Columbine gunman's father denies finding pipe bomb before massacre

Saturday, October 7th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) _ The parents of Columbine gunman Eric Harris have denied blocking a police search for explosives in their home or finding a pipe bomb a year before their son and a friend killed 13 people at their high school.

Wayne and Katherine Harris also denied in federal court Friday that they knew or should have known their son was planning the April 20, 1999 attack on Columbine High School with Dylan Klebold. The teens committed suicide after the attack.

The Harris are being sued by the families of six killed: Daniel Rohrbough, Kelly Fleming, Matthew Kechter, Lauren Townsend, Kyle Velasquez and Cassie Bernall.

Also named in the suit are Klebold's parents, Jefferson County sheriff's officials and three others accused of providing the guns used by the teens.

The rest of the defendants have asked a judge to dismiss the case.

With regard to Wayne Harris, the suit alleges that he found a pipe bomb and detonated it in an empty field more than a year before his son's rampage took place. It also claims that, because of the earlier pipe bomb discovery, he relied on a friend in the sheriff's office _ whose name is not listed _ to thwart a planned police search fro explosives in the home.

The lawsuit charges that both the Harris and Klebold families knew or should have known that the boys were building bombs, storing weapons at home and planning an attack.

The Harris couple petitioned the court for more time in which to name others at fault in the massacre. They also asked that victims' siblings not be included in the complaint.

On Thursday, the family of Mark Taylor, a student injured in the incident, filed documents in support of the suit, saying that law officers, school officials and other defendants have failed to prove they are not liable.

``This tragedy continues and is bound to recur if we bury our heads in the sand and fail to scrutinize the behavior of those entrusted with the safety of our children,'' said Howard Zucker, the Taylors' lawyer.