Father Whose Child Was Killed at Columbine Speaks Out About Va. Tech Massacre

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 17, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: It is eerie that the murders of Columbine High School happened almost exactly eight years ago in Colorado. Remember two students, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, murdered 13 in Littleton, Colorado. Harris and Klebold then committed suicide. Now one of those killed was 15-year-old Danny Rohrbaugh , a freshman at Columbine.

And joining us now from Denver is Dan's stepfather, Rich Petrone. Mr. Petrone, when you heard yesterday the news of this awful thing at Virginia Tech, what was the first thought that entered your mind?

RICH PETRONE, STEPSON KILLED AT COLUMBINE: Well, the first thought was pure anger. To be honest with you, I was just so angry that this happened again. And then I feel for the parents, knowing what they're going to go through in the next, you know, weeks and years. You know days, weeks and years. I mean, the initial feeling for me was anger.

O'REILLY: Tell us what you and your wife have gone through in the eight years, as best you can?

PETRONE: Well, the eight years has been a long eight years, Bill. We started — you know, the very first day, you know, when we first heard about the shooting at Columbine, we were like you know, wow. So we were going to go get Dan. And my daughter Nicole was there. We're going to pick them up and bring them home.

Well, then all of a sudden, you're looking at this— what's going on around you— and it was all day. We — Nicole we found pretty early on. But Dan, we waited and waited and waited. And then we were all put in a room. And from the moment — I think from the very beginning, they start making the story for us. They didn't tell us that Dan was dead. How we found out about Danny being dead was the next morning, we saw his body in a newspaper, a picture of his body laying on the sidewalk in a newspaper.

O'REILLY: Awful.

PETRONE: And so, I mean, that's the start of it. And you know, I can go on for a long time with this. But you know, a lot of it was just trying to find the truth. And we wanted to know how it could happen, why it happened, why nobody prevented it.

O'REILLY: All right.

PETRONE: The main thing is why the...

O'REILLY: .you know what's interesting to me, and you obviously, I want you to correct me. But it looks like that this guy in Virginia was a mirror of Harris and Klebold. Losers, haters, unsupervised and just snapped. It looks like they could be triplets, these three.

PETRONE: They could be brothers. Let me tell you, when I started reading what they found out about him. — But you know, they didn't snap. They planned it.

Klebold and Harris planned the massacre at Columbine for over a year. You know, they documented it on video that right now is sealed in the courts. They won't let anybody see it. They documented it in journals. They planned this out for over a year.

And now from what I'm hearing about this crazy guy is that he also, this nut, he planned —it sounds like he had this planned all the while. And the warning signs were out there. And that's the thing that amazes me. You're hearing these people saying how do you prevent this. You can't prevent this from happening.

Well, the warning signs were there. And I had an earlier interview this morning where I said hey, look at, you know, I'll find out. You know, the time we didn't know, I said — when you look into this guy, you're going to find out that there was warning signs all over. So sure enough. It's amazing.

O'REILLY: OK, and that's an interesting question.

PETRONE: I mean, it's amazing.

O'REILLY: When I said they snapped I didn't mean they snapped instantaneously.


O'REILLY: .but you got to be sick to do stuff like this. You got to be sick. You're not born this way. You've got to be sick.

PETRONE: Well, you're evil. I mean, you're born evil. I mean, I think not only if you are born evil, but you're evil. And I believe a lot of it has to do with — the parenting is terrible — you know, to cause that.

I mean, that's — to me I know. And I mean, I know things that people don't know because it's sealed. And they won't let us talk about it.

But I mean, it's my belief that parenting was a big part of it. And what makes me angry is everybody wants to blame everything on bullying. Well, bullying is a very, very small part of what happened at Columbine. Those two were bullies themselves. And they hated everybody. They were just pure evil.

And this guy's the same way, pure evil. And they're cowards. They can't go out on their own. They have to bring innocent people with them. And that's what makes me so angry.

O'REILLY: No, I think you're absolutely right. I think the evil component is there. And it just builds into this. Well, Mr. Petrone, I appreciate you coming on and talking from the heart. I know how difficult — I don't know personally — but I know people who have lost children.


O'REILLY: And the suffering never stops. It's every single day. And that's what everybody has to understand. Everybody has to understand that.

PETRONE: Well, they have to understand that. And they have to understand also that you know what? We need as people we need to demand answers. And we need to demand that these people protect our children at school.

O'REILLY: All right.

PETRONE: You know? I mean, that's the problem.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

PETRONE: So you know, thanks for the time. And my heart goes out to those people and our prayers are with them.

O'REILLY: OK, thank you, sir.

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