Series: Columbine Then & Now

Columbine Memorial
Leigh Paterson / KUNC

For generations, many activists who have called for stricter gun regulations can point to a mass shooting that spurred them to act. Movements sprung from Sandy Hook, the Pulse nightclub shooting, Parkland — and the list continues to grow.

Columbine was no different.

Columbine High School
Leigh Paterson / KUNC

It looks a lot like any other high school: blue lockers, fluorescent overhead lights, kids carrying musical instruments and gym bags.

But Columbine High School's history as a site of a deadly school shooting sets it apart. Some of the changes are physical — the building has a new library to replace the old one, where a majority of the students were killed that day. Now, a plaque is mounted at the library's entrance, dedicated to the 13 victims.

Evan Todd
Leigh Paterson / KUNC

Evan Todd still has sharp memories of April 20, 1999. As a sophomore at Columbine High School, he was in the library with his friends on that cool, sunny morning, attempting to write a paper but really just goofing off, throwing around wads of paper.

In an instant everything changed. Todd described an explosion, smoke, and then pops of gunfire echoing through the hallways. He felt a rush of adrenaline as panic set in around him.