Columbine

Columbine

by

Dave Cullen

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Columbine can help.
A teacher and coach at Columbine who was the only non-student to die in the attack. After shepherding students to safety, Dave was shot and sustained horrific injuries to two major arteries, resulting in a major loss of blood over the several hours during which the police refused to breach the Columbine perimeter. Dave’s death, moments after the first SWAT teams to breach the perimeter arrived, became a hot-button issue after the attack—his family, like many families whose children succumbed to their injuries inside the school, believed that the sheriff’s department mishandled their response to the shooting.
Get the entire Columbine LitChart as a printable PDF.
Columbine PDF

Dave Sanders Character Timeline in Columbine

The timeline below shows where the character Dave Sanders appears in Columbine. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: Two Columbines
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
This Friday night, as he is on most Friday nights, Coach Dave Sanders is at the Columbine Lounge, which is “an ass-kicking strip-mall honky-tonk.” Coach Sanders has... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Dave Sanders teaches typing, keyboarding, and economics at Columbine—he does not have a particular interest in... (full context)
Chapter 9: Dads
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
On Monday afternoon, Frank DeAngelis and Dave Sanders enjoy a Columbine baseball game together. They discuss their lives, their shared pasts, and... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
After a slightly tense practice, Dave returns home to his sleeping wife. He has a present for her mother’s birthday, which... (full context)
Chapter 11: Female Down
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
...steps over Sean’s body and enters the cafeteria, where a “stampede [is] under way.” Coach Dave Sanders runs into the cafeteria and attempts to shepherd students out of the commons. He... (full context)
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Dave Sanders, having heard the gunfire aimed at Patti Nielson, runs toward it. He sees the... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Sheriff
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Media: Misinformation and Sensationalism Theme Icon
Linda Sanders, Dave Sanders’ wife, watches coverage from home as she waits for word of her husband. Dave... (full context)
Chapter 18: Last Bus
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
...stays with the families, consoling them, even as he fears the rumors he hears about Dave Sanders’ death. (full context)
Chapter 19: Vacuuming
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Shortly after the SWAT team reaches Science Room 3, Dave Sanders dies before he is able to be evacuated. His family is not notified. Linda... (full context)
Chapter 20: Vacant
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
...is coming. Around 3 p.m., a deputy arrives at their house and informs them that Dave has been “tentatively identified” as a victim. Linda screams and throws up. (full context)
Chapter 26: Help Is On the Way
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Dave Sanders’ daughters are “angry” about the things they’ve heard regarding his “disturbing” final hours bleeding... (full context)
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Dave Sanders was shot once in the back and once in the neck. The second bullet... (full context)
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
...again and again over the course of more than three hours. Students and teachers showed Dave pictures of his wife and children and grandchildren, begging him to hold on. Dave knew... (full context)
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
As the shooting ended and things within the building calmed down a bit, Dave lost consciousness. His students attempted to rouse him. Those still on the phone with 911... (full context)
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
...the science room and began evacuating students and teachers. Aaron Hancey begged to stay with Dave Sanders, but SWAT team members, trained to maximize the number of lives saved and recognize... (full context)
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Media: Misinformation and Sensationalism Theme Icon
Many people were angered by Dave Sanders’ story, and some called the SWAT team’s slow response “pathetic.” Members of the SWAT... (full context)
Chapter 43: Who Owns the Tragedy
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Dave and Linda Sanders had been preparing to retire to Laramie, Wyoming. After Dave’s death, Linda... (full context)
Chapter 47: Lawsuits
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Though most of the lawsuits are expected to fail, Dave Sanders’ daughter Angela is believed to have a chance—she is charging Jeffco with having allowed... (full context)
Chapter 49: Ready To Be Done
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
...the charges are dismissed by a federal judge. A federal judge keeps on, though, at Dave Sanders’ case, agreeing that the county was in the wrong. Angela Sanders is eventually paid... (full context)
Chapter 51: Two Hurdles
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Dave Sanders’ wife Linda, on the other hand, has felt every single anniversary acutely. After a... (full context)
Chapter 52: Quiet
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Media: Misinformation and Sensationalism Theme Icon
...school, killing two. They advance inside and spend another five minutes holding off deputies, shooting Dave Sanders, and roaming the hall in search of targets. They begin deploying pipe bombs into... (full context)