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Affidavit to search Columbine shooter's home to be released


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DENVER (CNN) -- An affidavit to search the home of Eric Harris a year before he and classmate Dylan Klebold carried out one of the nation's deadliest school attacks could be released Monday, authorities said.

Many family members of the 12 students and teacher killed in the April 20, 1999 shooting-and-bomb spree at Columbine High School in nearby Littleton say the rampage could have been prevented if the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department had carried out the search.

The affidavit, which was ordered unsealed Friday, was written in 1998 by two Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies following a complaint by the family of a former Columbine student, Brooks Brown, that Harris had threatened to kill Brown.

Jennifer Watson, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County's District Attorney's office, said copies of the affidavit should be made available "late Monday or possibly early Tuesday."

The proposed search warrant was never submitted to a judge for review and, therefore, never carried out. But its existence supports the contention that authorities were suspicious of Harris long before the country's worst school shooting was committed.

Brian Rohrbough, father of slain student Daniel Rohrbough, told CNN, "I'm happy to learn more of the truth. They (Jefferson County Sheriff's Department) had denied this application existed. Columbine never should have happened. It begs the question, 'Why did you deceive everyone?' I think we're going to find out a ton more."

Rohrbough said he and five other victims' families have filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit alleging, in part, that the Harris family had a friend in the sheriff's department who quashed the search warrant application from being processed.

Law enforcement officials would not respond to Rohrbough's remarks.

"The department has no comment at this time," said Sgt. Mike Julian with the sheriff's department in Golden.

Harris and Klebold were Columbine seniors who wrote about their planned attack on the school for at least a year in advance. Twelve students and a teacher were shot fatally, before Harris and Klebold killed themselves.

On Friday, Jefferson County District Judge Brooke Jackson ordered the release of the affidavit as well as several other pieces of evidence. His ruling was prompted from an ongoing court battle between the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and families of some of the shooting victims.

While Watson expects the affidavit to be released as soon as Monday, she said the remainder is expected to be released "later this week."

The additional evidence includes audiotapes from six "critical incident" officers who were first on the scene of the shooting; a written timeline of 47 events that happened in the library where the heaviest shooting occurred, and four notebooks of evidence and maps prepared by investigative teams.

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