Attack Diagrams & Satellite Photos
The Columbine Attack

This page is intended to give you the layout and progression of the attack, using a series of satellite photos and police diagrams. For each slide, I wrote a pretty detailed description of what's going on, because there is a lot of detail, and it can be very confusing.

I start with an overview looking at the campus from above, and each slide drills down deeper into the details, and the progression of the attack. I selected the most revealing Jeffco diagrams, but you can view all 102 of their diagrams here. Explanations appear under each photo/diagram.

Key note on orientation of the diagrams

A confusing aspect of all Jeffco's diagrams here is that north is not up. The roads surrounding Columbine lie on a north-south grid, and the school is rotated about 45 degrees from that. So Jeffco rotated all the diagrams 45 degrees, but inconsistently: sometimes North is 45 degrees to the right, sometimes to the left. This makes it easier to read information within the map, but difficult to match it up with the outside world.

Satellite Photos

Wide SHot

Columbine is near the bottom right of the shot, just to the left of Pierce Street, which is labeled and runs north to south. It looks like a factory. The most easily recognizable objects are the gym (beige rectangle, on about a 45 degree angle), and the senior parking lot, just below the building and to the left. That's the smaller junior lot to its right. The faculty lot is above and to the right of the school, right along Pierce St.

 

Just to the left of the school is the baseball diamond, and then the football field and track to its left. The egg-shaped object to the top left of the football field is the Columbine Memorial. You can see the sidewalk looping about 80% of the way around it. The sidewalk inclines upward, to give you a nice view down into the memorial. Vertical height is not distinguishable in satellite photos, so it looks like nothing here, but the large open space just below and slightly to the left of the memorial is Rebel Hill. That's a paved biking/walking path circling about 3/4 of it.

 

The sports complex up top with four baseball diamonds clustered together is part of Clement Park. The park actually occupies more than half of the photo, and this is just a fraction of it. Columbine is nestled into the extreme south-east corner of the park. At the bottom of the photo, I included a bit of the first subdivision to the south, including where Cassie Bernall's family lived at the time. (They moved away years ago.) To the right of Pierce St., you can see Leewood Park and the surrounding subdivisions, where the bulk of students fled. Most of them made their way to Leewood Elementary, which is about a half mile to the east.

Tighter Shot

I sized this shot to roughly corresponds to the first Jeffco diagram below it, though I've clipped off more of the parking lots to give you more detail on the school. You can see how the Jeffco diagram is rotated (see note on that near the top of the page).

 

Use the gym as a reference point, and then find the cafeteria straight below the left portion of it. You can see the curved external wall of the cafeteria, though the curve which looks dramatic in photographs/video is surprisingly slight from above. You can also spot it with the help of several trees tucked between it and the parking lot, roughly following its arc.

Note: I created the two shots above from Googlemaps. To choose other magnifications, plug in Columbine's address: 6201 S. Pierce St. Littleton, CO 80123.

Police Diagrams

Overview: school, parking lot, surrounding

The yellow area on the left side of the school is where most of the attack took place once Eric and Dylan were inside. The little yellow circles represent cafeteria tables. The library is on the second floor, directly above it. Notice the curved exterior wall, which is the rounded green glass wall most frequently seen in photos and on TV.

 

Look closely in the parking lot, and you can also make out the location of the killers' cars: Dylan's in blue toward the upper left, and Eric's in red in the lower middle, just to the right of the student entrance. These represent the positions they were supposed to shoot from. The cars were also loaded with propane bombs and gasoline, set to blow up about 40 minutes into the attack.

Cafeteria Close-up

Those circles are the actual locations of each round table. If you look closely, each table is identified by one or two letters. These same designations are used throughout the sheriff's report. The letters will help you keep details straight if you're really digging in deep.

Notice that the cafeteria has six small exits shown along the bottom of the cafeteria, and another in the top left. That tan shaded area on the top left, just above the cafeteria and inside the green grass area is the teacher's lounge. That's where Dave Sanders heard shots and ran into the cafeteria.

 

The large, tan square-like object near the middle of the diagram, just to the right of the tables, is the main staircase, which is wide enough to hold about ten people across. This is where most of the students in the cafeteria fled, led by Dave. The staircase winds around, so that as you mount the first stair, the library is to your left. But when you get to the top of the staircase, you step into a wide hallway, with the library on your right. This can be very confusing as you are reading witness reports or other descriptions of the events. This diagram shows just one of the landings, where one of the turns is made. See the following diagram where the landings are shown more clearly.

Library Close-up & West Entrance

The library is the portion of the brown area so labeled (bounded by the thick blue-green border). All the shapes within it correspond to physical objects, drawn to scale (and shape), with their location. These account for all the significant furniture in the room (but not chairs around the tables). The brown rectangles are tables; the thinner white ones with crossed lines are bookshelves. The iconic curved green windows line the left side. The killers entered the doorway shown at the top right of the room. Other exits are shown as well. All the tables are designated consistently by number/letter in more detailed diagrams.

The diagram also shows two of the three major entrances to the school. The student entrance from the previous diagram appears here for reference, even though it's on the first floor, and this is a diagram of the second. It is the quasi-rectangular object in white with a kind of fuzzy outline, at the bottom, almost to the far right, protruding from the brown. (There is also a green patch just to its right.)

Columbine is built on a hill, which rises up from bottom to top along the left side of the diagram in the green (grassy) area. The rounded white strip which makes a 90 degree turn to the right is the sidewalk. The hashmarks within it represent the external stairs, which rise the equivalent of one level of the building. That is why the second major entrance, labeled in purple as "West Entrance" is on the second floor. (It's near the top of the diagram, 3/4 of the way to the right. The sidewalk leads to it.)

 

This is where Eric and Dylan entered the building. They had been shooting outside moments earlier, firing downward along the cafeteria windows on the first floor. This caused much confusion, with shooters appearing to be on both floors at the same time. It was also just outside the West Entrance that Eric exchanged gunfire with Deputy Gardner just before going inside. From there, you can see the rather short path to the library.

The large internal staircase from the previous diagram is also shown here, to the far right, with its bottom edge exactly in line with the bottom edge of the library. The hash marks again represent stairs, the open spaces are landings, and the handrail running down the middle of the staircase is actually shown. It's a little hard to interpret if you've never been on the staircase, but you enter it at the bottom facing up on the diagram. You then make two right turns as you climb. You come off the stairs onto the brown hallway, with the library to your right (it's to the left while looking at the diagram, since we're facing the opposite direction). This is where Dave Sanders came out and directed students down that brown hallway to their left, away from the library. He eventually went to his right (our left) down the hallway, and made a right turn at the elbow joint into the next brown hallway (so that he was just beginning to move up the diagram). The killers had just entered the building through the West Entrance and were walking down the diagram in that same brown hallway. They shot him as he turned the corner. He fled back around the corner he had just come from, out of site, and was dragged to Science Room 3. (The green arrows in this diagram show how people move up the staircase. They represent witness movements. Dave and his initial path are in yellow.

The edge of the science wing is shown at the very bottom of the diagram. Science rooms 1 (on top) and 2 below it are seen in white, half cut off. Science Room 3, where Dave bled to death, is just outside the diagram, directly below 2.)

Upper level of School

This is the least interesting of these diagrams, but useful to give you a full view of the second (upper) floor. All three major entrances are depicted. The third is the "Main Entrance," which is toward the right side, straight down the brown hallway from the West Entrance. "Main Entrance" can sound misleading to outsiders. It's so named because it is the main entrance for the public (visitors), and the title helps direct them there. It is also where faculty and staff usually enter, as their parking lot is to the right of the building (not shown). The smoker's pit is also off to that side, very close to the teacher's lot. That's where Danny Rohrbough and his friends were headed (going the long way), and where Deputy Gardner was having lunch in the car, watching the smoker's pit. He was radioed a distress signal and drove downward in the diagram, onto Pierce St. (not shown,) and back up into the senior lot, which is not indicated here, but occupies much of the white area in the bottom left, and extends further.

 

The administrative offices, including Frank DeAngelis' office, are very close to that Main Entrance. They are clustered around the smaller yellow object. Frank ran into the hallway, was shot at by the killers just coming in the West Entrance. He saw the girl's gym class just turning into the hallway from the brown spur hallway above it, walking down the hall from the gym. It is the other huge yellow rectangle in the diagram. He shepherded them back toward the gym, unlocked a storage room there, shuttled them inside and locked them in until he returned.

 

The full science wing is visible in this diagram: the white horseshoe-shape cluster to the bottom left. Science Room 3 is the one on the extreme bottom left corner. Its location made the "bleeding" sign in the window easy to spot by witnesses outside. The large white object in the diagram that looks a bit like an accordion, about an inch below the gym, is the auditorium.

Example of More Available

I included this just to give you a sense of the level of detail in most of the other diagrams, which depict each key event. Investigators titled this one "Diagram 81 - Klebold / Harris shoot Depooter, Doyle and Eubanks."

In every diagram, Eric Harris is always in red, labeled with an H, and Dylan Klebold is in blue, with K. The actions depicted in this diagram take place in the bottom left, with witnesses to this event in green, and those injured in this event in yellow. (That is, witnesses to the overall attack are not necessarily colored: just ones who could/did see what is being depicted here.)

 

The ten victims who died in the library are shown here with gray circles and black names (e.g., Steve Curnow and Cassie Bernall near the windows.) This is to provide perspective on where all the murders took place, while using color to indicate what is happening at this moment.

 

The back rooms where four library staff took cover and hid are also partially shown, in silver on the top right.

 
 

Origin story

Columbine book, Parkland, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold

Contact

Dave Cullen
Media Inquiries

© Dave Cullen 2019 / dave@davecullen.com

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"Like Capote's In Cold Blood, this tour de force gets below the who and what of a horrifying incident to lay bare the devastating why."

— People

Birth of a

movement

Parkland Birth of a Movement MFOL March For Our Lives Marjory Stoneman Douglas High fence
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