Expanded plans for children at Columbine speaker event

The church near Newtown that is hosting a Columbine survivor to talk about her experiences has expanded plans for a children’s ministry in effort to accommodate more families.

Woodman Miller (AP)

Crystal Woodman Miller is planning to speak Sunday, Dec. 30, at Calvary Chapel Southbury – a church roughly eight miles from the school where 20 children and six school staff members were killed.

“Her nightmare at Columbine lasted just seven minutes, but changed her life forever,” read an advertisement for the speech, posted at Carminuccio’s Pizza in Newtown.

There will be three services that Sunday: 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The Columbine massacre in Colorado left 13 victims dead and 21 injured on April 20, 1999. It’s the deadliest mass murder at a United States high school, and, like the killer in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the perpetrators ended the rampage with their own deaths.

At lunchtime, the two Columbine killers pulled guns from under their trench coats and started firing. Woodman-Miller, then 16, hid under a library table with two others. She believes they survived because the shooters ran out of ammunition before getting to them, according to a Time magazine report.

In that 2007 article, Woodman Miller recalled the aftermath as a blur of media attention, memorial services and funerals, and said “it took a long time to be able to laugh or even smile without feeling guilty.” She also said she had violent dreams every night for two years.

The advertisement for her Dec. 30 speech in Newtown said she will “share her experience and offer comfort and hope for healing to our community.”

Miller, who has said her faith gave her hope for life after the tragedy, has written a book about her experiences, “Marked for Life.” She’s now a full-time speaker and author.

Casey McNerthney