Findings of the Cafeteria Events


            The Cafeteria Team was led by FBI Special Agent Rich Price and assisted by Denver Police Department Sergeant Calvin Hemphill.  The team was assigned the task of identifying and interviewing all students, faculty and school employees that were in the school cafeteria before, during and immediately following the shooting.  The purpose of the interviews was to specifically identify witness locations and proximity to others within the cafeteria, identification of students sitting with other students, identifying what they witnessed, and their exit out of the cafeteria once the shootings began.  The cafeteria team consisted of 27 investigators for varying terms based on availability.  A total of 751 leads were assigned to the cafeteria team, which included areas in close proximity to the cafeteria.  

            The Evidence Response Teams (ERT) of the FBI, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office drafted detailed diagrams of the cafeteria depicting and identifying cafeteria tables.  These diagrams assisted in identifying where students were located within the cafeteria.  Investigators used the diagrams to have students mark their location and their escape from the cafeteria once the incident began.  This method of identifying student location with diagrams and subsequent interviews assisted in corroborating witness statements.  

            Over 400 backpacks (shown below in the auditorium) were initially recovered in the cafeteria and helped the investigators identify students believed to be present in the cafeteria when the incident began.  School records also provided student and faculty information as to scheduled lunch periods and class schedules.  Witness interviews resulted in identifying those students who did not leave their backpacks behind.  

Critical Witnesses

            There were 488 individuals inside the cafeteria when the shootings began. Fifty-one of those were identified as critical witnesses.  Critical witnesses are those who actually saw a gunman, saw a victim get injured or saw duffel bags inside the cafeteria which may have contained explosive devices.  The majority of critical witnesses inside the cafeteria were positioned along the west side, adjacent to the windows of the cafeteria which face the events occurring outside. 

Suspect Identification

            Identification of the suspects ranged from personal acquaintances to physical descriptions of Harris and Klebold.  Witnesses observed Klebold and Harris with weapons, explosives or both.  No one other than Harris and Klebold were identified as being involved in the shootings.

Observation of Witnesses

             The majority of the cafeteria witnesses observed events that were occurring outside and those events are addressed in the Outside Events Summary.  Other critical witnesses in the cafeteria recall seeing a large blue duffel bag in the cafeteria where the partial detonation subsequently occurred.  Other witnesses remained in the cafeteria and observed Harris and Klebold enter from the upstairs library hallway and shoot at the duffel bag.  These witnesses ultimately left the cafeteria after the partial detonation. 

            There was no one injured in the cafeteria as a direct result of Harris and Klebold’s actions.