On Sunday, The Denver Post published key parts of the yet-to-be-released report on the shooting that left 15 dead. The gunmen shot and killed 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves in the school library. Sheriff's investigators have been preparing the report for several months and may release the final draft before the one-year anniversary of the rampage.
CBS News Correspondent Sandra Hughes reports that investigators interviewed more than 5,000 people and examined more than 10,000 pieces of evidence for the report. But like everything surrounding this tragedy, the early release of details from the report has stirred up controversy.
According to The Post, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris acted completely alone in their murderous rampage. No one knew in advance of their plans. News most families already knew or suspected but were waiting to have confirmed by the report that authorities promised to give them first. Victims' parents say this incident is just the latest in a string of broken promises by police.
Brian Rohrbough is outraged by the way police have handled the victims' families. "My son was murdered at a school that he was required to go to by law. And then the officials don't even want to tell me exactly what happened," he said.
Connie Michalik, mother of Richard Castaldo, who remains paralyzed from wounds suffered in the attack, agrees. "I don't know the difference between this and the actual report. I'm just disappointed with the sheriff's department...I just don't think they have treated us with much respect."
Larry Nimmo, whose stepdaughter Rachel Scott was among those killed, has mixed feelings. "Well, They have told us...they would be a lot more sensitive to us after the incident in Time and they have let us know, sometimes we get a notification...it's just we're not kept well informed. They don't have to inform of us of every detail. They should have let us know The Post would be publishing an article. If they had said that, I would have kept the paper closed."
The Jefferson county sheriff's department is taking much of the heat for releasing the details of the report. "No copy of the report has been shown to any member of the media, or for that matter, to any member of the sheriff's office, in its entirety. The completed version does not exist," said Spokesman Steve Davis. But Davis was apologetic, "It's been a monumental task we've been given for the last year and tried very hard to keep everyone's feelings in our thoughts. But occasionally our job can so monumental, we get caught up in it," he said.
The Post also quotes the report as finding that Harri and Klebold did not target athletes, blacks or Christians as initially thought. The shootings were random. They brought all the bombs in the morning of the massacre and hoped to kill hundreds with them. All four weapons were purchased at a Denver gun show. Though Klebold and Harris wore dark duster coats the day of the killings they were not members of the so-called Trenchcoat Mafia.
"Instinctively, you think, 'This is so awful. Two kids can't do it,'" said Sheriff's Division Chief John Kiekbusch, who oversaw the investigation. "But then we go back to the evidence. Two kids did do it."
The Post reports investigators also say none of the victims were killed with bombs, no one was hit by a police bullet and there was no third gunman.
Arriving at such definitive conclusions took almost eight months of investigative work.
"Shot by shot, we know. Minute by minute, and in many cases second by second," said lead investigator Kate Battan. "That's what the final report is all about."
Battan said police know "absolutely by whom" each of the victims was shot.
When the report is officially released, it will be made available to the parents and the media on CD-ROM, complete with photos, TV news footage and audio clips.