12 conspiracy theories about the Columbine High School massacre

From the ridiculous to the thought-provoking: a roundup of Columbine conspiracy theories and weird odds 'n ends.

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, seniors at Columbine High School, went on a rampage that ended with 12 classmates, one teacher, and the two shooters dead. For the most part, the mainstream media ate up the story of two maladjusted teenagers going berserk on prescription pills and video games. News stories about bullying, goth culture, and gun control ran for months.

What you didn’t hear was startling evidence that some authorities may have been trying to hide. Were more people involved than just Eric and Dylan? Were they just pawns in a much larger game? Read on and decide for yourself in this roundup of conspiracy theories and weird odds ‘n ends related to the Columbine shooting.

Police shooters

One of the most shocking accounts from that day was the allegation of police officers shooting victims. In the chaos of the rampage, it’s conceivable that a police officer or officers could have accidentally shot, killed, or wounded innocent Columbine students.

But when an AP writer claimed to have found ballistic reports indicating that six of the 13 victims were possibly shot by police officers, several of the victims’ parents became enraged. However, when the official report emerged, it contradicted the AP story; the parents who previously suspected the police of shooting their kids ultimately agreed that Harris or Klebold had most likely done all the shooting.

Third shooter

On the day of the massacre, at least 30 witnesses said they saw a young man with long hair, pervasive acne, and a gangly, 6’6″ frame. Many could even put a name on the face — Robert Perry, a 1997 Columbine alum and an original member of the Eric and Dylan’s informal Trenchcoat Mafia club. Though identified by several students in police interviews, Perry was never charged.

Several other names of possible additional shooters that the police have redacted from eyewitness accounts.

Revenge on cops

Klebold wrote in Harris’s 1998 yearbook, “killing cops!!! My wrath for January’s incident will be God like!” This quote supposedly refers to a January arrest of the two young shooters made by a local policeman.

Pipe bombers

Several witnesses recounted seeing two or so men tossing pipe bombs near the library while Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were seen firing shots in another part of the school. (FBI Special Agent Matthew S. Harris says that a student reported seeing the bombs go off.) Several days later, the Jefferson county DA publicly speculated that others were involved. While this corroborated the eyewitness accounts, no bombs have ever been found.

Drugged out

It will never be known how large a part prescription drugs played in the Columbine massacre. Eric Harris was taking SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, in the years leading up to the events of April 20th. According to Time Magazine, he took Luvox, a medication known to have adverse side effects, such as increased aggression, violence and anxiety. Several students reported seeing Klebold taking medication such as Paxil and Zoloft, as well.

Anti-gun conspiracy theory: the cops

Second Amendment rights — “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” — have long been a hot button topic. In the months leading up to the massacre, Colorado was edging towards legalizing a concealed carry law, but after the tragedy, that plan was put on hold.

Indeed, Columbine became a watch word of the anti-second amendment PR machine, leading some skeptics to believe there was a conspiracy within the gun control movement to use the memory of the crime for political gain.


There are reports of a basement video tape of the two shooters taken shortly before their deaths. It’s rumored that, on the tape, Dylan confesses to Eric that he’s half-Jewish. This may not have gone over too well with Harris, who dabbled in anti-Semitism. The conspiracy theory then goes that the position of Klebold’s guns in relation to his body make suicide an impossible option, and that Harris shot Klebold before he took his own life with the shotgun.


While no hard evidence exists to support the theory that the Trenchcoat Mafia were associated with the Aryan brotherhood, Harris’s sketchbook did contain a shocking amount of swastikas. Some more imaginative conspiracy theorists believe that Eric and Dylan were in fact devotees of the late Adolf Hitler. The reason? April 20, the day of the massacre, was Hitler’s birthday.

The mysterious informant

Students are bused away from Columbine High School after they escaped from the school with police assistance. (Shaun Stanley/The Denver Post)

At 9:55am, roughly 90 minutes before the start of shooting, a phone call came through the switchboard of a nearby hospital — which would later treat many of the victims — tipping off the facility to expect gunshot victims as a mass shooting was occurring in Denver. Although conspiracy sites quoted an unnamed employee who claimed to have been nearby when the call came in, no one (else) has stepped forward to substantiate this claim.

Armed guard

Several accounts and news groups around the net talk about an “armed guard” who was seen returning fire from the murderers. But although Columbine did in fact have a school safety officer at the school, he called in sick the day of the shooting. There seems to be no evidence to corroborate the rumor.

The prophecy

According to eyewitnesses, after the first victim, Rachel Scott, was shot by Eric Harris, he asked her if she still believed in God. Harris replied, yes she did, and that her writings would allow her message live forever. This prediction turned out to be tragically prophetic — since her death, a nationwide student outreach program, Rachel’s Challenge, has spread a message to help prevent teen violence. Could Rachel have had a vision of the future?

HAARP and the New World Order

Some evidence points to significant magnetic spikes in HAARP’s reports during the times of the massacre. These rumors have validated the ideas of the most ardent of believers that the New World Order, tied to the mysterious HAARP program, was behind Columbine. In the chess game that is the rise of the NWO, Columbine functions as a brutally elegant approach to infecting the public with just enough fear and disorientation so that they will accept anti-gun laws, allow themselves to be disarmed, and thus be easily controlled.

Harris and Klebold obviously had no idea what kind of sick new world they were creating…