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August 2000

COLUMBINE SURVIVOR'S MOTHER KILLS HERSELF IN PAWN SHOP

October 23, 1999
Web posted at: 3:14 a.m. EDT (0714 GMT)

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (CNN) -- The mother of a Columbine High School student left paralyzed after last spring's shooting rampage walked into a suburban Denver pawnshop Friday, asked to see a revolver, then killed herself in the store.

The apparent suicide of 48-year-old Carla June Hochhalter came nearly six months to the day after her 17-year-old daughter, Anne Marie, was shot in the chest in the massacre that left a dozen students, a teacher and the two teenage gunmen dead.

Hochhalter died in the same hospital where her daughter was treated after the April shootings at
Columbine. Anne Marie Hochhalter has since been undergoing extensive rehabilitation: She moved her legs for the first time last week and has resumed her studies, at Columbine and at home.

"It's disturbing," said Officer Leticia Castillo, a spokeswoman for the Englewood Department of Safety Services. "It's just a horrible, horrible tragedy."

It was just the latest shock for a community still reeling from one of the nation's deadliest outbreak of school violence. It occurred the same day a senior at the school appeared in court on charges he threatened to "finish the job" started by gunmen Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris.

Hochhalter walked into the Alpha Pawn Shop in Englewood, a suburban Denver community near Littleton, about 10 a.m., police said. She asked a clerk if she could look at a .38- caliber revolver.

While the clerk was filling out paperwork for a background check, Hochhalter loaded the gun with bullets she apparently brought in; fired one shot into the wall; then shot herself in the head in front of about six to 10 people, Castillo said.

The mother left a note, but its content were withheld by authorities. The Denver Post reported that she apologized to her family. Following her death, mental health workers have offered their services in Littleton over the weekend, said an emergency clinician who answered the crisis line at Jefferson Center for Mental Health.

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