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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Commemoration Service to Remember 20th Anniversary of Columbine High Victims

Counterterrorism & Security

7Dnews London

Sun, 21 Apr 2019 10:09 GMT

A week of commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the US's Columbine High School massacre, has finished with a ceremony to remember and celebrate the lives of the 13 victims murdered in the rampage, according to Reuters.

On April 20, 1999, two Columbine students, just three weeks shy of graduation, stormed the suburban Denver school, armed with shotguns and semi-automatic weapons, fatally shooting 12 students and a teacher before committing suicide. Every year April 20th arouses many emotions from grief and suffering to warm memories of those who died, from their family and friends, and the wider community.

Betty Shoels, the aunt of murdered student Isaiah Shoels, said her 18-year-old nephew was a fun-loving athlete who was always smiling, despite feeling out of place as one of the school's few African-American students.

"What I miss most is his laugh," Shoels told Reuters. "He was just a great kid who loved to joke." 

This year's remembrances were marred this week when a Florida teenager, who authorities said was "obsessed" with Columbine, travelled to Colorado where she died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.

Evan Todd was a student at Columbine two decades ago when he was wounded in the school library, where ten of the students were killed. He said whenever he hears of school shootings or other tragedies somehow linked to Columbine, it reminds him that he was "part of something so gruesome and so public."

He often recalls his football teammate, Matt Kechter, who was shot dead just a few feet away from him.

"Sometimes I wonder what Matt would be doing now, what his life would be like," said Todd, 35, who is the father of a one-year-old son. 

He credits his family and Christian faith for getting him through the months following the tragedy.

"I'm just thankful that I survived," he said.

US & Canada