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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 21, 1999)
At least 25 dead in Denver massacre
DENVER from page 1
because of the danger of explosives
and the need to preserve evidence. FBI
agents and police SWAT teams slowly
made their way through the building.
A third young man was led away
from the school in handcuffs more
than four hours after the attack.
Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Davis said
that suspect was believed to be a friend
of the gunmen but did not take part in
Wes Lammers, 17, was among
several students who said the gunmen
were targeting minorities and athletes
at the 1,800-student high school.
Other students said the killers
might have been part of a group of
eight to 10 students who wear black
trench coats every day and are known
as the “Trench Coat Mafia.”
“They are jerks,” said Jason Greer,
16. “They are really strange, but I’ve
never seen them do anything violent.”
For hours after the attack, wound
ed victims lay inside the building and
police were unable to get to them.
Outside, hundreds of officers from
throughout the Denver area surround
ed the school. Frantic parents were
sent to a nearby elementary school,
where they searched for word of their
children. Some students had called
their parents on cellular phones from
inside the building.
Teen-agers hugged parents and
each other and wept as they recalled
As TV images of the scene were
broadcast nationwide, helicopter
ambulances used a sports field as a
landing pad, and officers in helmets
and camouflage gear took cover
behind squad cars. Students who fled
the building wept and held their hands
above their heads while police frisked
Three youths wearing black - but
not trench coats - were stopped by
police in a field near the school. The
Colorado Bureau of Investigation said
the three were friends of the gunmen
who were being taken in for question
Witnesses said the shootings took
place around the school, including in
the cafeteria and library.
“We heard the gunshots and we
were running,” said Kaley Boyle, a
“They walked down the stairs and
they started shooting people,” said a
student who gave her name as Janine.
“We didn’t think it was real and then
we saw blood.” Her voice broke with
anguish as she spoke.
She said it was two young men,
wearing black trench coats.
“They were shooting people and
throwing grenades and stuff” she said.
“Me and my friends got to my car and
drove off.... We saw three people get
shot. They were just shooting. Then
something blew up.”
Columbine High is in the middle
class suburb of Littleton, population
35,000, southwest of Denver. Nearby
schools were locked down, with stu
dents prohibited from entering or leav
ing for hours.
Littleton became the latest
Denver suspects called outcasts
LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) - They
are called the ‘Trench Coat Mafia,” a
group of about 10 studentswho wear
long black coats, keep to themselves
and follow shock rocker Marilyn
Despite their dark lifestyle, they
had not shown an inclination for vio
lence before Tuesday, according to
some of their fellow students at
Columbine High School.
Authorities and school district
officials said they had never heard of
A reference to it in last year’s
Columbine yearbook reveals nothing
more than general teen-age exuber
Even so, some students said they
believed the two gunmen who went
on a shooting rampage at Columbine
were members of die group.
Sean Kelly, a 16-year-old student,
said he saw several members of the
group make a video about their guns
in a video production class. He also
said several members of the group
recently bragged that they had gotten
Some students said the killers tar
geted minorities and athletes. Kelly
said he heard Trench Coat Mafia
members making “generally deroga
tory remarks” about blacks and
Andrew Beard, a student, said on
CNN’s “Larry King Live” that mem
bers of the group “talked about how
jocks, how all the football players,
were in a world of their own, thinking
they were on top of everything and
nothing mattered to them.”
A dedication to the Trench Coat
Mafia in the 1998 Columbine year
book lists 13 members and carries the
following message: “Who says we are
different? Insanity’s healthy!
Remember rocking parties at
Kristen’s, foosball at Joe’s and fencing
at Christopher’s! Stay alive, stay dif
ferent, stay crazy. Oh, and stay away
from CREAM SODA!!! Love
always, the chicks.”
But other students had developed
a less innocent image of die group.
“They’re really dark people,” said
Wes Lammers, a 17-year-old junior.
“There were a lot of jokes that one day
they might snap or something.”
Casey Brackley, 15, said she was
very aware of the group even though it
“I never saw them threaten any
body or bully anybody, but we avoid
ed them because they were different,”
she said. “Anyone dressed in black
you’re scared of because it signifies
gothic or death.”
Added Josh Nielsen, a 17-year
old junior: “They’re not well-liked in
the school and no one treated them
American community shocked by
school violence. Since 1997, a series
of school shootings have led to calls
for tighter security and closer monitor
ing of troubled students.
Two people were killed in an
attack at a school in Pearl, Miss., three
at West Paducah, Ky., five at
Jonesboro, Ark., and two in
Senators debate hold on executions
MORATORIUM from page 1
He said 165 people are incarcerat
ed for first-degree murder. Only 10 are
on death row, he said. Thirty-one of the
165 are incarcerated for multiple mur
ders. Only four are on death row.
Brashear offered several examples of
brutal murder cases in which the
defendants received only life sen
But Norfolk Sen. Gene Tyson said
he did not think studying the cases
would accomplish much. Death penal
ties have existed for thousands of
years, he said.
“There is nothing unusual about
putting people to death,” he said. In the
meantime, he said, the victims will not
get their lives back. The moratorium,
he said, would only take away the
penalty’s deterrent effect.
Omaha Sen. Jon Bruning agreed.
Before Bruning spoke, Sen. Gerald
Matzke of Sidney told the Legislature
about CNN’s coverage of a shooting at
a Littleton, Colo., high school.
“I couldn’t sleep at night if I knew
somebody was on this earth who did
Hat to another person,” he said in ref
erence to die shooting.
“I’m not proud of die death penal
ty,” he said “Butl think it serves a pur
pose.” He would support a study, he
said, but he wondered why the morato
rium would be necessary.
Omaha Sen. John Hilgert said that
if the study finds problems in the way
the penalty is applied, executions
couldn’t be erased
“When you grow up, there are no
do-overs,” he said. Hilgert said he sup
ports the death penalty but said the
study would not abolish it
Chambers said that although he is
opposed to the death penalty in all
cases, the bloodthirsty comments from
Bjuping and Tyson surprised him.
“I don’t see what the haste is to
kill,” he said.
The proposed moratorium would
not prevent courts from sentencing
people to death. Appeals could go for
ward as well, but no execution dates
could be set during die three years.
Senators took no action on the
actual bill Tuesday. But they did pass a
Chambers amendment that changed
wording so the study would look at the
race, income level and other facts
about the murder victim. The commit
tee amendment that will become the
bill originally would have looked only
at factors regarding the defendant.
During discussion Tuesday, the
chamber was unusually silent. Few
senators left their seats. But a vote to
cease debate had to be taken twice. The
first vote ended 24-4, one short of die
25 votes needed. '
.Hastings Sen. Ardyce Bohlke said
that vote may have indicated how
much she and other senators are strug
gling with the issue.
“Count me wishy-washy here ” she
said “Count me struggling. Count me
tryhiggo search how I feel and how I’ll -
vote cm this.” :
Students report escapes;
parents wait desperately
LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) - Some
jumped into the bushes. Some hid in
classrooms. Others risked a run and
made it to a park nearby..
In the chaotic aftermath of the
nation’s latest deadly school shooting
Tuesday, students scrambled for safety
and their parents endured an agonizing
wait for news. •'
Crying and shaking, rescued stu
dents were taken by bus, to an elemen
tary school, where parents stood on
fences and jumped up and down,
straining to try tQ#»Jneir children.
Cries of “There Sfti|j|f^w^‘I don’-t see
her!” went up as the buses rolled to a
stop. ' • :
Betty Smith, whose son David is a
sophomore, waited for him at the ele
mentary school. She said she and her
husband split up to try to find him, but
they had no luck.
“I can’t stand it,” she said. “Itls so
frustrating. He could be at the hospital,
and I’m waiting here for three hours.”
The students were brought to the
side of the building and then paraded
: across a stage as their parents sat in the
gym,1fhe parents were unable to
approach or touch their children until
they were questioned by police, so
they only smiled and waved. And
because their children were untouch
able, the parents hugged each other.
Also, there was a list posted of all
students known to be safe, because
some were taken to a library.
Gov. Bill Owens and counselors
came to the school to try to comfort
“Obviously the parents who found
their children are happy. The other
ones...” Owens said, his voice trailing
Wes Lammers, 17, was looking for
his 14-year-old sister, Sarah.
“I hope she’s OK,” he said. “She
was right by me.”
Erik Mikelson, f7, was waiting for
his brother at the elementary schcfol.
Mikelson said he had been in the
weight room when he heard an alarm.
“I just walked out like it was no big
deal, but then teachers were running
and yelling. But it was still unclear
what was happening,” he said.
Bob Sapin was in math class when
he “heard sounds in the hallway”
He and his classmates bolted out
of the room. He hid in the bushes out
side school. “I was very frightened,” he
He eventually made it to Clement
Park, where students and parents
looked for each other and reporters
gathered. Helicopters whirled over
head and dozens of police officers
/ am Victoria
/ am not like
He is hurting.
f am healing.
I woke up
with a whole
in my heart.
April 22 7:30 PM
Reception to fol
University Program Council
A moving play that visits
the lives of three diverse
woynin across the planet
u/) h f *5
Crisis in Kosovo
^ BELGRADE, Yagbsjafia (AP) -
NAIt) jets struck alSelgrade high-rise
building holding the off fees of
Slobodan Milosevic's ruling patty
early Wednesday, and the alliance
accused Serb forces of flushing out eth
nic Albanians hiding in the province’s
The attack touched off a huge fire
in the building in New Belgrade, across
the Sava River from the heart of the
capital. There was no immediate word
on casualties, but local media said up to
50 people might have been inside.
U.S. helicopters and troops were
headed toward Albania in a new phase
aimed at boosting the alliance’s ability
to attack Yugoslav ground forces and
stop their campaign to rid Kosovo of its
ethnic Albanian majority.
NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said
Serb military and paramilitary forces
were shelling hills where ethnic
Albanians had fled, marching the
refugees on roads and putting them on
trains to the border, then closing the
frontier to them.
“What we are seeing as we study
these movements of people is a kind of
safari operation ongoing by the Serb
security forcesagainst the Kosovar
He told reporters at NATO head
quarters in Brussels, Belgium, that the
alliance was investigating reports of
700 ethnic Albanian boys as young as
14 being used either as “human shields
or as blood banks for Serb casualties.”
Refugees also said as many as 700
men were used as human shields last
week near the town of Orahovac. There
was no independent confirmation of
The accusations 'came as the
alliance continued its four-week
assault' on Yugoslavia, hammering tar
gets in a dozen towns and cities
Tuesday and early Wednesday.
Firefighters rushed to the scene of
the New Belgrade attack to battle
flames leaping from the upper floors.
Media reports said at least three
missiles struck the 20-story structure,
known as the Business Center Usee,
which houses several offices owned by
the Yugoslav President’s Socialist
The privately owned broadcasters
TV Pink and BK, whose headquarters
were also in the building, were knocked
off the air. Both stations are owned by
people close to the authorities. Kosava
radio and TV, owned by Milosevic’s
daughter Marija, also had its offices in
Yugoslav media reported several
other pre-dawn attacks Wednesday in
northern and central Serbia, including
Novi Sad and the town of Valjevo,
where six missiles struck a factory,
triggering a huge fire. The Belgrade
television station Studio B said one
person was seriously injured.
Studio B also reported attacks early
Wednesday at a village near the central
town of Kraljevo, which has been
repeatedly targeted during the air cam
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