On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris walked into Columbine High School with two bombs based on portable propane bottles. The boys had similar bombs in their cars and another across town – a decoy to draw police away from the high school at the crucial moment. They also had dozens of small pipe bombs and each of them was carrying guns and ammunition. They planted the two large bombs and returned to their cars that were strategically parked so that they could shoot anyone who ran from the building after the bombs detonated. But their plan began to go wrong from the first. The inside bombs didn’t go off. The two boys, without an apparent backup plan, entered the school again and began shooting and firing off pipe bombs. They killed indiscriminately for a little over fifteen minutes.
When the gunmen started firing outside the school, Coach William “Dave” Sanders ran to the cafeteria and sounded the alarm. He, along with two of the school’s janitors, helped get more than 100 students out of the path of danger by herding them away from the shooters. He saved untold numbers of lives that day. By the time the gunmen arrived, the cafeteria was nearly empty thanks to Dave. He was in the upstairs hall trying to get students safely hidden in classrooms when he was shot from behind by Eric Harris. He was hit in the torso, head and neck. He managed to get himself into a science lab where he bled to death waiting for help.
William “Dave” Sanders was a computer and business teacher at Columbine for 25 years, and coach of the varsity girls’ basketball and softball teams. His students described him as a teacher, a friend, a mentor and an inspiration. A softball field at Columbine and a scholarship named after him to honor his memory were created to remember this great educator.