One day after the horrific school shootings in Minnesota, details are beginning to emerge about 16-year-old shooter Jeff Weise, who took the lives of nine students and adults before turning the gun on himself.
According to an FBI timeline, Weise first killed his grandfather, 59-year-old veteran police officer Daryl Lussier, and his grandfather's companion, 32-year-old Michelle Sigana, early Monday afternoon at their home. (Weise did not live with Lussier, although authorities have not yet said where he was residing.)
Weise then strapped on his grandfather's bulletproof vest and gun belt, took the man's .22 caliber gun and drove his marked police cruiser to Red Lake High School just before the end of the school day (see "High School Shooter Reportedly Admired Hitler, Was Previously Investigated").
At a briefing on Tuesday afternoon (March 22), FBI agent Michael Tabman described how Weise then confronted Derrick Brun, 28, an unarmed security guard posted outside the school. Weise shot and killed the guard before making his way into the school through the front entrance, which had a metal detector.
Weise then walked down a hallway and fired at teacher Neva Rogers, 62, who fled to a classroom. Weise entered the classroom and opened fire, killing a number of students and Rogers before going back out into the hallway and randomly firing an as-yet-undetermined number of rounds at other students.
In addition to Rogers and Brun, five students were among those killed at the school: Thurlene Stillday, 15; Chenelle Rosebear, 15; Alicia Spike, 14; Dwayne Lewis, 15; and Chase Lussier, 15. Tabman would not say if Chase was related to Daryl Lussier.
The shooting is the deadliest at a U.S. school since the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado on April 20, 1999, in which 14 students, including the two killers, and a teacher died.
At one point, in an eerie parallel to the Columbine massacre, Weise is alleged to have asked a victim, "Do you believe in God?" before shooting him.
Red Lake police were alerted by students on their cell phones shortly after the 10-minute spree began. Four officers confronted Weise in the hallway, and at least one exchanged gunfire with the teen, described by witnesses as "grinning and waving" during the shootings. The police are not thought to have struck Weise, who then raced into a classroom and shot himself. All of the students who died, including Weise, were found in the same classroom.
There is a videotape of Weise in the hallway, but none of the shootings were caught on tape, according to Tabman.
Weise was described by students at the school as a "loner" who expressed admiration for Adolf Hitler and who drew pictures of characters wearing Nazi regalia during class.
According to The Associated Press, Weise's name came up on an Internet search in connection to a Nazi-sympathetic Web site. In the posts, the teen reportedly said he admired Hitler and used the screen names "Todesengel" — German for "angel of death" — and "NativeNazi." He posted on the nationalist forum last April that police investigated him after learning of plans to "shoot up the school on 4/20, Hitlers (sic) birthday." He later claimed in the forum that he had been cleared in the investigation.
Tabman said there "could be some clues" in the case based on Weise's Internet postings, but he could not confirm the postings were Weise.
The Libertarian National Socialist Green Party, however, issued a statement confirming that Weise posted the messages there and that such events are "expected when thinking people are crammed into an unthinking, irrational modern society," according to CNN.
In his various postings, Weise said he was a member of the Ojibwa tribe and that he disliked interracial mixing among the American Indians on his reservation, but that he was "a peaceful person" who would only be violent in self-defense.
"I guess I've always carried a natural admiration for Hitler and his ideals, and his courage to take on larger nations," he wrote in a March 2004 post.
"Under a National Socialist government, things for us would improve vastly," he wrote in a separate post. "That is why I am pro-Nazi. It's hard, though, being a Native American National Socialist, people are so misinformed, ignorant and close-minded, it makes your life a living hell."
At some point recently, Weise had been placed in his school's "homebound" program for an unspecified violation, according to the AP. In that program, a teacher visits students' homes to tutor them.
Tabman said it is believed that Weise acted alone and that he chose victims at random. Officials have confiscated computer equipment in their investigation but have so far not revealed whether Weise left behind any suicide note or evidence of a plan, though, "the nature of the activities would indicate there was a plan," Tabman said.
Relatives told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Weise was teased often at school and that "he snapped." His father committed suicide four years ago and his mother suffered brain injuries in a car accident and lives in a nursing home in Minnesota.
Information about some of the victims in the shooting emerged Tuesday morning during a press conference at the North County Regional Hospital, the closest major hospital to the scene. Emergency medical director Dr. Joe Corser said that North County received six victims, all male, all under the age of 17, two of whom were airlifted to MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, due to the extent of their injuries.
Those two victims received, respectively, gunshot wounds to the head and to the face. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune identified them as Jeffrey May, 15, and Steve Cobenais, 15, both in critical condition. Another patient had a gunshot wound on the hip, and two others were admitted to North County with wounds to the chest. Several of the victims had more than one injury. The sixth patient died as a result of a shot to the head.
Floyd Jourdain, chairman of the Red Lake Ojibwa Nation, said his community was "devastated" by this event. "Without a doubt, this is the darkest day in the history of our people," Jourdain said Tuesday. "We are in utter disbelief and shock."
In the Capitol building in St. Paul on Tuesday, several hundred people, including religious leaders and Native Americans drumming and chanting, attended a prayer ceremony for victims.
MTVNews.com will continue to update this story as information becomes available.
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