Cassie Bernall

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Cassie Bernall was a victim of the Columbine High School shooting who became a martyr figure in the media when rumors began to spread that her murder was a direct result of her unshakable Christian faith.

According to popular legend, Cassie was confronted by one of the Columbine killers and asked if she believed in God. When she responded to the affirmative, she was shot dead.

Cassie's mother, Misty Bernall, authored a book on the story of her daughter's life, titled She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall. Cassie's martyr myth also inspired songs by contemporary Christian artists Michael W. Smith and Flyleaf.


Witness accounts revealed that this event never took place. Bernall was hiding under a table in the library with Emily Wyant. Bernall praying aloud. Eric Harris spotted them, slammed his hand on the desk twice, said "peek-a-boo". Harris shot Bernall and she died instantly. Emily Wyant survived the attack and was the only surviving eye witness to Bernall's shooting. [1] [2] [3] [4]

The actual question was separately asked of Valeen Schnurr. Schnurr, who had been hurt badly, began to cry out at that point, "Oh, God help me!" Klebold went back to her and asked her if she believed in God. She floundered in her answer, saying no and then yes, trying to get the answer right. He asked her why; she said it was because it was what her family believed. He taunted her then walked away. Schnurr survived the attack and confirmed this version of events. The story was misattributed to Cassie Bernall. Schnurr and the investigators expressed little interest in antagonising the community by puncturing the myth of Cassie Bernall's death.

There is little indication that the shooters were targeting anybody in particular. They attempted to bomb the cafeteria while students were at lunch which is as indiscriminate as you can get, shot people without looking at them, and according to their plans were trying to kill as many people as they could. The two perpetrators - Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold - had been severely bullied, as well, which led to some of their hostility towards the student body. This attack was not due to religious affiliation, but because of severe unresolved psychological issues.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were in fact, Lutheran Christians at the time of the shooting.


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