Teen Goes on Shooting Rampage at Minnesota High School
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KWAME HOLMAN: Gunfire rocked Red Lake High School at around 3 P.M. yesterday. That’s when 16-year-old Jeff Weise reportedly went on a shooting rampage on this sprawling Indian reservation of some 5,000 residents in rural northern Minnesota.
FBI officials in charge of the investigation said Weise killed his grandfather, who was a tribal police officer, and his girlfriend at their home, then took the grandfather’s squad car and weapons for the attack at the school.
MICHAEL TABMAN: Mr. Weise then, we believe, took the police bulletproof vest and gun belt from his grandfather, donned those, got into the police vehicle his grandfather had, and drove to the school, driving right up to the door. As he got out of the car, entered the school, he was confronted by an unarmed security guard, Derek Brun, age 28.
At that time Mr. Weise, it is believed, shot and killed security guard Brun. We believe then that Mr. Weise proceeded down the hall of the school, and down the hall he saw a teacher and some students. The teacher, Ms. Neva Rogers, is 52. He fired some shots in their direction. Understandably, they fled and ran to a classroom.
Mr. Weise continued to pursue them into the classroom. It was there that he opened fire, killing a number of students and the teacher. Shortly after that, Mr. Weise continued to roam through the school, firing randomly.
KWAME HOLMAN: Teachers and students said they dove for cover under desks and called for help on cell phones.
LEAHNA BARRETT: He just got out the cop car and just stood right in front of the high school front entrance and started shooting.
KWAME HOLMAN: This man’s younger brother was wounded during the shooting.
ANDREW ANGUINASH: Well, my brother was in class and heard some commotion outside, and it sounded like somebody banging on the lockers real loud. So, I don’t know what happened.
His friend happened to walk out into the hallway, and he stepped out after him, and the shooter came around the corner and pointed a gun at him and shot him. He didn’t know he was shot until he went back into the classroom and he looked down and he saw blood on his shirt.
KWAME HOLMAN: Some among the 330 students at Red Lake High said Weise may have planned the attack.
STUDENT: A couple kids told me that he planned this last year; that he was going to come up here and shoot the school.
KWAME HOLMAN: Others said they never expected something like this.
ALICIA NEADEU: He seemed like a pretty cool guy from what I know, from whenever I talked with him. He seemed all friendly. Never thought that anything like that would come of him.
KWAME HOLMAN: Authorities said it appeared that Weise acted alone, and that a videotape had recorded the teen’s movements in the school’s hallways, but not in any classrooms, one of which was the site of most of the killings.
MICHAEL TABMAN: The videotape, as I understand it, is of him in the hallway. None of the shootings were caught on the videotape.
KWAME HOLMAN: After Weise got into a fire fight with police officers, officials say, he retreated to a classroom and killed himself. The Red Lake attack was the deadliest school shooting since 1999, when teen gunmen killed 13 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
Today, officials at North Country Regional Hospital in central Minnesota said at least three of the victims at Red Lake High School were shot at close range.
TIM HALL: We had a couple of head injuries, close range. The shooter was intent on something.
REPORTER: What does that tell you, those kinds of injuries?
TIM HALL: What does that tell me? I think there was an intent to kill.
KWAME HOLMAN: Five students remained hospitalized today, including two with critical injuries. Floyd Jourdain, chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, said his community was deeply shaken.
FLOYD JOURDAIN, JR.: Our community is devastated by this event. We have never seen anything like this in the history of our tribe, and without doubt this is the darkest days in the history of our people. And right now we are in utter disbelief and shock.
KWAME HOLMAN: FBI and local law enforcement officials said they were working with local tribal authorities to find a motive.