Columbine hero killed working on New Mexico power lines

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CARLSBAD, N.M. — One of the first students to dial for help on the morning of the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999 was electrocuted and killed while working on power lines in New Mexico Monday morning.

Xcel Energy confirmed the news of Matthew DePew’s death in a statement Wednesday morning.

“Tragically, one of our servicemen, Matthew DePew, died early Saturday while working on outage restoration activities outside of Carlsbad, New Mexico,” the company wrote. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the friends, family and co-workers affected by this tragic accident.”

Xcel gave no explanation of the incident that led to DePew’s death, saying that “the cause is under investigation” and that “drawing any conclusions at this stage would be premature.”

“We are fully cooperating with the authorities and are conducting our own thorough investigation,” the statement read.

Paramedics attempted to revive DePew, according to a report from, but were unsuccessful. DePew’s body has been sent to Albuquerque for an autopsy.

DePew’s father was a Denver police officer on April 20, 1999, and DePew phoned him that fateful morning after reportedly seeing a classmate shot outside Columbine High School. That call proved to be one of the first emergency notifications authorities received.

According to a report from the Farmington Daily Times, DePew was one of the Xcel employees who volunteered to assist in the wake of Superstorm Sandy on the East Coast earlier this year, driving 2,300 miles to Long Island and working 10 days to help restore power to the region.