,″ Clinton said.

Eric Harris, 18, and Klebold, 17, committed suicide after bursting into Columbine High with guns and bombs on April 20. They killed 12 fellow students and one teacher. Four guns were found in the school.

Investigators said Robyn K. Anderson bought at least two of the weapons _ a rifle and a shotgun _ at a Denver-area gun show last fall. Ms. Anderson has not been arrested, and authorities stopped short of describing her as a suspect. She has retained a lawyer and is said to be cooperating.

Generally, it is illegal to give a minor a pistol, and illegal to give anyone a gun with the knowledge that it will be used in a crime.

At Velasquez’s funeral, neighbors and relatives remembered him as a ``gentle giant″ who enjoyed chores and family activities.

``There is no doubt in my mind that those two young assailants were acting under satanic influence,″ said the Rev. Wayne LaGrone. ``If we want the violence to stop, we must start with ourselves.″

Columbine teachers returned to work Tuesday _ not at the heavily damaged high school, but a few miles away at Chatfield High. Columbine students will return to classes on Monday _ also at Chatfield.

Security there will be increased, with guards checking IDs and continuing sweeps by law enforcement officers. School administrators also have banned students from wearing trench coats of the sort worn by the killers to conceal their weapons as they approached the school.