Another Day of Mourning in Littleton, Colorado
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JIM LEHRER: On the Colorado school shooting, Attorney General Janet Reno said punishment is not enough to prevent school violence. She said young people must be given tools to cope in violent and dangerous times. In Littleton, the last funeral was held for a victim of the attack. Spencer Michels in Denver has our report.
SPENCER MICHELS: Nearly 5,000 mourners gathered in the Heritage Christian Center in Aurora, just East of Denver today, for the funeral of the only African American killed in last week’s massacre.
18-year-old Isaiah Shoels was shot in the head, execution-style, for what witnesses said were racial reasons. A talented athlete, he was the only black in the graduating class at Columbine High School near Littleton.
SPOKESMAN: You know, Isaiah never gave up the fight.
SPENCER MICHELS: This was the final funeral for the thirteen victims of the attack by two fellow students at the high school. At Columbine, where a small memorial specifically to Shoels sits beside a school fence, investigators said they have more than 600 leads in Colorado’s largest-ever criminal probe.
They focused today on how the gunmen obtained a nine-millimeter semiautomatic pistol, a Tec-DC9, one of four guns used in the shooting.
Federal agents visited this pizza shop near the school where they suspect someone who worked here helped Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, also employees, get the pistol. Sheriff Spokesman Steve Davis was asked why the gunmen’s parents had not been interviewed.
STEVE DAVIS, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department: They were represented by counsel now. That is certainly between their attorneys and our investigators.
SPENCER MICHELS: School officials in several states plus Canada and Great Britain reported incidents that authorities say appeared to be so-called copycat crimes based on the Colorado massacre.
The worst one happened in Alberta, Canada, where police say a former ninth-grade student opened fire during a lunch-time break and shot two students, one of whom died.
The suspect was described as an unpopular teenager with a grudge. In Brooklyn, New York, five 13-year-old boys were charged with conspiracy for drawing up a hit list and plotting to bomb their junior high school.
These honor students reportedly downloaded pipe bomb information from the Internet. In Colorado, despite rain, people continued to visit the makeshift memorials put up around Columbine High School.
School officials are trying to find a way to preserve some of this spontaneous outpouring of emotion as a permanent monument to the students and teachers who died here.