Columbine shooting survivor found dead aged 37

A survivor of the Columbine High School shooting has been found dead at his home in Colorado 20 years after the attack.

Austin Eubanks was shot in the hand and knee during the 1999 Columbine attack which killed 12 pupils and a teacher, including his best friend.

Mr Eubanks became addicted to drugs after taking prescription medication for the pain from his injuries.

He later worked at an addiction treatment centre and travelled across the US telling his story.

1999: Police outside Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, following the shooting
Image: 1999: Police outside Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, following the shooting

His death was confirmed by Routt County coroner Robert Ryg. There were no signs of foul play.

Mr Eubanks was 37.

A post-mortem will take place to establish the cause of his death.

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In a statement, his family said he “lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face”.

The family added: “We thank the recovery community for its support. As you can imagine, we are beyond shocked and saddened and request that our privacy is respected at this time.”

Denver-area schools were evacuated in April after a threat was made coinciding with the anniversary of the Columbine shooting
Image: Denver-area schools were evacuated in April after a threat was made coinciding with the anniversary of the Columbine shooting

In a blog in 2017, Mr Eubanks wrote about the growing problem with opioid use in the US.

He said: “As a survivor of the Columbine tragedy almost two decades ago, I’m no stranger to pain – both physical and emotional.

“And as a person in long-term recovery, and someone who has worked hands-on in an addiction recovery setting for the past six years, I can tell you that there is no such thing as addiction without underlying emotional pain and trauma.”

Crosses with the names of the victims of the 1999 attack at the Columbine Memorial
Image: Crosses with the names of the victims of the 1999 attack at the Columbine Memorial

His death comes barely a month after the 20th anniversary of the Columbine shooting, which happened on 21 April 1999.

Last year, Mr Eubanks had recounted the events of that day to CNN saying: “A teacher ran through the same doors that we just entered into the library, yelling at everybody to get under the tables, that somebody had a gun, and I remember just being in shock.”

He and his friends had been in the library discussing after school plans and hid under the desk from the two gunmen.

His best friend Corey DePooter was shot and instantly killed. Mr Eubanks said his life took a “detour” from that day.

He was prescribed medication for his physical pain but admitted becoming addicted to the release of the emotional pain they gave him.

He was in his late-20s before he found long-term recovery from the addiction.

Source: SKY NEWS

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