The Columbine Valentine’s Day Murders

Lori Johnston
7 min readAug 20, 2020
Stephanie and Nick (photo source:

Columbine High School put itself on the unfortunate true crime map in 1999 when two of its students went on a deadly rampage through the hallways, killing twelve classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives.

Less than a year later, two more students were dead only blocks from the school.

Stephanie Hart-Grizzell, 16, and Nicholas Kunselman, 15, were the stereotypical high school sweethearts. Both Columbine High sophomores, the couple had been dating for two years. Stephanie loved poetry. Nick was a champion junior disc golf player. Both adored the arts and music and were inseparable.

In January of 2000, Nick started a part-time job at the local Subway sandwich shop, only blocks from Columbine. Despite his youth and new-hire status, by February the manager was allowing Nick to close up shop.

He was working the closing shift on Sunday, February 13, 2000. Stephanie, in her pajamas, had told her mother Kelly she would finish up homework before going to sleep. It was the last time Kelly would see her only child alive. Stephanie snuck out of the home to meet Nick at Subway and keep him company. It was something Kelly Grizzell said Stephanie had never done before.

It was after midnight when a co-worker drove by the sandwich shop, noticed the lights on and became concerned as to why the shop lights were still on.

(photo source: criminal misconduct)

Stephanie and Nick, found behind the counter, had been shot to death.

Kelly Grizzell noticed her daughter’s car missing from the driveway when she woke on Valentine’s Day morning. The Subway shooting was the top story on the morning news. She heard two people had been found dead and saw her daughter’s car out front during the live reporting.

Witnesses reported seeing a young man walking away from Subway around the time Stephanie and Nick were discovered. He was white, 16 to 20 years of age, clean shaven with blonde hair, standing 5'7" to 5'8", weighing 150 to 170 pounds, wearing blue jeans, a black jacket with…

Lori Johnston

Writer, reader, margarita drinker. Currently looking for a “dare to be great” situation.