|Brooks Richard Brown|
Columbine Survivor, Brooks Brown
|Location||San Francisco, California|
Brooks Richard Brown (born 1980) was a student at Columbine High School during the Massacre that took place on April 20th 1999 in Littleton, Colorado. Brooks Brown was friends with both Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two perpetrators of the Columbine Massacre. Brooks is known mostly as the student who was told to go home by Eric Harris, one of the shooters, just minutes prior to the shooting.
Brooks Richard Brown was born in 1980 to parents Randy Brown and Judy Brown. Brooks had known one of the shooters, Dylan Klebold, since the first grade at Normandy Elementary School and from Cub Scouts. In 1992, Dylan moved schools. Brooks Brown lived near the house Eric Harris's parents had recently bought, and rode the same bus as Eric. In 1995-96, Brooks Brown enrolled at Columbine High School. Brooks became friends with Eric Harris through Dylan and Nate Dykeman. However, his relationship with Eric deteriorated the following school year and in late 1997 after Eric threw a hunk of ice at Brooks's car winddow, chipping it. Brooks told Eric he had to pay for it, and even told Eric's mother, which angered Eric. The two soon mended their friendship, but had another fallout, which lead to Brooks revealing to Eric's mother where Eric hid his alcohol. In Brooks "Reddit AMA" from 2011, he quotes "...then I ratted to his mom where he kept his booze (yes, I was an asshole), so he threatened to murder my family. You know. High school stuff". Brooks was targeted by Eric in an internet rant on Eric's website, where he threatened to harm and kill Brooks and his family. Brooks found out about the rant after Dylan gave him the web address to Eric's website. Brooks' family reported it to the Jefferson County Sheriff's office, and detective Michael Guerra wrote a draft affidavit requesting a search warrant, but apparently never got filed. Brooks was also listed on Eric's online hit list of specific people that he wanted to kill. In another situation, Brooks' mother Judy, asked Eric to pick her son up, and Eric got really angry and yelled at her through the car door window.
On April 20th, 1999, Brooks Brown was in class, writing an assigned Chinese Philosophy test. Eric Harris (being in the same class) was absent which had surprised Brooks as knowing he would never miss an important test or assignment. In the following Creative writing class Brooks was even more surprised to discover Eric wasn't there, quoting in 'Zero Hours: Columbine Documentary', "...and even I only ditched one class in row usually". Dylan (who was also in Brooks and Eric's Creative Writing class) wasn't there either. Brooks became concerned for both of the boys absents.
During "A" lunch, Brooks would do his usual routine after Creative Writing, going out for a smoke and walking around the campus. Except today he saw Eric pull into the Junior Parking lot while existing out the west entrance of the school. Due to missing the past two hours of school Brooks approached Eric to confront him about his absents. "...and i called him a few names, and he laughed and called me a few names back, and we made this little interchange where i was cussing him out basically... which is really weird that he didn't shoot me for that (laughs) but that comes to mouth". When Brooks told Eric he had missed the test and questioned his absents, Eric replied saying "It doesn't matter anymore...". Eric then looked at Brooks and said "uh... Brooks i like you now, get outta here. Go home". These would be the last words Eric would say to Brooks. Brooks was the only student Eric and Dylan would let go before the shooting. Brooks quotes in a 'Zero Hour' documentary based on Columbine "There's a lot of theories of why he didn't shoot me. I personally think because i remember the look on his face, he didn't wanna kill me". Brooks commented on a Question and Answer page on Reddit saying his mom believes Eric didn't shoot Brooks because doing so would alert the students inside the cafeteria and ruin their plan.
Brooks was seen by witnesses walking South on Pierce Street away from the area. Brooks finished off his cigarette in a spot just off school property contemplating whether to ditch his next class or not, with what Eric had said obviously floating around in his head. Brooks did not report Eric's odd behavior to anyone prior to the shooting. On his walk Brooks reported in interviews later on that he had heard gun shots but didn't click that they were actually gun shots until he heard shotgun blasts and explosions. Brooks first action was to call his father Randy Brown. In an interview with Randy Brown, Randy says how he instantly knew it was Eric as soon as Brooks had said there was a shooting at Columbine. (A lot of Documentaries and articles claim Brooks left Columbine due to Eric's warning which is not the full case, in a Question and Answer page on Reddit done by Brooks. Brooks answers one question asking: "I haven't seen the documentary, is it explained that he basically told you to get away meaning he didn't want to shoot you, but you didn't know that at the time?" Brooks answer saying: "Basically. I went and finished my smoke". Another question asks: "So....your saying smoking saved your life that day?" Brooks answer saying: "Yeah, actually. Fucked up thing? Rachel Scott quit smoking at the behest of a friend that week. She would have probably been at the smokers pit (smoking area just off school property). Life is disturbingly strange.").
Brooks arrived home to find his brother and a few friends alive. For the remaining of the day Brooks sat out on his back porch chain-smoking. One of Brooks vivid memories of Columbine after arriving home which he stated in his Question and Answers Reddit page was his father giving him a Rolling Rock Beer when he was sitting out on the porch.
On April 29, 1999, Brooks appeared on PBS' Online NewsHour, detailing the content Eric had posted on his websites. But it would still be some time before the Guerra files would see the light of day.
Brooks later said in his book "No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine" that he'd found the encounter with Eric in the parking lot that morning of April 20th strange but Eric was prone to hot and cold mood swings; he could be very unpredictable. Brooks was already on his way off campus when he'd crossed Eric's path so he didn't see what happened next. But he was still within range of hearing when the first shots rang out.
Brooks' story is best told in his own words, in the book referenced above. It explains every detail from what he has seen and it describes more closely his relationship with the shooters before the massacre.
Directly following the shootings, Brooks Brown was - because of his long time and well-known association at Columbine with Dylan and Eric - one of several people that Jefferson County officials looked at as a possible accomplice. Eventually he was removed from the list of suspects. In 2002, Brooks appeared in Michael Moore's film Bowling for Columbine, along with Columbine survivors Mark Taylor and Richard Castaldo. His book was published that same year.
In 2004 he was interviewed by FHM regarding his prior friendship with the shooters and how Eric let him leave just moments before attacking the school. "Eric and Dylan created this tragedy," he told them. "But Columbine created them."
In June 2005 Brooks Brown posted an interesting message to his blog in which he states "Violence in games is a GOOD thing". He still maintains a blog at 1Up, a gaming site, but has since launched an independent blog. He was working on Star Wars games for George Lucas' enterprises at last update.
As a side note, Brooks Brown's long-time internet nickname is "D-FENS", which also happens to be what's on the license plate belonging to Michael Douglas' character in the film Falling Down (1993). In the movie, Douglas' character - who is listed in the credits only as D-FENS though he had a name - crosses town on foot with a duffle bag of guns, systematically killing thugs and bullies, destroying street construction barricades, and terrifying annoyingly heartless cashiers. Spoiler! In the end D-FENS is looking at the cop who's got a gun drawn on him and D-FENS says all confused: "I'm the bad guy? How did that happen?". It's a film I've always sort of related to, in the same way I relate to Columbine.