Dylan Bennet Klebold (September 11th, 1981 - April 20th, 1999) was an American high school senior who, along with friend Eric Harris, committed the Columbine High School massacre. The pair killed 13 people and injured 24 others before dying of self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head feet away from ten of their victims. In 2016, after hiding from the media for seventeen years, Dylan's mother Susan wrote and published a book entitled A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, in which she talked about coming to grips with how Dylan was able to hide his suicidal tendencies and his plans to attack Columbine. She is now an advocate for suicide awareness.

Background[edit | edit source]

Dylan was born in Lakewood, Colorado, to Thomas and Susan Klebold (née Yassenoff). His parents were pacifists and attended a Lutheran church with their children. Both Dylan and his older brother Byron attended confirmation classes in accordance with the Lutheran tradition. Just like Byron, Dylan was named after a famous poet (Dylan Thomas).

At home, the Klebolds also observed some rituals in keeping with Tom's maternal grandfather's Jewish heritage. Dylan attended Normandy Elementary school in Littleton, Colorado for the first two grades before transferring to Governor's Ranch Elementary and and becoming part of the CHIPS ("Challenging High Intellectual Potential Students") program. He found the transition to Ken Caryl Middle School difficult. During his early years, Dylan was very active in sports, playing T-ball, baseball, and soccer. He was also in Cub Scouts with friend Brooks Brown, a boy he had been friends with since first grade. While in the 7th or 8th grade, Dylan met another friend, Eric Harris, and the two hit it off. As it turned out, Brooks' house was near the newly bought home of Eric's family; and Brooks rode the same bus as Eric to Ken Caryl. Soon, Eric introduced Dylan to his friend Nathan "Nate" Dykeman (who also attended Ken Caryl Middle School), and all three of the boys became good friends.

All three began attending Columbine as freshmen in 1995, and the high school had recently undergone a $15 million dollar makeover. They were in the first class to see the new look of the cafeteria and student entrance.

Dylan Klebold with Brooks Brown in Cub Scouts.

While at Columbine, Dylan was active in the school play productions as a light and sound coordinator, he was also enrolled in a video productions class and Columbine High School's Rebel News Network. He made a few videos with Nate, and was lauded for helping out during Rachel Scott's (the first victim of the Columbine High School massacre) performance of "Watch the Lamb". When the music failed, Dylan provided a backup tape so the play could go on. He was also a computer assistant and helped maintain the school computer server, even though he would later get in trouble for hacking into the same server with Eric Harris and a few friends. Dylan was known for playing Fantasy Baseball on a regular basis; other friends even heard him talking about the plays that would be happening the week of 4/20, but he apparently gave them no indication that he wouldn't be alive after that Tuesday.

Dylan during prom.

Neighbors of the Klebolds described them as nice people, a picture-perfect family. Sherry Higgins, mother of a friend of Dylan and Eric says she was told that the teens' 'Hitmen for Hire' video that they made about killing bullies to avenge the weak at Columbine was a "bang-bang Dick Tracy" type spoof that they were trying to put together. Higgins admitted it should have alarmed her that something was not right in Dylan's world.

Planning for Columbine[edit | edit source]

Acquiring the Weapons[edit | edit source]

Dylan's Stevens 311-D sawn-off shotgun and TEC-DC9 semi-automatic handgun used in the Columbine massacre.

Both Dylan and Eric Harris were employed at a local pizzeria known as Black Jack Pizza, and befriended Phillip Duran. Duran was a Columbine graduate, and introduced the pair to a friend named Mark Manes, who agreed to sell the pair a TEC-DC9 semi-automatic handgun for $500. Dylan persuaded his friend Robyn Anderson (at the time 18 years old) to legally purchase two shotguns and a 9mm rifle at a gun store. After both teens acquired the four guns, they went shooting in the mountains with Mark Manes, his girlfriend, and Phillip Duran (this footage is known as The Rampart Range home video).

Dylan's Mischief[edit | edit source]

Together, Eric and Dylan got into much mischief months leading up to the Columbine massacre.

At school, Dylan occasionally swore at teachers and was even suspended along with Eric Harris and another student for hacking into the school's server in order to acquire locker combinations which they used to place a threatening note in an enemy's locker. According to Nate Dykeman, both Harris and Klebold helped themselves without permission to Columbine's technology, stealing parts of computers. Tom Klebold, Dylan's father, once made his son return a stolen laptop computer. In Dylan's bowling class, friends would often hear Eric yell the words 'Heil Hitler' every time the pair rolled a good ball. Tom Klebold later stated he "didn't know where the Nazi stuff or the violence came from". Nate Dykeman claimed that on occasion he would see Eric sketch swastikas but Dylan never did; it should be noted that it would seem out of character for a Jewish-born boy to support the Nazi movement. Dykeman later told police that he had seen Dylan paying co-worker Phillip Duran something like $200-$300 behind Blackjack Pizza. He initially believed Dylan was buying drugs, and Dykeman himself being staunchly against drugs, gave Dylan a hard time about it.

Dylan eventually admitted that he was actually buying a gun, most likely the TEC-DC9 which Mark Manes supplied with Duran's help as go-between.

Dylan in "I'm not ashamed" (2016)

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