A second hour went by. Someone crept to a science room window facing the parking lot and held up a sign that read 1 BLEEDING TO DEATH. Still, no SWAT team. No fire ladder to the window. No chopper.
Three hours and nothing. The kids in the science room weren't hearing explosions anymore, but they dared not run for it. They figured the killers could be anywhere. How could they know that the killers had been dead for more than an hour?
Somehow, Sanders stayed alive, despite losing body heat, blood and breath. "He was a brave man," says Hancey. "He hung in there. He was a tough guy." Finally, after 3� hours, a SWAT team burst in. One member said he'd wait with Sanders until a stretcher came. "Even if they'd gotten him out then," says Hancey, "I think he would've made it."
Outside, in the hollow-eyed afternoon, there came a rumor that Sanders was in surgery at a Denver hospital. For hours Linda and the girls frantically called area hospitals. Nothing. Finally, at about 9 p.m., Angela went live on a Denver TV station and pleaded, "Does anybody know where my father is?"
Her father was still in that science room. He died by the time paramedics reached him. He died a couple hundred yards from 300 cops and dozens of ambulances. Only the kids in that terrifying room heard his last words: "Tell my girls I love them."
Everybody said Dave Sanders lived for kids.
Should've known he'd die for them, too.