Patrick Ireland was a junior at Columbine High School in 1999. On April 20, 1999, Patrick spent lunch in the library with a few friends - Dan Steepleton, Austin Eubanks, Corey DePooter and Makai Hall - when the shots rang out. When instructed to get under the tables by teacher Patti Nielson, he ducked under with Dan and Makai.
When the shooters entered, one of them yelled, “Anyone with a white hat stand up!” and he removed his, despite not knowing what color it was. His eyes closed, he listened to multiple gun shots ring in the room, and didn’t open them until he heard Makai groan due to a gunshot wound to the knee. Patrick attempted to stop the bleeding when he suddenly blacked out - that was when he was shot in the head and later in his right foot.
Later, Patrick regained consciousness and decided to evacuate. He realized he couldn’t move his right leg or right arm, and crawled his way to the library window to escape. Because he was coming in and out of consciousness, it took him a long time.
He got to the window, and remembers SWAT members telling him to stand still until they were ready to catch him - he didn’t, despite remembering doing so. But, they managed to catch him as he fell from the window in front of millions who were watching live on television. Had he not made it to the window, Patrick more than likely would not have survived his injuries.
At the hospital, they discovered that his speech and motor skills were greatly affected by the gunshot wound, at first barely speaking anything but gibberish and was not expected to walk again. However, Patrick has made a near-complete recovery, walking and all. Sometimes he still struggles to find the words, but he can do it.
He returned to Columbine and graduated the next year as co-valedictorian. Patrick is married now and living a happy life.