Is the trench coat mafia still here?

Columbine: The Mantle Mafia rampage

It was April 20, 1999. And it may turn out to be no random date. That Tuesday, when America witnessed the worst bloodbath in a series of violent acts at its schools, was the birthday of Adolf Hitler, whose evil spirit still attended two teenagers at Columbine High School in Littleton more than half a century after his death Denver may have been so confused that they giggled through their school in an hour-long killing orgy before violating themselves.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, identified by classmates as perpetrators, were 18 and 17 years old and belonged to a small group of outsiders who were ridiculed at the school as the "trench coat mafia" because they all dressed in black trench coats dressed. "They often talked about Hitler and were proud of him," the Denver Post quoted a student who reported swastikas on the group's clothing. They wanted to talk about beheading people in school and were fans of the shock rocker Marilyn Manson.

As a student inconspicuous

Teachers said they had no particular problem with them. Chris McCaffrey, the manager of Angie's Restaurant near Columbine High School, said the "trench coat mafia" had been known in the area for years. Nobody felt threatened by them, because they were actually just harmless "boys that nobody wanted to have anything to do with. They weren't particularly feared, they were just a small bunch of punks who lounged around the school."

The trail to Hitler, the demon of the 20th century, is an early attempt to explain the inexplicable that began on Tuesday in this small town just outside Denver around 11.30 a.m. and for the first time in a long time the war for Kosovo made headlines repressed. The two youngsters, in black trench coats and black ski masks, came out of the parking lot with semi-automatic weapons and entered the school through a back entrance. From the ground floor they first went up one floor to the library, where they began their murderous and suicidal rampage. "They went around and laughed when they shot someone," said the student Joshua Lapp, who, like the others, tried to hide under a table. "They shot at the students under the tables. You heard a shot, you heard someone scream, then another shot and again screams, then silence. After half an hour they went out." When it became clear what was going on, students hid and barricaded themselves in toilets, in classrooms, even in closets.

In the cafeteria, right under the library, where the "trench coat mafia" used to meet after school, the black masked men continued their massacre. Students reported that they wanted to kill the good athletes in school and people of color above all. "When they came in they said if there were 'jocks' they would be dead. Thank goodness I didn't have a baseball cap on," said one student. "Jocks" is the expression for good athletes.

More than three hours after the start of the nightmare, the police initially found 15 bodies of students and teachers and those of the two perpetrators who apparently committed suicide in the library after they had committed the bloodshed. A third suspect, who could have been in league with the perpetrators from outside the school building, was arrested.

The school was riddled with explosives

Several explosives detonated in the spacious building, in which 1,800 students could go about their work in peace until Tuesday. The two of the "trench coat mafia" left behind at least a dozen explosive devices, self-made pipe bombs with time fuses. Some had not yet exploded when the police found them, and forensics was reluctant to move forward for fear of further bomb traps. More than 100 investigators tried on Wednesday to get a more detailed picture of the events. After Sheriff John Stone had spoken of probably 25 fatalities the night before, the number was initially corrected to 15 or 16 yesterday. At least 20 people were injured, some seriously. One girl was found fully conscious with nine upper body wounds. Desperate parents gathered in front of the school to learn about the fate of their children.