Nearly 17 years after the tragic Columbine High School shootings took place in Jefferson County, Colorado, Dylan Klebold’s mother is finally ready to speak out.
Sue Klebold sat down with Diane Sawyer for a special edition of 20/20 on Friday, February 12, in which she admitted that she’s had to come to terms with a lot of things since Eric Harris and her son, then both high school seniors, shot and killed 12 fellow students and a teacher, wounded 24 others, and finally shot themselves. Dylan was 17, Harris was 18.
“There is never a day that goes by where I don’t think of the people that Dylan harmed,” she said, adding that, “It is very hard to live with the fact that someone you loved and raised has brutally killed people in such a horrific way.”
On April 20, 1999, Dylan and Harris walked into Columbine High School carrying weapons and homemade bombs and began shooting up the campus. Harris also later shot and killed himself.
For Sue, the incident came as a shock. She told Sawyer that she had been at work that day when she received a call from her husband Tom, who said there was an emergency at school.
“His voice sounded horrible, jagged and breathless … ‘Something terrible is going on at the school,’” Sue recalled. “You always think somebody’s making a mistake. My first thought was Dylan may be in danger, you know, ‘Who are these people that are hurting people?’”
Shortly after she raced home, she learned that her son was believed to be one of the killers.
“The police were there and helicopters were going over,” Sue continued. “And I remember thinking, ‘If this is true, if Dylan is really hurting people, he has to … somehow he has to be stopped.’ And at that moment, I prayed that he would die, that, ‘God, stop this, just make it stop. Don’t let him hurt anybody.’”
Sue’s memoir about the attacks, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, will be out on February 15, and profits from the book will go toward research and charitable foundations focusing on mental health issues.
“I think we like to believe that our love and our understanding is protective, and that ‘If anything were wrong with my kids, I would know,’” she said. “But I didn’t know, and it’s very hard to live with that.”
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