Jed Boal ReportingThey survived the shootings at Columbine High School and grew stronger. Now three students share how they hung on to hope and happiness in such a tragic time.
Nearly five years ago, the nation's deadliest school shooting erupted at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. It shook everyone in the school. Now those students are 19, 20 and older; they have perspective and a changed outlook on life.
April 20th, 1999 two students stormed Columbine High School, murdered 12 students and a teacher and then killed themselves.
Mike Johnson, Columbine Survivor: ”Total confusion, kinda scared
LDS Church members Mike Johnson and Kathy Carlston were there that day.
Kathy Carlston, Columbine Survivor: It was just adrenaline, too much running through my head."
With fellow students Liz Carlston and Amber Huntington, Johnson has co-written the book, ‘Surviving Columbine: How Faith Helps Us Find Peace When Tragedy Strikes.’ Kathy Carlston added the illustrations.
Johnson was a sophomore sitting outside the school when the shooting started.
Mike Johnson: “I heard a popping sound to my left."
He saw the shooters firing at students, then he was hit in the leg, looked down and saw the blood.
Mike Johnson: “At first I thought it was paintball. Then I realized it wasn't. I got up, ran up this hill, got behind a shed and collapsed."
As he ran he took another shot in the arm and the neck.
Carlston was eating. A teacher shouted warnings, she heard shots and sprinted upstairs. She ducked into a room and crouched on the floor with other students and teachers.
Kathy Carlston: “The only think I remember is lying there with my eye's shut, being absolutely terrified."
The teacher killed that day collapsed on the floor in the same room.
As he recovered physically and emotionally, Johnson grew in his faith and drew strength from the trial.
Mike Johnson: “I'm not afraid to die anymore. It's not something that’s bad. I got close enough that I realize it's just another part of life."
Kathy Carlston: “It really made me evaluate what's important in life."
The students will sign books tomorrow and Saturday. Friday they will be at the BYU Bookstore from 2:30-4:00. Saturday they will be at the Deseret Bookstore in the ZCMI Mall from 4:00-5:30.