January 8, 2002
By Jeff Kass, Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer
Colorado's U.S. attorney will receive a request today for a federal grand jury investigation into the Columbine High School shootings, according to an attorney representing the families of some victims.
Victims' families publicly called for such a probe last week, shortly after they filed a motion to reinstate the federal lawsuit that was dismissed last year.
Barry Arrington, attorney for five families, said in a news release that he will deliver the letter to U.S. Attorney John Suthers asking him "to investigate the cover-up of possible violations of federal law by the Jefferson County sheriff's department."
The release said the violations are reflected in the federal lawsuit.
That lawsuit said that police failed to catch warning signs leading up to Columbine, and botched the law enforcement response once the shooting started.
Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for Suthers, said the U.S. attorney would examine Arrington's letter before making any detailed comment.
"Anything that that would support their accusations (and) support their request for an investigation would be helpful," Dorschner said.
Jacki Tallman, spokeswoman for the sheriff's department, said she respected the right of the victims' families to request a grand jury.
But if a grand jury were to convene, she said, "I don't believe that the findings will be anything new.
"I think it (the sheriff's official report) was an incredibly thorough investigation. We stand behind our findings."