At 11:18, the school stood intact. Some kids had already made it through the lunch lines and were strolling outside, settling onto the lawn for a little picnic. No sign of disturbance. The timing devices were not precise. No digital readouts with seconds counting down in red numerals; they were old-fashioned clocks with a third little alarm hand positioned two-fifths of the way between the 3 and the 4. But they should have blown by now. Hundreds of targets streamed out the student entrance. They hopped into their cars and zipped away. Time for Plan B. There was no Plan B. Eric had staggering confidence in himself. He left no indication that he planned for contingencies. Dylan left no indication that he planned much of anything. They could just proceed to Act II: mow the departers down in a cross fire and advance on the exits as scripted. They still could have topped McVeigh. But they didn't. The bomb failure appears to have rattled one of the boys. No one observed what happened next. Either boy might have panicked, but Eric was unflappable, the reverse of his partner. The physical evidence also points to Dylan. Eric apparently acted swiftly to retrieve his emotional young partner. We don't know whether they employed their hand signals, or how they came together. We know that Eric was in the prime location yet abandoned it to come to Dylan's. And Eric moved quickly. Within two minutes, Eric had figured out that the bombs had failed, grabbed his packs, crossed the lot to Dylan's car, rushed with him to the building, and climbed the external stairs to the west exit. That's the first place they were observed, at 11:19. Their new position set them on the highest point on campus, where they could survey both lots and all the exits on that side of the building. But it took them away from their primary target: the student entrance, still disgorging students. They could no longer triangulate or advance aggressively without separating. At 11:19 they opened the duffel bags at the top of the stairs, pulled out the shotguns, and strapped them to their bodies. They locked and loaded the semiautomatics. One of them yelled, "Go! Go!" Somebody, almost certainly Eric, opened fire. Eric wheeled around and shot at anyone he could see. Dylan cheered him on. He rarely fired. They hit pedestrians among the trees, picnickers to the south, kids coming up the stairs to the east. They tossed pipe bombs down the stairs, into the grass, and onto the roof. And they shared a whole lot of hoots and howls and hearty laughs. What a freaking wild time. Rachel Scott and her friend Richard Castaldo were the first down. They had been eating their lunch in the grass. Eric shot Richard in the arms and torso. He hit Rachel in the chest and head. Rachel died instantly. Richard played dead. Eric fell for it. Danny and his smoking buddies Lance Kirklin and Sean Graves were headed up the dirt path toward the stairs. They saw the gunmen firing, but assumed it was a paintball game or a senior prank. It looked like fun. They rushed straight toward the shooters, to get closer to the action. Danny got out ahead, making it halfway up the stairs. Eric pivoted and fired his carbine rifle. A shot tore through Danny's left knee: in the front and out the back. He stumbled and began to fall. Eric fired again and again. As Danny collapsed, he took a second bullet to the chest, and a third to the abdomen. The upper round went straight through him as well, causing severe trauma to his heart. It stopped pumping immediately. The third shot lacerated his liver and stomach, causing major organ damage and lodging inside. Lance tried to catch Danny, but realized he had been hit, too, multiple times, in the chest, leg, knee, and foot. Danny's face hit the concrete sidewalk. Death was almost instantaneous. Lance went down on the grass. He blacked out, but continued to breathe. Sean burst out laughing. He was sure it was paintball. They were part of the game now. Sean felt a shot zip by his neck. It left a cool breeze in its wake. He felt a couple of pricks, like an IV needle being pulled out. He did not realize he had been shot. He looked around. Both his friends were down. Pain signals reached Sean's brain. It felt like someone had kicked him in the back. He ran back for the door they had come out. He nearly made it. But the pain overcame him, his legs gave out, and he collapsed. He couldn't feel his legs anymore. He could not understand what had happened. He seemed to have been shot by a tranquilizer gun. Eric turned again and spotted five kids under a clump of pines in the grass. He fired, and the kids took off running. One fell. He played dead, too. Another took a hit but kept on running. The last three got away clean. The shooters kept moving. Lance regained consciousness. He felt someone hovering above him. He reached up toward the guy, tugged on his pant leg, and cried for help. "Sure, I'll help," the gunman said. The wait seemed like forever to Lance. He described the next event as a sonic blast that twisted his face apart. He watched chunks of it fly away. Breaths came rapidly: air in, blood out. He faded out again. Dylan made his way down the hill, toward Sean. Several people in the cafeteria saw him coming. Someone ran out, grabbed Sean, and started dragging him in. An adult stopped him. She said it was dangerous to move a seriously injured person. Sean ended up propped in the entrance, with the door pressed against him. Someone tried to step over him on the way out, planted a foot into Sean's back, and said, "Oh, sorry, dude." A janitor came by and reassured Sean. He held Sean's hand, said he would stay with him, but he had to help kids escape first. He advised Sean to play dead. Sean did. Dylan fell for it again, or pretended to. He stepped right over Sean's crumpled body and walked inside. A stampede was under way in there. The lunch crowd had panicked. Most took cover under tables; some ran for the stairs. Coach Sanders heard the commotion in the faculty lounge and ran toward the danger. "I don't think he even thought about it," his daughter Angela said later. "His instinct was to save his kids." Dave burst into the commons and tried to take charge. Two custodians followed him to assist. Sanders directed students to get down. He rethought that pretty quickly and yelled, "Run!" Sanders looked around. There were exits in three directions, but most of them looked bad. There was one plausible option: across the commons and up the wide concrete stairway to the second floor. No telling what was up there, but anything was better than this. Sanders led the way. He ran across the open room unprotected, waving his arms to get the kids' attention and yelling for them to follow. The tables offered little true protection, but they felt a lot safer. It was scary out in the open. The kids trusted Coach Sanders, though. A wave of students swelled behind Sanders. Most of the 488 people in the commons followed him toward the stairs. He bolted to the top and spun around to direct traffic. To the left! To the left! He sent them all down the corridor toward the east exit, away from the senior parking lot. "The whole time he was just saving people," a student said. "He took me and just pushed me into a room." Some students stopped to warn others; some just ran. Someone ran into the choir room and yelled, "There's a gun!" Half the kids took cover; the other half fled. A few doors down, in Science Room 3, students were immersed in a chemistry test. They heard something like rocks being thrown against the windows, but the teacher assumed it was a prank. Stay seated and concentrate on your test, he said. ____ Dave Sanders stayed behind until every kid had passed. The tail end of the mob was just pushing its way to the stairs as Dylan stepped inside the cafeteria. There were twenty-four steps. About a hundred kids were caught on the staircase, racing for cover on the second floor. They were wedged between each other and the steel railings. Nowhere to take cover. They were arrayed at different heights for easy access. Crouching was not an option--anyone attempting to stop would get trampled. The cafeteria was roughly one hundred feet wide. Dylan was in easy firing range. One or two pipe bombs or one burst from his TEC-9 would have halted the entire advance. Dylan took a few steps in, lifted his weapon up to firing position. This was the second time since setting the timers that Dylan separated from Eric. For the second time, Dylan appeared to lose his nerve. He swept his rifle in an arc across the room. He watched the students disappear up the stairs. He did not fire. He had only engaged his weapon a few times. Dylan looked around, then turned and stepped back over Sean in the doorway. The heavy door whacked Sean hard again in its grip. Dylan rejoined Eric at the top of the stairs. It's not clear why Dylan made his cafeteria excursion. Many have speculated that he came down to see what went wrong with the bombs. But he never went near them. He made no attempt at detonation. It's more likely that Eric sent him in to check for opportunities and rev up the body count. Dylan did nothing on his own, but Eric amused himself heartily at the top of the stairs, shooting, laughing, and hurling pipe bombs. He spotted a junior named Anne Marie Hochhalter getting up from the curb to make a run for it. Eric hit her with a 9mm round. She kept running, and he hit her again. This time she went down. A friend picked her up, dragged her to the building, and got her out of Eric's sight. Then he let go of her and ran. He ducked behind a car in the senior lot, and a pipe bomb exploded where Anne Marie had first collapsed. "This is awesome!" one of the killers yelled. By the time Dylan rejoined Eric, they had used up all the easy targets. Everybody caught outside had run like crazy or hidden. One last pack was still in the open. These students had fled across the senior lot, climbed over the chain-link fence, and were racing across the soccer field near the base of Rebel Hill. Eric had a go at them. They were too far. Not out of range, just too hard to hit. Dylan fired at the distant targets, too, bringing his total shot count up to five. It was 11:23. The killers had enjoyed four heady minutes. ____ Deputy Gardner was the first officer alerted. The custodian radioed Gardner as soon as he started the new surveillance tape and caught sight of kids near the windows. The custodian sounded scared. The first 911 call came through to Jeffco at the same time. A girl was injured in the senior parking lot. "I think she's paralyzed," the caller said. The dispatch hit the police band at 11:23, just as Gardner drove around the building to the commons and Dylan rejoined Eric at the top of the stairs. "Female down," the dispatcher said. Gardner saw smoke rising and kids running. He heard gunshots and explosions and a flurry of dispatches on his radio. He couldn't quite tell where the commotion was coming from. ____ Four minutes into the mayhem, much of the student body was oblivious. Hundreds were running for their lives, but more sat quietly in class. Many heard the commotion; few sensed any danger. Most found it annoying. The chaos and the solitude went on side by side, often only yards apart. As Dave Sanders ushered kids to the commons staircase, part-time art teacher Patti Nielson paced above him on hall-monitor duty. Sanders herded the lunch crowd up the stairwell toward her, but then down a parallel hallway. Nearly five hundred kids charged the length of the building. Nielson never saw or heard them. She heard the racket outside, though. Some kids ran up saying they heard gunfire. Nielson was annoyed. It was a prank, obviously, or a video shoot. It had gone on far too long. She looked down the corridor to the west exit. Through the large glass panes in the doors she could see a boy with his back to her. He had a gun. He was firing it into the senior lot. She assumed it was a prop, a loud one, and totally inappropriate. Nielson stormed down the hallway to tell him to knock it off. A junior named Brian tagged along to watch. They approached the exit just as the shooters ran out of targets. There were two sets of doors there, separated by an air lock. Nielson and Brian passed the first set and reached for the second handles. Eric spotted them. He turned, raised the rifle to his shoulder, aimed at Nielson, and smiled. Then he fired. The glass shattered, but the bullet missed. Nielson still thought it was a BB gun. Then she saw the size of the hole. "Dear God!" she screamed. "Dear God! Dear God!" She turned to run. He fired again. Another miss, but glass and metal shards and possibly a grazing bullet tore through the back of her shoulder. It burned. Brian had turned, too. Nielson heard him grunt, saw him lurch forward. His back arched, his arms flared, and he hit the floor hard. That looked bad, but he got right up onto his hands and knees to scurry back through the first doors. It was shrapnel, just like hers. She got down, too, and they crawled the short distance back to the first doors. They got one partially open and squeezed through. Once they had that door behind them, they rose to their feet and ran. Nielson was desperate for a phone. The library seemed like an obvious destination. It was just around the corner, spanning most of the south hallway, behind a glass wall. Nielson saw dozens of kids milling about inside, plainly visible to the shooters she pictured on her heels. She never looked back to see. Nielson ran into the library to warn them. "There's a kid with a gun!" she yelled. There were no adults. That surprised Nielson. Teacher Rich Long had rushed in moments before, yelled at everyone to get out, and then fled to warn others. Patti Nielson had the opposite instinct. She ordered them down. Then Nielson grabbed the phone behind the counter and punched in 9-911. She concentrated on details, like the extra 9 for an outside line. Don't waste a second! Nielson expected the shooter to arrive any moment now. But Eric was not following. He had been distracted. Deputy Gardner had pulled into the lot with lights flashing and siren blaring. Gardner had stepped out of his car, still confused about what he was walking into. Eric opened fire. He got off ten rounds, all misses. Dylan did nothing. Gardner took cover behind his police car. Eric didn't even hit that. Then his rifle jammed. Eric fought to clear the chamber. Dylan fled into the school. Gardner saw his opening. He laid his pistol across the roof and squeezed off four shots. Eric spun around like he'd been hit. Neutralized, Gardner thought. What a relief. Seconds later, Eric was firing again. It was a short burst; then he retreated inside. It was 11:24. The outside ordeal lasted five minutes. Eric did most of the shooting. He fired his 9mm rifle forty-seven times in that period and did not use his shotgun. Dylan got just three shots off with the TEC-9 handgun and two with his shotgun. They headed down the hallway toward the library. ____ Dave Sanders heard the shots when Eric fired on Patti Nielson. Coach Sanders ran toward the gunfire. He passed the library entrance just moments after Nielson ran in. He spotted the killers at the other end of the hallway. He wheeled around and ran for the corner. A boy peeked out of the choir room just in time to see him flee. Sanders wasn't just running for it, he was trying to clear students out of the line of fire. "Get down!" he yelled.