Quoted from the 2000 Jefferson County Sheriff’s Report:
12:07 · Deputy Walker asks dispatch to check on the status of the party on the roof.
12:11 · The heating and air conditioning repairman, initially thought to be a possible sniper, is removed from the roof.
12:15 · A news helicopter lands at Clement Park. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Phil Domenico is put on board and uses the helicopter’s camera system to survey the school’s roof. He remains in the helicopter for the next several hours surveying the area.
Supporting SWAT Teams Provide Valuable Assistance
“Denver Police Department put out a call to respond to Columbine about 11:30 a.m. and members of its team also went with the first ad hoc SWAT group advancing on the school. Many of its members, armed with AR-15 rifles, provided suppression fire [but there are NO ballistics reports documenting where the bullets they fired ended up! Also, how do you lay down “suppression fire” when you’ve got two shooters mixed up with hundreds of innocent students and teachers inside a large building?] during attempts to rescue down and wounded students outside or assisted in the rescues themselves. Many also helped evacuate students from different areas of the school, assisting in establishing security protection for the evacuees, helped search and secure classrooms; provided cover as other SWAT team members freed them from the building, and assisted in clearing the roof of the school.”
And here is what we think that Sgt Domenico filmed from that News helicopter:
But in typical of it’s obfuscation of evidence, the Sheriff’s department does not cover the SWAT firing from the roof issue in it’s report: That information comes out later after Mr. Rohrbough (as you will read further below) forced Jeffco to release the ballistics report in Court. Instead the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, in response to multiple reports of rooftop snipers, comes up with this lame photo in it’s official and “complete” 2000 report.
By Howard Pankratz Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer
May 31, 2000 -The ballistics report on the weapons and bullets from the Columbine massacre fails to identify who fired the shots that killed and wounded each victim.
That was the chief complaint from a lawyer who represents several victims’ families upon Tuesday’s release of the 58-page report by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
“What we lack is the real underlying evidence,” said Jim Rouse.
Rouse represents the family of slain student Daniel Rohrbough. In a federal wrongful-death lawsuit against the sheriff’s department, the family claims 15-year-old Daniel was killed outside the school by a deputy sheriff’s bullet. Rouse says the claim is based on two eyewitnesses and the autopsy report.
He has declined to identify the witnesses, and the autopsy report remains sealed.
Sheriff’s officials deny the allegation, claiming that Rohrbough was killed by Dylan Klebold.
Rouse said the ballistics report doesn’t change his assessment because it doesn’t provide enough information.
“We have not seen anything in the ballistics report that would change that allegation,” Rouse said. “We were hoping it would tell us what bullets were found where and from what guns those bullets were fired.” The report identifies the four guns used by killers Klebold and Eric Harris, the guns used by officers at the scene, and also documents the multitude of shells, cartridges and fragments recovered at the school. It also examines the relationship of the weapons to the recovered shells and items.
But to determine who fired the bullets that killed the specific victims, Rouse said he needs to see the 200 volumes of backup materials upon which the massive final investigative report was based.
“We have no crime scene photos,” Rouse said. “We don’t know what bullets were found where. We don’t have witness statements. All we’ve got are conclusory reports that don’t shed light on what we are looking for.” Rouse’s clients filed an Open Records Act lawsuit against the county in April for release of the ballistics report and numerous other Columbine-related materials.
Jefferson County District Judge Brooke Jackson has ordered nearly all the material released, but he has yet to rule on whether the 200 volumes must be disclosed.
In the Columbine report, the sheriff’s department said law officers fired 141 rounds at Columbine. Twelve officers fired their weapons: four from Jefferson County; seven from the Denver Police Department; and one from the Lakewood Police Department.
Klebold and Harris fired 188 shots.
Among the information in Tuesday’s report were descriptions of the ammunition pouches carried by the two killers. Recovered were three “green canvas ammunition pouches,” and one tan canvas pouch marked “Nikon” with dark brown trim with the name “Klebold” written on the back.
Also recovered was one large, double-stacked metal magazine, which had a 50-round capacity plus 40 live rounds of 9mm Luger caliber ammunition. Numerous 9mm magazines were recovered.
Several families said they did not plan to immediately pick up the report, echoing sentiment expressed after the release of the investigative report two weeks ago. And Mike Kirklin – whose son, Lance, suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the attack – said he was told the report might be difficult to decipher without some knowledge of ballistics.
“They told me I might have trouble reading it,” Kirklin said.
Staff writer Kevin Simpson contributed to this report.