Red Lake High School, which has a student population of 300, was closed Tuesday as authorities searched for clues behind Monday afternoon’s shooting.
Before opening fire on his classmates, the 16-year-old gunman, Jeff Weise, shot and killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s companion. Weise then took a patrol car and guns belonging to his grandfather, Daryl Lussier — a long-time officer with the Red Lake Police Department, to the high school.
Upon entering school grounds, Weise shot an unarmed security guard and walked into a classroom where he killed five students and a female teacher. At least a dozen others were wounded.
Sandra Hegstrom, a student and survivor, said, “You could hear a girl saying, ‘No, quit, no Jeff. Quit! Quit! Leave me alone. Why are you doing this?’ And then boom, boom, boom, boom, and then no more screaming.”
After exchanging gunfire with police, Weise turned the gun on himself.
The Red Lake Indian Reservation, a community of 5,000 people, was still coming to terms with the incident a day later.
Floyd Jourdain, chairman of the Red Lake Ojibwa Nation said, “This is a small community. There will not be one soul who isn’t touched by this tragedy here in Red Lake.”
The school shooting was the worst since the 1999 Columbine High School rampage in Littleton, Colo. Monday’s was the second school shooting in Minnesota in the past 18 months after two students were fatally shot at Rocori High School in the town of Cold Spring.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty expressed his condolences. “We ask Minnesotans to help comfort the families and friends of the victims who are suffering unimaginable pain by extending prayers and expressions of support.”