Alleged Supplier of Pistol Arrested
Authorities on Monday made the first arrest directly connected to the April 20 massacre at Columbine High School, booking a 22-year-old man on suspicion of supplying two teenage gunmen the assault-style pistol used in the attack.
Mark Manes, accompanied by his attorney, surrendered at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in Golden, Colo. He was jailed on investigation of providing a handgun to a minor. The charge carries a penalty of up to six years in prison and a $500,000 fine. He was freed on bail of $15,000.
The arrest wrapped up the investigation into the source of the four weapons used in the attack, in which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 others before taking their own lives. Authorities had earlier determined that Klebold’s girlfriend, Robyn K. Anderson, purchased the two shotguns and a rifle used by the gunmen. Anderson has not been charged and has made no public comment on the matter.
Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had been tracing the trail of the TEC-DC9 semiautomatic pistol for some time. The weapon was manufactured in Miami and changed hands legally in Colorado several times, investigators said. In 1994, federal law banned the manufacture of the gun, which holds a clip that can carry 50 rounds.
Last week it was determined that Harris and Klebold were led to the weapon through a middleman who worked with them at a pizza store. That middleman directed Harris and Klebold to Manes, who was identified by the ATF last week as the last legal owner of the gun. Authorities did not know whether the gun was sold or given to the teenagers. An attorney for Manes, who once attended Columbine, said his client knew nothing of the impending massacre.
“He was horrified when it happened,” attorney Robert Ransome said. “I would like to say he has followed the path of integrity from the beginning.”
In other investigative developments on the day that Columbine students went back to school, the Jefferson County coroner on Monday confirmed that a retest of Harris’ blood samples disclosed traces of Luvox, a drug that was known to be prescribed to the 18-year-old. Luvox is commonly prescribed to combat depression and for symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.
The finding, the coroner said in a written statement, “does not change the cause and manner of death.”
Also, the family of slain student Isaiah Shoels has retained an attorney and appears poised to pursue civil suits against the families of the killers and perhaps authorities. The Shoels met over the weekend with Geoffrey Fieger, a Detroit-area attorney who represented Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
The district attorney’s office is still attempting to question the parents of Harris, who, through their attorney, have requested immunity from prosecution before agreeing to meet with investigators. Such an agreement has been rejected.
For the time being, negotiations are at an impasse.
Thomas and Susan Klebold were interviewed for nearly two hours Friday and have been described as cooperative.
As leads continued to multiply--Monday’s total was 1,418--authorities began to back off their statements that they suspected others were involved.
Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone, whose department is leading the multi-agency investigation, has maintained that it is highly likely that Harris and Klebold had help planning and carrying out the attack. He cited the more than 60 explosive devices found at the school as indicating the two had assistance.
Now, two weeks into the investigation, officials are beginning to concede that the evidence suggests that Harris and Klebold may have acted alone.
“I think our people are definitely leaning toward the good possibility that Harris and Klebold were the only two in the school that day,” said Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Davis.
“I should make it clear that they have not ruled out a third gunman yet,” Davis said. “We still don’t have any concrete evidence to lead to a third gunman, it’s just something they are leaving open.”