Danny Rohrbough had been second to die. As Eric was taking aim at him on the sidewalk, Danny's stepsister was in the building, headed toward him. Nicole Petrone had changed into her gym uniform while the bombs were being laid. It was a beautiful day, and her class was going outside to play softball. Just as Eric finished shooting at Deputy Gardner, the lead girls in Nicole's class turned the corner toward them. Mr. D arrived in the hallway at the same moment--at the opposite end from the killers. He had just been alerted to the shooting, and had come running to investigate. The girls had not been warned. Mr. D spotted Dylan and Eric coming in the west doors, and the girls blundering into their path. "They were laughing and giggling and getting ready to walk right into it," he said. The killers fired. Bullets soared past the girls. The trophy case just behind Mr. D shattered. "I assumed I was a dead man," he said. He ran straight into the gunfire, screaming at the girls to turn back. He herded them down a side hallway that dead-ended at the gym. It was locked. Mr. D had the key, on a chain in his pocket, latched to dozens just like it. He had no idea what it looked like. "I'm thinking, He's coming around the corner and we're trapped," DeAngelis said. "If I don't get these doors open, we are trapped." A movie image zipped through his mind: a Nazi concentration camp, with a guard shooting escapees in the back. We're just going to get mowed down as he comes around the corner, he thought. He reached in and grabbed a random key. It fit. He ushered the girls into the gym and scouted around for a hiding place. They could hear bombs and gunfire and he could only imagine the hell going on outside. He spotted an inconspicuous door on the far wall. There was a storage room behind it, with cages piled with gym equipment. He unlocked the door and led them in. "You're going to be fine," he told them. "I'm not going to let anything happen to you. But I need to get us out of here. I'm going to shut the door behind me. You don't open that door for anyone!" Then he had an idea. Why didn't they come up with a code word? Orange, someone suggested; no, Rebels, another girl said; no... A few started quarreling about it. Mr. D. couldn't believe it. He burst out laughing. Girls started giggling. That broke the tension, for a moment. He locked them in the storeroom, crossed the gym, creaked open the outside door, and poked his head out. "I saw other kids coming out and teachers," he said. "Then a Jeffco sheriff--his car came over that embankment, flying, and I told some of the teachers, 'I have to go back in there! There are kids in there.' So I told the police officer after he got out and I explained. He said, 'You go in.'" Mr. D brought Nicole's class back out to the same spot with the same cop, but by now he'd realized there were hundreds more still inside. "I'm going--" he began, but a deputy cut him off. "No one's going back in." So Mr. D led the class across a field, over a series of minor obstacles. He stopped at a chain-link fence to boost them over. Other girls assisted from the far side. "Let's go, girls," he said. "Over the fence." When the last girl was over, they ran across the field until they felt safe. Mr. D found the command post and drew diagrams of the hallways for the SWAT teams. He also described what he had seen. He remembered a guy with a baseball cap turned backward. "They kept saying these guys were in trench coats," Mr. D recalled later, "and I kept saying, 'These guys were not in trench coats! He had a baseball cap turned backwards.'" Eventually, Mr. D headed to Leawood to be with the kids. He met his wife there, his brother, and a close friend. Tears streamed down everyone's cheeks, except Frank's. That was odd. Frank had always been the emotional one. But the first symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was already taking hold. He felt nothing. "I was like a zombie," he said later. ____ John and Kathy Ireland knew Patrick had "A" lunch. But he always ate out. John went looking for Patrick's car. He knew Patrick's spot. If the car was gone, his boy was safe. A deputy stopped him at the perimeter. "Please!" John begged. He promised not to walk as far as the school. "If I can just get to the parking lot..." Pleading was useless. John knew the neighborhood, so he tried another approach. That one was blocked, too. He headed back to Leawood. Kids kept pouring in there. Mostly the auditorium was filled with parents seeking kids, but there were also kids without parents. John saw several in tears. He chatted with them, and they perked up. John and Kathy were happy to see kids find their parents. But every reunion raised the odds their boy was in trouble. Somebody's kids were in those ambulances. John and Kathy refused to indulge in negative thoughts. "I couldn't go to the place that Pat would have been hurt," Kathy said later. "I absolutely felt confident that he was going to be OK. At least I wasn't going to speculate or waste energy on that. I just needed to find him." John found lots of Patrick's friends, but nobody had seen him. Who was he with? Why hadn't they called? Patrick had gone to the library to finish his stats homework. Four friends had joined him. None of them had called the Irelands because every one of them had been shot. ____ Agent Dwayne Fuselier was also having no luck locating his son. Mimi had given up on the public library and had run over to Leawood. There were many more kids there, but none had seen Brian. Dwayne had access to a growing army of law enforcement, but it didn't do him a lick of good. Cops kept an ear out for word of Brian, but none came. Fuselier also had the advantage of knowing a great number of kids were alive and well in the building. He had spoken to many personally, and continued picking their brains about the killers. He was one of the few parents aware of the full danger. Two bodies had been lying outside the cafeteria for hours. He didn't know they were Danny Rohrbough and Rachel Scott, but he knew they had not been moving, and then he heard the dispatch announcements indicating they were dead. Others described the 1 BLEEDING TO DEATH sign in Science Room 3. Mimi monitored the stage at Leawood, where talk of death and murder were verboten. She scoured the sign-in sheets and worked the crowd. Dwayne checked in every fifteen minutes by cell, but did not mention the murders. She did not inquire. ____ For ninety minutes of chaos, the gunmen seemed to be all over the school simultaneously. Then it quieted down. The killers still appeared to be roaming, firing at will, but the gunfire was sporadic now, and no one was staggering out wounded. The injured had reached the hospitals. It had taken an hour to get most of them out of the building, through the triage center, and into ambulances. Between 1:00 and 2:30 P.M., the injury count fluctuated between eight and eighteen, depending upon which station you were watching. The numbers varied but kept rising. A sheriff's spokesman announced that SWAT teams had spotted more students trapped in the building, lying on the floor, apparently injured. Suddenly, at 1:44 P.M., the cops finally nabbed someone. "We've got three [students], with their hands up with two police cars around them," a reporter told CNN. "Their hands are up." The cops detained them at gunpoint. Word spread quickly to the library. "They surrendered!" a woman screamed. "It's over!" They celebrated there briefly. The truth trickled back slowly. ____ Just before 2:30, an officer riding along in a news chopper spotted somebody moving inside the library. He was just inside the blown-out windows, covered in blood and behaving curiously: sagging against the frame, clearing away shards of glass. He was going to jump! The officer radioed a SWAT team. They revved the Loomis armored truck and raced toward the building. "Hang on, kid!" one of them called. "We're coming to get you." Patrick Ireland was confused. He heard someone yell, but couldn't see anyone or figure out where the voices were coming from. He felt dizzy. His vision was blurry and one big section was blank. He was unaware that blood was streaming down into his eyes. The shouting inside his head was more important: Get out! Get out! But the muddled outside yelling had caught his attention. Why were they talking so slowly? Everything was deep and mumbly, like his head was underwater. Where was he? Not sure. Something had happened, something horrible. Shot? Get out! Get out! Hours earlier, Patrick Ireland had taken refuge under the table with his friends. Makai and Dan were down there, and a girl he didn't know. Corey and Austin had gone to investigate and ended up somewhere unknown. Patrick put his head down and closed his eyes. The shooting was barely under way in the library when he heard Makai moan. Patrick opened his eyes. Makai's knee was bleeding. Patrick leaned over to administer pressure. The top of his head poked over the edge of the tabletop. Dylan saw him, and fired the shotgun again. Patrick went blank. Patrick's skull had stopped several buckshot fragments. Other debris lodged in his scalp as well--probably wood splinters torn from the tabletop in the blast. One pellet got through. It burrowed six inches through spongy brain matter, entering through the scalp just above his hairline on the left, and lodging near the middle rear. Bits of his optical center were missing; most of his language capacity was wiped out. He regained consciousness, but words were hard to form and difficult to interpret as well. Pathways for all sorts of functions had been severed. Perception was impeded, so he couldn't tell when he was speaking gibberish or jumbling incoming sounds. The left brain controls the right side of the body, and the pellet cut through that connection. Patrick was paralyzed on the right side. He had been shot in the right foot; it was broken and bleeding--he didn't even know. He felt nothing on that side. Patrick drifted in and out. He was semiconscious when the killers left the room. All the kids were running for the back exit. Makai and Dan tried to get his attention. He returned a blank stare. "Come on, man," one of them said. "Let's go!" It didn't register. They tried to drag him, but both had been shot in the legs and Patrick was limp. They got nowhere. The killers could return any moment. Eventually, they gave up and fled. Sometime later, Patrick woke up on the floor again. Get out! He tried to get out. Half his body refused. He couldn't stand; he couldn't even crawl right. He reached with his left hand, gripped something, and dragged himself forward. His useless side trailed behind. He made a little progress, and his brain gave out. He came to repeatedly and began again. No one knows how many times. A bloody trail revealed his convoluted path. He started less than two table lengths from the windows, but he headed off in the wrong direction. Then he hit obstacles: bodies, table legs, and chairs. Some he pushed away, others had to be maneuvered around. He kept heading for the light. If he could just make it to the windows maybe someone would see him. If he had to, maybe he would jump. It took three hours to get there. He found an easy chair beside the opening. It was sturdy enough not to tip, and might provide cover if the killers returned. He wedged his back against the short wall and worked himself upward, then grabbed hold of the chair for a final push. He propped himself against the girder between two large panes and rested awhile to recover his strength. Then he flipped around. He had one more task before he took the plunge. The problem was that Patrick couldn't jump. There was a waist-high window ledge to get over. The best he could do was lean forward and tumble over it headfirst onto the sidewalk. His gut would bear down on the sill as he rolled over it. It was a jagged mess. The gun blasts had blown out most of the glass, but left shards clinging around the frame. Patrick stood on one leg, braced his shoulder against the girder, and picked away the chunks with the same hand. He was meticulous. He didn't want to get hurt. That's when he heard the murky voices. "Stay there! We're gonna get you!" The armored truck pulled up beneath the window. A squadron of SWAT officers leapt out. Nearby teams provided cover from either side. One group took aim from behind a fire truck; snipers sprawled on rooftops trained their scopes from farther back. If this rescue mission was fired upon, they'd be ready. Patrick wasn't waiting. He thought he was. He remembers them calling "OK, it's safe! Go ahead and jump. We'll catch you." The rescue team recalls it differently, and the video shows them still scrambling into place. Patrick collapsed forward. The ledge caught him at the waist, and he folded in half, head dangling toward the ground. The SWAT team wasn't ready, but Patrick was frantic and didn't understand. He wiggled forward, but couldn't get much traction from the inside, because his feet were already up off the floor. A SWAT officer clambered up the side of the truck and threw his weapon to the ground. Another followed close behind him. As the first man hit the truck roof, Patrick kicked his good leg up toward the ceiling, and reached down for the sidewalk with his arms. That nearly did it. One more thrust and he would be free. The officers lunged toward him and each man caught one of his hands. Patrick kicked again, completely vertical, and his hips pulled away from the frame. The officers clenched and his hands barely moved. The rest of his body spun around like a gymnast gripping the high bar, until he whacked into the side of the truck. The officers kept hold and eased him down onto the hood. He tried to break away, still desperate to flee. They lowered him down to other officers, but he kicked hard and his legs slammed against the ground. They pulled him upright, and he tried to climb into the front seat. The SWAT team was confused. What was he trying to do? They assumed he understood he was the patient. He did not. He had to get out of there. Here was a truck; he was ready to go. They got him to a triage site, and then straight into an ambulance. On the drive to St. Anthony Central Hospital, paramedics cut off Patrick's bloody clothes--everything but his undershorts. They removed his gold necklace with the water-ski pendant. He had six dollars in his wallet. He was not wearing shoes. They confirmed gunshot wounds to his left forehead and his right foot, as well as a number of superficial wounds about his head. His elbow was lacerated. As they worked, they tested Patrick's mental acuity and tried to keep him conscious. Do you know where you are? Your name? Your birthday? Patrick could answer those questions--slowly, laboriously. The answers were easy, but he struggled to form them into words. Most of his brain tissue was intact. Sections could function in isolation, but the connecting circuitry was confused. Patrick's brain was less successful forming new memories. He knew he had been shot, by a man in black with a long gun. That was true. The masks he described on the killers' faces were not. He insisted he had been shot at a hospital, in the emergency room. Speech was a problem. Only one side of his mouth moved, and his brain was inconsistent in retrieving information. Sometimes it got stuck. He gave them all ten digits of his phone number, but his first name was nearly impossible. Paaaaaaaaaaaaaah... Paaaaaaaaaah... He could not form that second syllable. It sounded like a droning stream of nonsense and then the second syllable spat out suddenly, clear and distinctive: rick. Great. Rick Ireland. That caused considerable confusion later. ____ Just before Patrick's rescue, President Clinton addressed the nation. He asked all Americans to pray for students and teachers in that school. As CNN cut back from the White House, an anchor spotted Patrick: "Look, there's a bloody student right there in the window!" she gasped. It played out live on television. Patrick's eighth-grade sister Maggie watched. He was so bloody, she didn't recognize him. Viewers were stunned, but it didn't make much of an impression at the rendezvous points. News of a kid falling out the window never reached most parents, including John and Kathy. They might have gone on searching for hours if Kathy hadn't asked a neighbor to run by the house to check the answering machine. The neighbor found endless messages from Kathy checking for Patrick, plus a recent one from St. Anthony's: We have your son. Please call. Kathy was conflicted: My son's alive! My son is hurt! "It was scary," Kathy said later. "But I was relieved to have something to deal with." She felt much better once she got a nurse on the phone. It was a head wound, but Patrick was awake and alert; he had provided his name and phone number. Oh, good, it was just a graze, Kathy thought. "I just went straight to the assumption that it was just the scalp," she said later. "If he was able to talk, then it was just the scalp." John felt grave danger, no relief. "I just figured anybody shot in the head, it can't be good," he said. John drove the couple to the hospital. He was a computer programmer, who prided himself on his navigational skill. He was too upset to find the hospital. He knew exactly how to get to St. Anthony's, he said. "And I'm driving down Wadsworth and I can't remember where the hell it is!" They sat side by side, presuming they shared the same basic assumptions. It was seven years before they discovered that they arrived at St. Anthony's in completely different mind-sets. John was racked with guilt. "There should have been something I was able to do to protect him," he said. John knew it was irrational, but years later, it still haunted him. Kathy focused on the present: How could she help Patrick now? But no one even knew exactly what was wrong. Staff kept coming in to check on them, filling them in on the surgery, what to expect in Patrick and themselves. Dead brain cells do not regenerate, but the brain can sometimes work around them, they were told. No one really understands how the brain reroutes its neural pathways, so there's no procedure to assist it. A projectile to the brain tends to cause two sets of damage. First, it rips away tissue that can never be restored. One path might cause blindness, another logical impairment. But the secondary impact can be just as bad or worse. The brain is saturated with blood, so gunshots tend to unleash a flood. As fluid builds, oxygen is depleted and the pool cuts off fresh supplies. Brain tissue is choked off by the very cells designed to nourish it. Patrick's doctors feared that as he'd lain on the library floor, his brain had been drowning in its own blood. Patrick Ireland had brain damage; that was a fact. His symptoms indicated severe impairment. The only question was whether those functions could return. The surgery was scheduled to take about an hour, but lasted more than three. It was after 7:00 P.M. when the surgeon came out to advise John and Kathy of the results. He had cleared out buckshot fragments and debris from the surface. One pellet had penetrated Patrick's skull. It was far too perilous to dig out. That lead would be in him for life. It was hard to tell how much damage the pellet had wreaked. Swelling was the main indicator. It looked bad. ____ As one SWAT team rescued Patrick Ireland, another squad reached the choir room. The rumor was true: sixty students were barricaded inside. A few minutes later, sixty more were discovered in the science area. SWAT teams led them through the hallways, down the stairs, and across the commons. At 2:47, three and a half hours into the siege, the first of those kids burst out the cafeteria doors. News choppers homed in on them instantly. The anchors and the TV audience were perplexed. Where were these kids coming from? More followed, single file in quick succession, running down the hillside as fast as they could with their hands on the backs of their heads, elbows splayed. They kept coming and coming, dozens of them, tracing the same winding path, first away from the school, then back toward a windowless corner surrounded by squad cars and ambulances. They huddled there for several minutes, sobbing, waiting, clinging to one another. Police officers patted them down and then hugged them. Eventually, cops packed groups of three to five kids into squad cars and shuttled them to the triage area a few blocks south. The kids had to run right past two bodies on the way out, so at some point, an officer moved Rachel farther away. The SWAT team reached the 1 BLEEDING TO DEATH sign on the same sweep through the science area that freed all those kids. The sign was still against the window. The carpet in Science Room 3 was soaked in blood. The teacher was alive, barely.