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Columbine high school massacre marks 20th anniversary

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US | April 20, 2019 11:41:51 AM IST
The United States on Saturday commemorated the 20th anniversary of Columbine High school massacre in Colorado that left 12 students, one teacher, and both gunmen dead in 1999.

Survivors and families of the deceased in the shotgun blast, who gathered outside the school on Friday said that the upcoming anniversary of the massacre was conjuring up feelings of pain, hope, love, and despair, CNN reported.

The children of Dave Sanders, the lone teacher who died in the shootings at Columbine High School, told CNN that people still come up to him to thank their father for showing bravery on this day two decades ago. Sanders have been praised for securing other students' lives before succumbing to his wounds.

"I run into kids who had him as a teacher, and one of them said, 'Can I take a picture of you holding my child?' And I said, 'Why?' And they said, 'Because he wouldn't be here without your dad,'" Coni Sanders told Fox31.

"And so we're seeing these generations of kids who had a chance to grow up to be adults and parents and grandparents [because of my dad]," she added. "My sisters and I are so proud."

Meanwhile, Kacey Ruegsegger Johnson, another survivor of the attack, told Fox News that the emotional toll still remains heavy even after 20 years of the Columbine school shooting.For the last 20 years, Johnson has lived with post-traumatic stress disorder, along with physical pain.

She worked as a nurse until the injuries to her arm, caused by a shotgun blast to her right shoulder during the massacre, forced her to stop working permanently.

In a recent interview to the CBS News, the then Columbine school principal, Frank DeAngelis, was quoted as saying that he starts his days reflecting on the 13 who were killed in the attack.

"Every morning when I wake up, as soon as I get out of bed I recite the names of my beloved 13," he said.

"I've done it since the shootings happened and they are not with us physically but spiritually, they're with me every day," the principal added.

The accused in the school shootings, identified as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, took their own lives in the school's library after allegedly killing 13 people.

Columbine remained the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history until the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 that left 17 dead, The Washington Post reported.

The FBI on April 16 launched a manhunt for an armed and "extremely dangerous" woman who poses a "credible threat" to the Denver metropolitan area, leading to over 20 schools being put under lockdown here, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Identified as an 18-year-old white female named Sol Pais, police have asked people to report her if she is seen, warning them to not "approach her as she is considered armed and dangerous."

Meanwhile, more than 20 schools have been put on lockdown here. The students were released in a controlled manner on Tuesday in the wake of the threat. (ANI)

 
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