Online auctioneer eBay won't be pulled into the investigation of the Littleton massacre after all.
In a statement Thursday, eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) said the FBI and Bureau Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) "did not anticipate ever needing any assistance from eBay in this investigation" -- pouring cold water on a San Francisco Examiner report that agents for the ATF are investigating auction sites as a source for the weapons used in the massacre.
The newspaper, quoting unidentified sources, said Wednesday that eBay account data was found on one of the killer's computers.
eBay released a statement in response to the Examiner report Thursday afternoon. "eBay was never contacted by federal authorities responsible for the investigation into the Littleton, Colo., tragedy," the statement said.
Following the Examiner report, eBay said it "immediately" contacted the FBI and ATF Special Agents in Colorado "who are directly responsible for the investigation," and was informed that law enforcement did not need any assistance from eBay.
"Further," the statement said, "the agents informed eBay that, at this time, they did not anticipate ever needing any assistance from eBay in this investigation."
CNN reported Thursday that police are on the verge of arresting a man who may have illegally sold the semiautomatic handgun used in the Columbine High School massacre. The other three guns used in the shootings were reportedly supplied by a girlfriend of one of the shooters.
ATF officials did not immediately return ZDNN's phone calls. The Examiner said that an ATF spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the report.
eBay discontinued its firearms listings in February, stating that the Internet was "not an appropriate venue" for the sale of firearms and ammunition. The company had previously separated firearm sales into an adult section, and began requiring credit card numbers for access to the site. But the company said that sellers couldn't adequately check out their buyers online.