Columbine High School is closed today in remembrance of the massive school shooting that took place 16 years ago.
“Out of respect and remembrance for the 13 loved ones who were lost in 1999, as well as the countless individuals impacted by this terrible incident, we will continue to honor the tradition of not holding classes on April 20 for the foreseeable future,” principal K.C. Somers wrote in a letter to students and staff earlier this month.
Since the massacre, the school has been closed every April 20, according to Fox 31 Denver.
The Columbine High School massacre is one of the worst school shootings to ever take place in the United States’ history. For those of you who are not familiar with the story, at 11:19 a.m. on April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold, 18, and Eric Harris, 17, both dressed in trench coats, opened fire outside of the school before moving inside to continue their killing spree.
By 11:35 a.m., Klebold and Harris had murdered 12 students and a teacher and wounded 23 other people. Approximately 30 minutes later, the gunman turned their guns on themselves and took their own lives.
According to History.com, the gunmen’s original plan was for “two propane bombs to explode in the school’s cafeteria, potentially killing hundreds of people and forcing the survivors outside and into the gunmen’s line of fire. When the bombs didn’t work, Harris and Klebold went into the school to carry out their murderous rampage.”
While none of these theories have ever been proven, it is believed that the boys were members of the social group called the “Trenchcoat Mafia,” a group fascinated by Goth culture. It was also speculated that violent video games contributed to their murderous behavior. The pair had previously made home videos prior to the attack referencing what they were planning to do and apologizing to their parents for it. On the day before the shooting took place, Harris purchased a gun from Mark Manes, who then bought him 100 rounds of ammunition.
The students who tragically lost their lives on that day were Cassie Bernall, 17, Steven Curnow, 14, Corey Depooter, 17, Kelly Fleming, 16, Matthew Kechter, 16, Daniel Mauser, 15, Daniel Rohrbough, 15, William “Dave” Sanders, 47, Rachel Scott, 17, Isaiah Shoels, 18, John Tomlin, 16, Lauren Townsend, 18, Kyle Valasquez, 16. Teacher William “Dave” Saunders was also killed.
While the school was closed, a moment of silence and a reading of the names of those lost in the tragedy took place at the HOPE Columbine Memorial Library at 11:20 a.m.
[Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images]