The Jefferson County sheriff's office was investigating the leak of crime-scene photographs of the dead Columbine High School gunmen that were to be published in the
The Boca Raton, Fla.-based supermarket tabloid announced it will publish the pictures in Friday's edition. Editor-in-chief David Perel said a story headlined, "How the Two High School Gunmen Really Died," will also run with the color photographs.
They reportedly show Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold dead from self-inflicted gunshot wounds in the school library after the April 20, 1999 shootings.
Twelve students, a teacher and the gunmen died in the nation's worst school shooting.
Perel refused to say how he got the pictures or whether he paid for them.
"These images bring home in living color the fact that there's nothing romantic about an act like this," Perel said. "These people met a brutal end. It's never an easy call to make when you show images as powerful and gripping as these. It's certainly going to have people talking around the country for weeks."
Sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Tallman said the source of the leak has not been found and county officials will ask the tabloid not to run them.
"I don't believe that will have any impact on what they choose to do," she said.
Brian Rohrbough, whose 15-year-old son Daniel died in the shootings, said he does not oppose their publication.
"My first thought is that this is how Klebold and Harris should be remembered," he said. "But the other thought is that Jeffco should not have leaked these photos."
Columbine High School principal Frank DeAngelis notified his staff Wednesday of the impending publication. He also was preparing an automated phone message for all parents "just to give them a heads-up," said Rick Kaufman, spokesman for Jefferson County
Perel said the decision to publish the pictures came after much discussion.
The determining factors were the absence of victims in the photos and the news value of the accompanying story, which addresses a theory that Klebold may have been killed by Harris.
Investigators said Klebold was found with his TEC-DC9 pistol
in his right hand, though he was left-handed and was found with an
apparent gunshot wound to his left temple.
Tallman said the
investigator erred in describing Klebold as still having a grip on
his gun. She said his right hand landed on the gun after he shot himself.
7NEWS analyzed the crime scene reports and said that the documents from the high school shooting investigation make it clear that Klebold was holding a gun in his right hand when he fell for the last time, and the gun was found under his right leg.
For more than two years, Jefferson County investigators have maintained that the murderous rampage through Columbine ended at about 12:08 p.m., when Eric Harris and Klebold turned their guns on themselves and committed suicide in the school library.
Sources said that it's hard to picture how he could have shot himself in the left temple, and it's even harder to see how he could have shot himself in the head and still held on to the gun as he fell so that it would land under his right leg.
If Klebold did not kill himself, then new questions are unanswered, including what Harris did between the time Klebold died and Harris' own suicide, as well as if a quicker response by authorities might have prevented some violence if the shootings ended later than officials had earlier stated, 7NEWS reported.
Klebold's autopsy, which may help clear the discrepancy, has not been released at the request of his parents.
- May 16, 2002: Jeffco School Superintendent Quitting
- April 17, 2002: Officer Cleared Of Columbine Student's Death
- March 6, 2002: Jeffco Sheriff Probes Leaked Columbine Photos
- January 31, 2002: Wounded Columbine Student Carries Olympic Torch
- January 31, 2002: Columbine Federal Grand Jury Denied
- January 23, 2002: Police Officer: Tapes Prove He Didn't Kill Student
- January 23, 2002: Judge Rejects Request To Reinstate Columbine Lawsuits
- January 14, 2002: DA Requests Coroner's Inquest In Columbine Death
- January 11, 2002: Columbine Parent Releases Ballistics Report
- January 9, 2002: Deputy Fired For Columbine Statements
- January 8, 2002: Rohrboughs Ask For Columbine Grand Jury
- January 4, 2002: Owens Asks DA To Reconsider Columbine Grand Jury
- January 3, 2002: U.S. Attorney Refuses To Convene Columbine Grand Jury
- January 3, 2002: Tape Disputes Sheriff's Columbine Account
- December 27, 2001: Court Filing Names Denver Officer As Rohrbough's Killer
- December 12, 2001: 3 Families Want Columbine Suits Separated
- December 7, 2001: Columbine Gunman's Parents 'Horrified' By Diary Release
- December 5, 2001: Journal: Columbine Attack Planned For A Year
- November 27, 2001: Judge Throws Out Columbine Lawsuits
- September 7, 2001: Teens Arrested For Columbine-Related Internet Threat
- September 4, 2001: Klebolds Talk In New Book About Parenting
- August 28, 2001: Guilty Plea Entered In Columbine-Style Attack Plot
- August 24, 2001: Gun Supplier Wants Columbine Lawsuit Dismissed
- August 15, 2001: Columbine Survivors 'Pedal For Peace'
- July 12, 2001: Columbine Gunman May Not Have Shot Himself
- June 28, 2001: Man Who Sold Columbine Gun Paroled
- June 19, 2001: Columbine Crime Scene Evidence Released
- June 14, 2001: Columbine Parent Arrested After Protest
- May 24, 2001: Family: Columbine Victim Shot By Police
- May 22, 2001: 'No Obligation' To Release Columbine Info, Sheriff Says
- May 18, 2001: Columbine Commission Releases Report
- May 10, 2001: Audio Experts Review Columbine Dispatch Tape
- May 8, 2001: Sheriff Won't Answer New Questions About Columbine Investigation
- May 7, 2001: Tape Suggests Police Knew Columbine Shooter Before Attack
- May 7, 2001: Columbine Families Settle With Anderson
- April 27, 2001: Teen Murdered In Subway Shop Robbery
- April 27, 2001: Sheriffs Ask Judge To Dismiss Columbine Lawsuits
- April 20, 2001: Columbine Families Reach Settlement
- April 15, 2001: Columbine Principal Still Feels Effects Of Shootings
- April 13, 2001: Columbine Interviews Released, Grand Jury Requested
- April 11, 2001: Newly Released Columbine Documents Spark Criticism
- April 2, 2001: No School On Columbine Anniversary
- March 13, 2001: Investigators Check Out Lead In Columbine Students' Murders
- March 6, 2001: Columbine Parents Surprised That Shooting Warnings Were Ignored
Copyright Copyright 2002 by TheDenverChannel.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.