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Colo. Officials Warn of Violence

May 4, 1999

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar, his state still in mourning over the Columbine High School massacre, has urged his counterparts to consider violent acts committed by minors both on and off school campuses when developing priorities to deal with such problems.

``Violence in schools is only one aspect of a very difficult problem we are dealing with,″ Salazar said Monday while heading a panel of officials from Colorado addressing a two-day school and youth violence conference.

The conference, hosted by the National Conference of Attorneys General, ends today. Attorneys general from more than 20 states attended the conference.

Preparing top officials nationwide for youth violence like that that took the lives of 15 people in Littleton, Colo., last month was the focus of discussions.

``Six weeks ago I would have said that this is the last place in America that school violence like this could happen. But I am here to tell you that it can happen everywhere,″ said Dave Thomas, district attorney for Jefferson County, Colo.

Thomas said Littleton, Colo. is in a white-collar, middle-class area.

``It has everything you would think that you would need to prevent school violence,″ he said.

Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, went into Columbine High School on April 20 and executed 12 students and one teacher before killing themselves.

Troy Eid, chief legal counsel to Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, said better relations among politicians can result in better programs to detect youth and school violence.

``Because if times get tough you’re going to need one another,″ Eid said.

Ari Zavaras, Colorado’s public safety director, urged the attorneys general to get their law enforcement agencies, community leaders and policy-makers together for possible violence in their states.

``Do any of you think this will be the last time this happens?″ he asked. ``Because I sure don’t.″

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