The detectives reinvestigate a mass shooting at a shopping mall in 1995, where two 16-year-olds killed 15 bystanders and wounded several others before turning their guns on themselves when footage from a recently discovered video camera suggests there was a third shooter who got away.
September 23, 1995
Cameron Coulter and Neal Hanlon are videotaping themselves at a food court in the mall on a Saturday afternoon, scanning the area for targets and having fun. They talk about entering "another dimension" and the "9th Circle of Hell," otherwise known as "The Mall." They count off "eenie meenie miney mo" between a little girl's father and a teenage boy, then landing on the boy, later identified as Zack, as they say "Mo." Neal comments that it's "home slice's lucky day". Cameron pulls out a shotgun and says, "A regular Saturday afternoon in America's town square." They start shooting everyone in their sight. Everyone is screaming and the boys continue shooting and laughing.
Cut to a newscast: "Weeks after, the city is still reeling after two teenage gunmen opened fire at the Woodland Valley Mall, killing 15 bystanders before taking their own lives." Cut to the evidence room where someone is putting up all the boxes from each victim of the shooting.
Present Det. Lilly Rush, Det. Scotty Valens, and Det. Nick Vera are walking outside, discussing how the lieutenant still has Rush "in a deep freeze over the Joseph case". Rush denies she knows anything about what Joseph is up to or where he is located. They run into Lt. John Stillman buying coffee. The lieutenant acknowledges Valens and Vera but ignores Rush. He asks if they remember the Coulter/Hanlon case of 1995. Renovations at the mall uncovered a video tape of the massacre. Cut to everyone viewing the tape at the station. Miller, Jeffries, Vera, Stillman, Rush, and Valens comment on the victims' testimonies and the evidence on the tape. Stillman notices that one of the gunmen hands the video camera over to someone else and asks that they rewind the tape, wondering who it could be. Rush announces: "third shooter."
Rush, Vera, and Stillman are looking through the evidence boxes. Vera reads aloud Cameron's illustrated journal: "I am the Destroyer (Cameron), The Apocalypse (Neal), The Widow Maker. I am a rifle. I am a gun. Look down the barrel of my hate; we're going to have some fun." They discuss Cameron's journal, Neal's artwork, and how all of the classmates knew of their plan as they talked about it 24/7, but no one took them seriously. They discuss what they know about the boys: "The boys were juniors at Lakefield High. Cameron was a counter boy at Cinnamon King; Neal pushed a broom at the mall." Stillman thinks that the third shooter probably worked at the mall as well. They find out that Neal's family moved to Georgia, but Cameron's family still lives in the area.
Valens and Jeffries go to speak to Cameron's father. He talks about how Cameron was a good, polite boy. That he was more of a follower than a leader. He mentions Renegade Massacre, the online game they played with Dayton Moore (one of the survivors). Dayton was a close friend of Cameron and Neal but became a bully once they were in high school.
Flashback: The evening of September 23, 1995, after the shooting spree. Sirens are wailing, a mob of people are frantic and yelling, and the police are escorting the survivors out of the mall. As different survivors are walking out, we see Cameron's parents. Tara, Tony, and Dayton walk out to embrace their families. Cameron's parents are wondering if more are coming. A police officer tells Cameron's parents that they need to come with him because Cameron may have been involved in the shooting.
Present Cut back to Cameron's dad. "Everyone blamed us. We were an ordinary family." Jeffries mentions that "ordinary families don't have assault rifles at home". Mr. Coulter gets defensive saying he had the gun for a hobby. At the police station, Dayton asks for the door to remain open as Rush and Miller walk in. He's uncomfortable being in a closed room. They ask about his relationship with Cameron and Neal. He admits that "The Widow Maker" was his online ID but he stopped playing with the boys long before the incident. He thought they were freaks and that they took the game too seriously. He didn't want to be seen in public with them.
Flashback: A couple of months before the shooting, Zack, Dayton, and a group of boys are sitting in the mall, talking about other kids and making fun of them. They call over Neal, who is working, and Zack throws a French fry on the floor for Neal to clean up. Neal sweeps it up and starts to walk away but then Zack throws his hotdog on the ground. Neal picks up the hotdog, takes a bite and stares down Zack. At this point, Cameron walks over and says, "Someone should take an Uzi to this mall" and pretends to shoot Zack.
Present Back at the police station, Dayton claims that he had been a jerk and he blames himself. At home, Rush is looking at a yearbook. Joseph is next to her in bed, talking about the possible third shooter. They start kissing. Lilly's phone rings and it's Vera talking what he found on the security footage from the mall. Rush leaves, but tells Joseph to rest up now.
At the police station, Vera, Miller, and Rush view the tape. At the time of the shooting, 40 people were trapped in the wing. The third shooter couldn't have gotten out, so they determined he's posing as a survivor. Later at the station, Rush and Valens are updating Stillman with no news of the third shooter after interviewing numerous survivors all morning. Vera walks in with news that the video camera was stolen from a store a few days before the attack and that survivor Davie Schulman was a stock boy there. Stillman asks Valens to come into his office and close the door. Stillman mentions that they have a pedophile from the 1980s at a boxing center who is going to court and that Valens' brother, Mike, may have been a victim back when he was 12. Valens denies that Mike is involved and doesn't want to look at the file. Valens walks out of the office with the file.
At a horse stable, Davie is grooming a horse while Miller interviews him and asks him about a possible third shooter. Davie admits he doesn't remember much. She brings up the video camera stolen from his store. He denies taking it.
Flashback: Just days before the shooting, Tina comes up to Davie, asking him for a distraction because she needs to get a camera. In the background, Zack is kissing a girl. Davie and Tina talk about Zack being a jerk. Tina had slept with Zack some time ago but he had ditched her. Even though he called her names, she still longs to be with him. While Tina and Davie talk, she sneakily grabs the camera and puts it in her bag without him knowing. As she leaves, she reveals to him that she stole the camera.
Present Back at the stables, Davie mentions that Tina was a lost soul and they drifted apart when he dropped out of school after the shooting. At a restaurant where Tina now works, Rush and Jeffries ask her how the video camera she stole ended up in the boys' hands. She is surprised at the news that the camera was used to record the shooting spree. She says security busted her and took the camera.
Flashback: At the mall security office, the guard, Barry Lewis, says he's going to have to call her parents when suddenly they are interrupted. He tells her "to stay put" but she sneaks off and follows him to the surveillance room. He is showing Cameron and Neal the real cameras and the dummy cameras. The boys mention how they could shoot up the place and no one would see. Barry says no one would care. He and Neal said they would love to see the look on people's faces when it was happening.
Present Tina says he never did call her parents and probably pocketed the camera. She tells Rush she thinks Barry was just a loser. Valens and Vera ask Barry about the stolen camera and the shootout. He denies any wrongdoing, reminding them that he was shot himself. Valens and Vera talk about how they think it went down, and Barry admits that the boys stole the camera off of his desk. He said he showed them the surveillance room because the boys showed him respect. Barry said it didn't matter anyway because the boys weren't trying to avoid the cameras; they wanted to be seen.
Flashback: The day of the shooting, Barry comes out of the elevator and is shot in the stomach. Tina peers around the corner. The two shooters walk away. Barry crawls over to Tina and she tries to save him by encouraging him to survive. Dayton walks around the corner and says "I did this... all of it... it's all my fault".
Present At Barry's job, Valens asks what he thought Dayton meant. Barry said he's not sure... and reveals that he is in a wheelchair as he wheels himself away. In the interrogation room, Dayton paces nervously. Rush and Stillman tell him they know he's the third shooter. Rush plays a portion of the tape. Dayton cries for it to stop and gets up to leave. Stillman pulls Dayton's face over to the TV screen. Dayton admits he tried to stop them (Zack and the others) because of what happened earlier that day.
Flashback: An hour before the shooting, friends of Zack are out in the mall office hallway, listening against a door. Zack is with Tina alone in the office and there are some noises coming from the room. Zack comes out and pulls Tina's underwear from his pocket. Tina tries to leave but the boys won't let her. Dayton says to let her go but Zack pushes him away. The boys start tearing at Tina's clothes and they push her back into the room. One boy doesn't participate in the attack and is holding Dayton against the wall. Tina is screaming while the other boys, including Zack are sexually assaulting her. Davie walks by and hears her screaming. He tries to help her, but the boys beat him up and walk off. Dayton tells Davie he tried to stop them but Davie shouts, "I'll put a bullet in all your heads!"
Present Back in interrogation room, Dayton says he tried to stop them. It was an hour before the shooting and he should have stopped them. Later in the interrogation room, Miller and Valens are with Davie. They tell him how they think it all went down... how he knew Cameron and Neal had guns and how he knew their plans. Davie denies that he did anything.
Flashback: Just before the shooting starts, Davie tries to console Tina. He says they should go to the police. She won't go to the police because she still likes Zack and says he didn't force her. Davie is upset with this news and coldly states that they shouldn't go to the police, "what's the big deal?" Stunned, Tina walks away and walks right up to Cameron and Neal who just walked in the mall.
Present Back in the interrogation room, Davie says he should have stopped her but he didn't believe anything bad would happen. Jeffries walks in and tells Rush and Vera that Tina just walked in the mall with a gun. At the mall, Tina sits with a gun. The police have surrounded her. Rush walks over to talk with her. They talk about the incident. She wanted Zack and his friends to hurt like they did to her. She feels guilty that innocent people died and got hurt because of her pain. Tina hands the gun over to Lilly.
Flashback: September 23, 1995, right before the shooting Tina goes up to Cameron and Neal and taunts them about making a porn film. Then she tells them she'll make them famous by videotaping them while they shoot up the place, which they had bragged about. Cameron suggests killing Tina first, who asks if she was dead, who was going to make them famous. Cameron reluctantly agrees. Neal asks what the plan is. She looks toward Zack and his friends and says, "Kill 'em all..Shoot everybody!" After Neal and Cameron mess around with the camera, the shooting begins and she is shocked that they are really shooting everyone, not just the boys who attacked her earlier. Neal shoves the camera into Tina's hands. He pulls out his gun and says "Everyone", then starts shooting. She runs and hides with the video camera in hand and the boys keep laughing and shooting. As Tina looks back, she sees the boys shake hands and say, "This is it bro. Roll credits. It's the end", and then shoot themselves. Tina's sobbing and throws the camera behind a vent. She looks around and sees blood and dead bodies everywhere.
Present Jewel plays. Rush and Stillman escort Tina out of the mall in handcuffs. Jeffries is collecting the evidence and putting it back into the boxes. Miller and Vera are returning the boxes back to the evidence room. The Coulter family is eating dinner together as the image of Cameron and Neal look on. we see framed pictures of Cameron through the years sitting on the shelf. Davie is walking his horse, Barry is feeding his son in a highchair, Dayton is shown enjoying the sunshine on his face and watching people outside. Valens is looking at the picture of his brother, Mike, and the other kids wearing boxing gear. They are all involved in the case. Rush is in bed with Joseph looking at a young picture of Tina. As she snuggles up to Joseph's shoulder in bed, the picture fades to black.
- Kathryn Morris as Lilly Rush
- Danny Pino as Scotty Valens
- John Finn as John Stillman
- Jeremy Ratchford as Nick Vera
- Thom Barry as Will Jeffries
- Tracie Thoms as Kat Miller
- Jeanette Brox as Tina (1995/2006)
- Kyle Gallner as Cameron Coulter
- Johnny Pacar as Dayton Moore (1995)
- Will Rothhaar as Neal Hanlon
- Martin Spanjers as Davie Shulman (1995)
- David Clayton Rogers as Davie Shulman (2006)
- Arnell Powell as Barry Lewis (1995/2006)
- Michael Trevino as Zack
- This episode was heavily based on the Columbine High School Massacre, which Jeffries specifically mentions. When closely examined, Cameron's journal has writing similar to Eric Harris' journal. Where Harris wrote "KILL MANKIND", Cameron wrote "KILL EVERYBODY".
- Kathryn Morris and Kyle Gallner would later costar in the film Cougars, Inc. (2010).
- Though on separate episodes, both Gallner and Rothhaar would before star in the crime drama Criminal Minds, both as killers. Rothhaar portrayed a jock/double-murderer while Gallner portrayed an psychotic serial killer.
- Including the suicides of Cameron Coulter and Neal Hanlon, this episode features 25 victims, making it the most deadly episode of Cold Case with the highest number of victims.
- At the end the ghosts of Cameron and Neal appear in Cameron's home, to his parents, while not even one of the victims of the shooting appears.
- The guns used by Cameron and Neal during the rampage include a short pump-action shotgun (used by Cameron similarly to Eric Harris) and a TEC-9 (used by Neal similarly to Dylan Klebold)
- This is the 70th episode of Cold Case.
- This is the only episode in which the identity of the killers were already known; the team investigates to discover an accomplice.
- Along with Greed, The Plan, Blackout, and Justice is featured an "evil victim": in this episode is Zack.
|Season 4 Episodes|
|Rampage | The War at Home | Sandhogs | Baby Blues | Saving Sammy | Static | The Key | Fireflies | Lonely Hearts | Forever Blue | The Red and the Blue | Knuckle Up | Blackout | 8:03 AM | Blood on the Tracks | The Good-Bye Room | Shuffle, Ball Change | A Dollar, A Dream | Offender | Stand Up and Holler | Torn | Cargo | The Good Death | Stalker|