Gardner had just finished his lunch when he received a call over the school’s radio from a custodian. “Neil,” called the custodian in a panicked voice, “I need you in the back lot!”
Gardner pulled out of the parking lot near the school’s tennis courts and drove onto Pierce Street in front of the school. The “back lot” being referred to by the custodian, he assumed, was the south student parking lot by the cafeteria. As soon as he pulled onto Pierce Street, he heard another call being dispatched over the Sheriff’s radio, “Female down in the south lot of Columbine High School.” He activated his lights and siren. It was 11:23.
In his own mind, he recalled later, he thought someone probably had been hit by a car.