Stu­dents ‘kill dozens’ at Den­ver school

Malta Independent - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -

A shoot­ing spree by two Amer­i­can high school stu­dents is feared to have left up to 25 peo­ple dead and in­jured at least 15 oth­ers.

The stu­dents, wear­ing bal­a­clavas and trench coats, ram­paged through Columbine High School in Den­ver, Col­orado, fir­ing au­to­matic weapons and throw­ing home­made bombs.

The bod­ies of the two sus­pects, who had ap­par­ently shot them­selves, were later found in the li­brary.

Ex­plo­sive de­vices are said to have been found on or near the sus­pects’ bod­ies.

They have been named as Eric Har­ris, 18, and 17-year-old Dy­lan Kle­bold.

‘Trench coat mafia’

The pair are said to have be­longed to a group known as the “trench coat mafia” who boasted about own­ing guns and were alien­ated from the other chil­dren.

One girl told po­lice she was in the li­brary when one of the boys burst in and be­gan fir­ing shots.

“He said he would kill ev­ery­one who had been mean to him and his friends over the last year,” she said.

Other wit­nesses said the gun­men were tar­get­ing stu­dents from eth­nic mi­nori­ties and pop­u­lar ath­letes.

As FBI agents and spe­cial­ist firearms teams made their way through the car­nage, a bomb set on a time de­vice ex­ploded.

At least 12 other bombs were found through­out the school, said po­lice.

Three peo­ple be­lieved to be friends of the sus­pects were ar­rested and were led away in hand­cuffs.

But a po­lice spokes­woman said they were not thought to be di­rectly in­volved in the shoot­ings.

Columbine High School - which has 1,800 pupils - is sit­u­ated in the mid­dle-class sub­urb of Lit­tle­ton.

US Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton has sent his con­do­lences to the town.

“The prayers of the Amer­i­can peo­ple are with you,” he said.

The Columbine shoot­ing was one of a spate of killings at US high schools.

The fi­nal num­ber of dead was 15, in­clud­ing the two at­tack­ers, and was at the time the great­est loss of life of any of the in­ci­dents at the time.

Soon after­wards US Vice-Pres­i­dent Al Gore backed a bill to bring in tougher gun con­trols but it was thrown out by the US Congress.

In April 2001 the fam­i­lies of most of the vic­tims of the Columbine school shoot­ings were awarded $2.5m af­ter su­ing the gun­men’s par­ents and the men who sold them the weapons.

Eight years af­ter the Columbine at­tack, a 23-year-old stu­dent killed 32 peo­ple and him­self at Vir­ginia Tech Univer­sity in what be­came the United States’ worst massshoot­ing.

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