Meet Anne Marie Hochhalter
Anne Marie Hochhalter should get a price for being an amazing human being. The 34-year-old –who is one of the Columbine High School shooting survivors –said in a statement she has forgiven the parents of one of the shooters.
The shooting which took place 17-years-ago left 12 people killed and over 20 injured. Dylan Klebold and his classmate Eric Harris committed suicide moments after the horrific shooting spree in 1999.
In 1999, Anne Marie, the daughter of Ted and Carla Hochhalter, was sitting outside the Cafeteria with two friends eating lunch when the gunmen started spraying bullets. The then, 17-year-old was one of the first students to be shot.
Anne Marie Hochhalter suffered two gunshot wounds, and the doctors didn’t think she was going to survive because of life-threatening injuries to her lung, liver, diaphragm and a major vein.
She was left with a spinal cord injury at the T-12 level (lower back), which left her paralyzed from the waist down. It was quick work by law enforcement officers and paramedics that saved her life.
In a 2009 article, Anne Marie Hochhalter –who was just weeks away from graduation –said when she first heard the sound of gunfire she thought it was some senior’s prank.
Amid Susan Klebold’s interview tonight on 20/20, Anne Marie Hochhalter wrote a moving letter to the mother of Dylan Klebold. She signed her statement with “I have forgiven you and only wish you the best.”
Anne Marie Hochhalter reveals in her powerful message of forgiveness, that the parents of Dylan Klebold sent her a hand-written note months after the shooting. She was still at the hospital when she received the letter from the Klebold’s and she branded the note as ‘genuine and personal.’
In the card Klebold sent 17 years ago, she apologized “with deepest humility” for the suffering her son brought Hochhalter and her family.
In her letter, originally posted on her Facebook page, Anne Marie Hochhalter also shows her sympathy for the mother, as she writes her own mother, Carla took her life six-months following her wounding.
Hochhalter’s mother had a history of mental illness. Carla Hochhalter’s depression and paranoia intensified during the years preceding Columbine, and the mother Hochhalter once knew was fading away long before the attack at the school. Her mother went to a pawn shop, asked to see a gun, loaded it with bullets, and killed herself inside the store.
Anne Marie Hochhalter was pleased to know Susan Klebold will donate the profit of her book to the mentally ill.
In 2012 Anne Marie Hochhalter signed a petition for a movie not to be made about the shooting.
While attending Columbine HS, Anne Marie Hochhalter described herself as a ‘band-geek’ She spent most of her time playing clarinet in Columbine High School’s marching band and wind symphony.
The former shy student turned into an amazing woman.
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