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Report Upsets Columbine Families

May 31, 2000

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) _ Families of slain and wounded Columbine students obtained a ballistics report from authorities Tuesday, but questioned how useful it would be in their battle to prove authorities mishandled their response to the massacre.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office released the report under a court order. It is one of several investigative reports that a judge ordered authorities to release after families sued under the state open records law.

The 58-page report catalogues hundreds of pieces of evidence from the April 1999 attack, including bullets, shell fragments and weapons. Each piece is identified by item numbers, one for the sheriff’s office and a second for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which analyzed evidence and compiled the ballistics report.

However, there is no key to describe how the item numbers correlate to anything else in the investigation.

Sheriff’s officials would not comment on the report.

Attorney Jim Rouse, who represents the relatives of several Columbine victims, said the report lacks information that some had hoped to see, such as which weapons or bullets were used on which victims.

``This is not what we were expecting,″ said Rouse. ``We were hoping for much more, so we’re disappointed that we don’t have more information.″

Relatives of 15 slain and wounded students have sued the sheriff’s office, alleging deputies mishandled the rescue of students caught at Columbine High School when two student gunmen killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 23 others. The gunmen then committed suicide.

They also allege the deputies failed to heed advance warnings of the attack. The sheriff’s office has denied the allegations.

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