The Columbine Massacre
One of the most famous spree killings in U.S. history, involved these two students of Columbine High School embarking on a massacre at the school armed with multiple shotguns and home-made explosives. The resultant toll was thirteen dead and twenty four injured before the perpetrators committed suicide.
Eric Harris was 18 years-old and Dylan Klebold was 17 years-old when they committed this infamous crime in Littleton, Colorado. They met in 1993 while they were both in Junior High school and were considered to be quite unpopular and frequently suffered from bullying at the hands of the more athletic students. In accounts after the shootings, they were known as members of a group that called themselves the ‘Trenchcoat Mafia’, but further study shows that neither of them spent much time with that group and did not show up in any group photos. They were both self-professed computer geeks and spent a considerable amount of time on the internet. In early 1998, they were charged with breaking into a repair van and stealing tools, however, while attending their prescribed diversionary programs, they made such an impression on the juvenile officers that they were released early. Later that year, the Jefferson County Sherriff’s office investigated Harris’ website after he was accused of posting threats on the site against people with which he had had a falling out. An affidavit was created for a search warrant but never filed. Over the course of the next year, they continued to portray increasingly more violent behavior and rage in their school projects. They created a video about executing students in the hallways of the school and their creative writing projects all displayed themes of violence and mayhem. Both kept detailed journals which described every facet of the attack, a timeline for execution of the event and potential escape routes. Neither of the boys left the school that day as they both committed suicide ending the spree. Post-event reports indicate that psychological investigations concluded that Harris was a clinical psychopath and that Klebold was a depressive and that their mental illnesses were the underlying cause for the assault.