Austin Eubanks: Columbine school shooting survivor found dead

A file picture of Austin Eubanks as a teenager and as an adult

A survivor of the Columbine High School shooting who later became a prominent advocate for fighting addiction has been found dead at his Colorado home.

Austin Eubanks, 37, was shot in the hand and knee in the 1999 Columbine attack, in which 12 of his classmates and a teacher were killed.

He became addicted to drugs after taking pain medication while recovering from his injuries.

Officials say there were no signs of foul play in his death.

Eubanks’s body was discovered on Saturday at his home in Steamboats Springs, Colorado, Routt County Coroner Robert Ryg said.

A post-mortem examination to establish the cause of death was planned for Monday.

His family said he had “lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face”.

“As you can imagine, we are beyond shocked and saddened and request that our privacy is respected at this time,” they added in a statement reported by local TV station KMGH.

Eubanks told the BBC in 2017 of how the attack, which killed his best friend, led him to addiction.

“I was medicated on a variety of substances that were intended to sedate and to relieve pain,” he said.

“I became addicted before I even knew what was happening.”

Eubanks later worked at an addiction treatment centre and travelled the US telling his story and working to improve addiction recovery and prevention.

The Columbine High School shooting took place on 20 April, 1999 when two students killed 12 fellow pupils and a teacher. They then killed themselves.

It was, at the time, the deadliest school shooting in US history.

Colorado student, Kendrick Castillo, 18, died charging school shooter

Kendrick CastilloKendrick Castillo, 18, was killed in the shooting at his school

A teenager died in a shooting at a Colorado high school – days before his graduation – while charging one of the attackers, his classmates say.

Eighteen-year-old Kendrick Castillo was the only fatality in Tuesday’s assault allegedly by two students near Denver.

Eight other pupils were injured before the assailants were arrested.

The attack took place just 8km (5 miles) from Columbine High School, the site of one of the country’s most notorious shootings 20 years ago.

America’s latest school shooting unfolded at the STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – School Highlands Ranch in an affluent suburb of Denver.

A school staff member comforts a child after the shootingA school staff member comforts a child after the shooting

‘I wish he had gone and hid’

Classmate Nui Giasolli told US media she was in her British literature class when one of the suspects turned up late and pulled out a gun.

Kendrick lunged at the gunman, “giving us all enough time to get underneath our desks to get ourselves safe, to run across the room to escape”, she said.

John Castillo, Kendrick’s father, described him as “the best kid in the world”, in an interview with the Denver Post.

He said it was not surprising to him that Kendrick was said to have charged one of the shooters as they entered a classroom.

“I wish he had gone and hid,” said Mr Castillo, “but that’s not his character.

“His character is about protecting people, helping people.”

Kendrick was an only child. Mr Castillo said he and his wife are “in a haze”.

The 18-year-old was passionate about science and robotics.

He was going to study at a local college in the autumn, planning to major in engineering, his father said.

Another STEM senior, Brendan Bialy, is also being praised as a hero for helping subdue one of the gunmen.

Brendan BialyBrendan tackled one of the gunmen

Brendan is a recruit for the US Marine Corps but was not trained specifically on active shooter protocols.

Marine Capt Michael Maggitti said in a statement that Brendan’s admirable courage “resulted in the safety and protection of his teachers and fellow classmates”.

Kendrick and Brendan are not the only examples of student heroism recently during a shooting.

Last month at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a 21-year-old student, Riley Howell, died while tackling a gunman, buying classmates crucial moments to escape, said police.

18-year-old Devon EricksonDevon Erickson, 18, has been named as one of the suspects

How did the Colorado shooting unfold?

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said the attack happened just before 14:00 local time (20:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

He told reporters the two attackers came in through an entrance that did not have a metal detector and attacked students in two locations.

Both suspects were pupils at the charter school.

There were around 1,800 students on campus at the time of the attack, Sheriff Spurlock said.

Officers arrived on scene within minutes.

“We did struggle with the suspects to take them into custody,” the sheriff said.

Two dead in shooting at North Carolina university campus

Police say one suspect in custody after attack that also left four people wounded.

Television station WBTV reported that gunfire erupted about 5:45 pm local time near the university's Kennedy Hall administrative building. [Logan Cyrus/AFP]
Television station WBTV reported that gunfire erupted about 5:45 pm local time near the university’s Kennedy Hall administrative building.

Two people have been killed and four others wounded – two with life-threatening injuries – in a shooting at the University of North Carolina.

UNC Charlotte issued a campus lockdown late on Tuesday afternoon, saying shots had been fired. Later in the evening, the campus was declared secure after a suspect was taken into custody.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said in a statement on Twitter that one person was in custody and no one else is believed to be involved.

Television station WBTV in Charlotte reported that gunfire erupted about 5:45 pm local time (2145 GMT) near the university’s Kennedy Hall administrative building.

The Mecklenburg EMS, an independent agency that handles emergency services for the county, confirmed that two people were dead on the scene and that four others were taken to a nearby hospital, two of them with life-threatening injuries.

Embedded video

Breaking News Global@BreakingNAlerts

BREAKING: Video shows police responding to active shooter at UNCC Charlotte – 6 shot, one in custody.

Aerial shots from local television news outlets showed police officers running toward a building, while another view showed students running on a campus sidewalk.

The police later said that the campus had been secured and that officers were going through buildings to let people who had sheltered in place know that it was safe.

Sam Rice, a senior on UNC Charlotte’s tennis team, told Spectrum News that he was in the library studying for a final exam when he heard people yelling “shooter, shooter”.

He said he heard police yelling for people to stay down and stay on the floor.

He was “waiting for someone to tell us everything was going to be OK”.

When people were told to leave, he ran out in his socks, running over glass on the floor.

Students and faculty file out of buildings with their hands up during a lockdown after a shooting on the campus of University of North Carolina. [Logan Cyrus/AFP]

“We are in shock to learn of an active shooter situation on the campus of UNC Charlotte. My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives, those injured, the entire UNCC community and the courageous first responders who sprang into action to help others,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said on Twitter.

Columbine survivors mark twentieth anniversary of massacre

Samantha Haviland was a student at Columbine High School when the 1999 shooting happened

Survivors of the Columbine High School shooting have been speaking at a remembrance ceremony in Denver to mark the twentieth anniversary of the massacre.

Twelve students and a teacher were murdered by two teenagers.

One former student, Patrick Ireland, who was injured by bullets, said no one from the school or surrounding community had emerged unscathed.

The event was the culmination of three days of commemorations. Earlier, members of the public left flowers and cards at a memorial to the victims.

Bill Clinton spoke at the remembrance ceremony via video link


Columbine students and staff also marked the day by taking part in community service projects.

Survivor Will Beck places flowers at the Columbine Memorial at Clement Park in Littleton, ColoradoWill Beck placed flowers at the Columbine Memorial at Clement Park in Littleton, Colorado

 

Sean Graves, a massacre survivor and 2002 graduate, speaks during the Columbine Remembrance Ceremony at Clement ParkSean Graves, a massacre survivor and 2002 graduate, spoke during the ceremony

 

Crosses with the names and portraits of the victims at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens, also in Littleton, ColoradoCrosses with the names and portraits of the victims at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens, also in Littleton, Colorado

 

People gather to remember loved ones at the Columbine MemorialPeople gathered to remember loved ones at the Columbine Memorial

 

Spencer Greenlee, a student at Columbine High School, sits in prayer at the memorialSpencer Greenlee, a student at Columbine High School, sat in prayer at the memorial

 

Candles wrap around a collection of flowers laid at the memorialCandles around a collection of flowers laid at the memorial

 

Visitors read a poem left the memorialVisitors read a poem left at the memorial

Timeline: The deadliest mass shootings in the US

Three of the deadliest mass shootings in the US modern history have occurred since October 2017.

Three of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States’s modern history have occurred since October 2017.

In February 2018, a gunman opened fire at a high school in southeastern Florida, killing at least 17 people and injuring more than a dozen others.

In early November 2017, at least 26 people were killed in a mass shooting during a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas, making it the “largest mass shooting in state history”, Governor Greg Abbott had said.

The shooting came about a month after Stephen Paddock opened fire on concertgoers at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500 others.

The three shootings are among the deadliest in the US since 1949.

Here’s a look at the deadliest mass shootings in the US over the last 30 years:

Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas (2017): 58 killed

  • Attacker Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd of concertgoers at a country music festival at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 people and injuring 500 others.

Pulse nightclub (2016): 49 killed

  • A heavily armed man killed 49 people inside a gay nightclub in the city of Orlando on June 12, 2016.
  • The attacker, US citizen Omar Mateen, was killed in a gun battle with police. He had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, which later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Virginia Tech (2007): 32 killed

  • A 23-year-old student, South Korean national Seung-Hui Cho, went on a rampage at Virginia Tech University in April 2007, killing 27 students and five teachers before committing suicide.

Sutherland Springs, Texas church (2017): 26 killed

  • A gunman opened fire on a Sunday morning church service in the small rural town of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing at least 26 people and injuring 20 others. The youngest person killed was five years old.

Sandy Hook (2012): 26 killed

  • A 20-year-old American citizen, Adam Lanza, killed his mother in December 2012 before shooting and killing 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He later committed suicide.

Texas restaurant (1991): 22 killed

  • In October 1991, 35-year-old George Hennard, a US citizen, shot dead 22 people in a restaurant in the town of Killeen before shooting himself.

Florida high school (2018): 17 killed

  • A former student opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in southeastern Florida, killing at least 17 and injuring more than a dozen others.

San Bernardino (2015): 14 killed

  • A newlywed couple – US citizen Rizwan Farook and his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik, who was a permanent resident – stormed an office party at a social services centre in San Bernardino, California in December 2015, killing 14 people and injuring 22 others. The couple were shot dead by the police.

Fort Hood military base (2009): 13 killed

  • In November 2009, US Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan opened fire at his military base in Killeen, killing 13 people and injuring 42 others.

New York immigrant centre (2009): 13 killed

  • A Vietnamese immigrant, Jiverly Antares Wong, shot and killed 13 people at a civic centre in the city of Binghamton in April 2009, before killing himself.

Navy Yard headquarters (2013): 12 killed

  • Former serviceman Aaron Alexis, a US citizen, shot randomly at workers at the Washington Navy Yard headquarters in September 2013, killing 12 people before he was shot dead by police.

Aurora, Colorado (2012): 12 killed

  • James Holmes, a US citizen born in California, wearing body armour stormed a cinema showing a late-night premiere of a Batman film in Aurora, Colorado in July 2012, opening fire and releasing tear gas. Twelve people were killed and 70 others wounded. Holmes was sentenced to life in prison.

Columbine High (1999): 13 killed

  • Two American teenage boys – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold – shot and killed 12 classmates and a teacher, before killing themselves at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in April 1999.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES