More than 2,000 mourn Columbine basketball star

LITTLETON, Colo. - In an all-too-familiar ritual for this community, more than 2,000 people attended the funeral Tuesday of a Columbine High School basketball star who hanged himself last week.

Greg Barnes was the fourth Columbine student or relative to die since last year's deadly shooting rampage.

''A community that is used to shock is in shock once again,'' said the Rev. Don Marxhausen of St. Philip Lutheran Church. ''A principal, a faculty, a student body has to again open up the deep parts of themselves to find resources.''

Barnes, 17, was remembered during the 90-minute service at St. Frances Cabrini Roman Catholic Parish for his kindness, generosity and infectious laugh and smile.

''He was always really kind to people he didn't know. Even though he was a star athlete, he didn't act like it,'' said Dan Opher, a senior at nearby Chatfield High School. Opher had to leave the service early because it was too painful.

Barnes saw a teacher critically wounded and lost one of his best friends in the April 20, 1999, shooting at Columbine High School. Twelve students and a teacher were killed. The student gunmen than turned the weapons on themselves.

Barnes hanged himself in his garage Thursday.

At the church, mourners passed by a tribute of flowers, photographs and Barnes' framed basketball jersey.

Sara Filipiak, a Columbine junior, said the service was both sad and hopeful. ''Every time I saw him he was smiling,'' Filipiak said.

Since the attack, the Columbine community has been beset by tragedy.

The mother of Anne-Marie Hochhalter, a student paralyzed in the shooting, walked into a pawnshop in October, asked to see a gun, loaded it and shot herself to death. And on Valentine's day, two Columbine sweethearts were shot to death in a sandwich shop.


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