Randy Brown

Columbine father

Video transcript

My name is Randy Brown. The day of, my two children were at risk. We were lucky both of them lived. My kids are Brooks and Aaron. They were in the school. Well Brooks was outside, Aaron was inside.

Columbine affected me in different ways, and it affected our family. I have always felt partly responsible for it happening, so I have had to live with that guilt. But it affected our family in many ways.

Son falsely suspected

My oldest son Brooks was traumatized by it mainly because people thought and said he was involved, including the sheriff and other representatives of the sheriff's department.

He and I had turned Eric in to the police a year earlier, and two years earlier, for having pipe bombs and weapons and detonating pipe bombs. That kind of started the rumors that they thought Brooks was involved which was ridiculous.

When my son attended Columbine High School, Dylan Klebold had been a family friend, and their family had been friends for years. And Eric… I think my wife suspected something was wrong with Eric and he was dangerous to begin with.

Memories of massacre

The day of Columbine Brooks called and said, ‘Dad, there’s been a shooting at the school.’ Brooks smoked in high school. He would always go out and he had to go off site to smoke. An April 20, he saw Eric drive in, in Eric’s car. And Eric said, ‘Brooks go away. I like you now.’

Which is… Brooks had no idea what that meant at the time. There were no weapons visible. There were no pipe bombs visible. Eric was getting out of his car. And so Brooks went, ‘Okay, fine.’ And Brooks was down on Pierce, and what he said, and this was so funny, he said, ‘I thought it was construction.’

And then Brooks heard some more of that, and then he finally heard an explosion. And then he thought, ‘Well, something is going on.’ So he ran through the neighborhood, warning people, stopping cars with a teacher in it, telling them, ‘I think Eric’s shooting up the school! I think there is a shooting at the school.’

Community backlash against family

Hated is almost not even the word. Everyone around here thought Brooks was involved. We went to a play or a talent show at the school and no one would sit around us. The theater was full, there were people standing in the aisles, and no one would sit three seats either side of us. Because you know we were the Browns and we were liars and we were accused of being media whores and it was ridiculous.

We, in the beginning, we were just trying to help the police and say what happened? We turned this kid in!

Preventing school shootings

The pain of Columbine, it's there every day, and it doesn’t go away.

We're sorry, we're upset that we couldn't do more to let people know what happened here. But the cover-up made it difficult. And we live with the guilt of knowing that maybe we could have done more, although we spent seven years fighting it after Columbine, yelling at the attorney general in meetings. All kinds of things we tried to do. Spent 7 years of our life on it. And it didn't help.

You know what's happened? You know what's been learned since Columbine? Nothing! The same things happened at Parkland, pitiful failures that happened at Columbine. So no one's learned a thing.

Every time there's a school shooting we think about it. And we know our involvement, and we know and we're sorry that we couldn’t have done more, and you know, sorry that it wasn't effective what we did in the beginning, and sorry still that no one, no one, they're doing nothing to stop school shootings now. The methods they’re using aren't working. Isn't it obvious to everybody they're not working?

You need to take away the reason these kids in the schools are so angry that they want to kill people. So you take away the bullying, you make sure they're treated fairly.

People lost children here and they were killed for no reason at all. it could have been stopped. And so any day that my wife and I would get upset, we would realize that our sons are alive and how lucky we are.

Randy Brown’s son, Brooks, narrowly escaped the massacre at Columbine High School. Brooks had been friends, at times, with both shooters. Brown saw multiple red flags and tried to alert police. He believes bullying is a significant problem at schools.