Murderpedia

 

 

Juan Ignacio Blanco  

 

home

last updates

MALE murderers

by country

by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
   

FEMALE murderers

by country

by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 

Jeffrey James WEISE

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


The Red Lake High School massacre
 
Classification: Spree killer
Characteristics: Juvenile (16) - School shooting
Number of victims: 9
Date of murders: March 21, 2005
Date of birth: August 8, 1988
Victims profile: His grandfather, Daryl "Dash" Lussier, 58, and Michelle Sigana, 32 / Neva Wynkoop-Rogers, 62 (teacher) / Derrick Brun, 28 (unarmed security guard) / Dewayne Lewis, 15; Chase Lussier, 15; Chanelle Rosebear, 15; Thurlene Stillday, 15, and Alicia White, 14 (students)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Red Lake, Minnesota, USA
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day
 
 

 
 
photo gallery
 
 

 
 
victims
 
 

 
 

The Red Lake High School massacre was a school massacre that took place on Monday, March 21, 2005 in which Jeffrey Weise, a student at Red Lake High School in Red Lake, an unincorporated section of Beltrami County, Minnesota, killed seven people including a teacher and a security guard.

Weise had previously killed his grandfather (a police officer) and his grandfather's girlfriend/partner at home before going to school to commit the massacre. Seven others were wounded. When police cornered Weise inside the school, he shot and killed himself.

Another student believed to be involved in planning the event was arrested one week after the shootings. He was charged with conspiracy to commit murder based on several email messages he exchanged with Jeff Weise which involved plans for the Red Lake High School massacre.

The conspiracy charge was eventually dropped, though he pled guilty to transmitting threatening messages through the Internet. This student was Louis Jourdain, son of Floyd Jourdain Jr, Tribal Chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Native Americans.

March 21 - Massacre on Red Lake reservation

Despite its commonly being referred to as the Red Lake High School massacre, two of the victims died in their home on the reservation.

Killing at home

The incident began on the afternoon of March 21 when Weise shot his grandfather, Daryl "Dash" Lussier, with a .22 pistol while Lussier was sleeping. It is not known how Weise got the pistol, but he is believed to have possessed it for as long as a year before the shooting.

Weise then stole Lussier's two police-issue weapons, a 9 mm Glock and pump-action shotgun. He shot Michelle Sigana, Lussier's girlfriend and (police) partner, when she returned home.

Shooting at Red Lake High School

Weise then drove his grandfather's squad car to school, arriving at around 2:45 p.m. Central Standard Time (19:45 UTC). Passing through the building's main entrance, he encountered unarmed security guard Derrick Brun, who was manning the school's metal detector.

Weise fatally shot Brun, and then proceeded down a hallway firing at students, killing five students and a teacher (Neva Rogers) and injuring seven others. Witnesses say he smiled and waved as he shot at people. In an incident reminiscent of the rumours that spread after the events that took place during the Columbine High School massacre, one witness said that he asked a victim if he believed in God, before killing him.

Brief shoot-out with police

FBI special agent Paul McCabe stated that at some point, Weise returned to the entrance where he had opened fire and engaged in a brief shoot-out with the police, which ended when he retreated to the classroom having been wounded in the hip and leg by at least two bullets.

Weapons

Weise was armed with the following during the shooting:

  • .22 handgun - Unknown where Weise got this weapon from, may have possessed it for up to a year before the shooting.

  • 9 mm Glock 17 - Stolen from Daryl Lussier (police issued weapon).

  • Shotgun - Also taken from Lussier's home. Possibly police issued, presumably 12 gauge.

Victims of the school shooting

There were a total of 7 fatalities and 14 injuries in the school on March 21;

Faculty:

  • Neva Wynkoop-Rogers, 62, Teacher

Staff:

  • Derrick Brun, 28, unarmed security guard

Students:

  • Dewayne Lewis, 15

  • Chase Lussier, 15 (not related to Daryl Lussier)

  • Chanelle Rosebear, 15

  • Thurlene Stillday, 15

  • Alicia White, 14

Injured

  • Ryan Auginash, 14, gunshot wound to the chest.

  • Steven Cobenais, 15, shot in the forehead, airlifted to Fargo, North Dakota.

  • Lance Crowe, 15, gunshot wound to the hand and chest.

  • Jeffrey May, 15, tried to wrestle shooter, was shot in the neck.

  • Cody Thunder, 15, received a gunshot wound to the hip.

Other Deaths

Perpetrator

  • Jeffrey Weise, 16, committed suicide by self-inflicted shotgun blast to the head.

Killed prior to the Shooting

  • Daryl Lussier, 58, killed by several .22 shots to the torso

  • Michelle Sigana, 32, killed by at least one 9 mm shot to the chest

Aftermath

  • The Chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Floyd "Buck" Jourdain Jr., stated that the shootings were "one of the darkest and most painful occurrences in the history of our tribe."

  • The shooting is the fourth deadliest school shooting in the United States, behind Columbine High School Massacre, University of Texas shooting, and the Virginia Tech Massacre.

  • Red Lake High School had installed metal detectors and had hired a security guard in 1995.

  • Louis Jourdain, the son of Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr., was arrested in connection with the shootings on March 28, 2005 and charged with conspiracy. He was charged with conspiracy to commit murder based on several email messages he exchanged with Jeff Weise which involved plans for the Red Lake High School massacre. The conspiracy charge was eventually dropped, though Jordain pled guilty to transmitting threatening messages through the Internet.

  • President Bush praised security guard Derrick Brun on March 26, 2006. He said "Derrick's bravery cost him his life, and all Americans honor him... ...Although he was unarmed, Derrick ignored the pleas of a colleague to run for his life... ...by engaging the assailant; he bought vital time for a fellow security guard to rush a group of students to safety."

  • The massacre was briefly blamed on the 2003 film Elephant which is about a school shooting and was watched by Jeffrey Weise 17 days prior to the shooting. A friend of Weise said that he brought the movie over to a friends house and skipped ahead to parts that showed two students planning and carrying out a school massacre, although they talked about the film afterwards Jeffrey Weise said and did nothing to make anyone suspect what he was planning.

Internet activities

According to The Smoking Gun, Weise created a 30-second Flash animation animation called "Target Practice" and another, 50-second animation called "Clown" weeks before the shooting. He posted both animations at the newgrounds.com Web site. "Target Practice" depicts a character shooting four people and blowing up a police car before committing suicide; "Clown" ends with one character being strangled by a clown.

At Weise's MSN Profile page, he described himself as "16 years of accumulated rage suppressed by nothing more than brief glimpses of hope, which have all but faded to black."


Connecticut Post (Bridgeport, CT) - March 22, 2005

Minn. killing spree ends in teen's apparent suicide

Red Lake, Minn. ? A high school student went on a shooting rampage Monday, killing his grandparents at their home and then five people at his school on an Indian reservation. The gunman himself was later found shot to death, authorities said.

It was the nation's worst school shooting since the Columbine massacre in 1999. Before the shootings at Red Lake High School, the suspect's grandparents were shot in their home and died later.


Philadelphia Daily News (PA) - March 22, 2005

10 die in shooting rampage, Student killed grandparents

A high school student went on a shooting rampage on this Indian reservation yesterday, killing his grandparents at their home and then seven people at his school, "grinning and waving" as he fired, authorities and witnesses said. The gunman was later found shot to death. It was the nation's worst school shooting since the Columbine massacre in 1999. Students pleaded with the gunman to stop shooting.


Grand Forks Herald (ND) - March 22, 2005

TEEN DESCRIBED AS 'GOTH,' 'LONER'.

BOY'S FATHER COMMITTED SUICIDE FOUR YEARS AGO MOTHER LIVES IN NURSING HOME

Jeff Wiese, the 15-year-old named by several reservation residents as the gunman, was a quiet, withdrawn loner who was teased about his appearance. A Red Lake School District employee said Wiese was teased about his towering height and being a "Goth kid" who wore a dark trench coat to school year-round. Another school worker described Wiese as "a mixed-up kid who seemed lost in life. He wasn't into normal things that kids should be.


Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA) - March 22, 2005

SHOOTING REGION IS POOR AND REMOTE

The Indian reservation where 10 people died in a shooting spree Monday is located in a remote area of northern Minnesota, and is home to one of the poorest tribes in the state. About 5,000 people live on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, almost all of them American Indians. The Red Lake Chippewa Tribe itself has about 9,400 enrolled members. The reservation is about 240 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, and the town of Red Lake is about 75 miles south of the Canadian border.


School Killer's Animated Terror

Minnesota teen posted bloody Flash film late last year

The Smoking Gun, March 23, 2005

The Minnesota teenager responsible for Monday's high school shooting spree last year created a violent, blood-soaked video that included an animated character shooting four people and blowing up a police car before committing suicide, The Smoking Gun has learned. Using the alias "Regret," Jeff Weise, 16, last October posted online a 30-second animation entitled "Target Practice."

Weise posted a second short, "Clown," several weeks after uploading "Traget Practice" to a popular multimedia web site. The 50-second "Clown" ends with one character apparently being strangled by the clown.

In a brief bio accompanying his Flash animations, Weise described himself as "nothin but a Native American teenage-stoner-industrialist," whose favorite movies included "Dawn of the Dead," "Thunderheart," and "Lakota Woman." His favorite recording artists included Korn, Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, and John Lennon. The web page with links to Weise's two Flash animations includes his photo (seen above) and an e-mail address (decemberofthesoul@hotmail.com) that the teen used when posting 34 comments on the web site nazi.org, where Weise used the handles "nativenazi" and "todesengel," which translates to "angel of death" in German.


School shooter 'admired Hitler'

The Age, March 23, 2005

A neo-Nazi teenager who called himself the Angel of Death killed his grandfather and then stole his weapons and police car before embarking on a bloody shooting spree at a United States school.

Jeff Weise, 16, who openly admired Adolf Hitler, massacred nine people before finally turning the gun on himself on a remote Indian reservation in Minnesota.

FBI special agent Michael Tabman said Weise had gone to the home of his grandfather, a police officer, killing the man and his wife before jumping behind the wheel of his police car and heading for the school where he killed seven more people.

Armed with a police-issue pistol, shotgun and wearing a bullet-proof vest, he killed a security guard before pursuing two teachers into a classroom and opening fire.

He then went on the rampage through the school, killing randomly, before exchanging gunfire with police and eventually shooting himself. The entire incident yesterday lasted no more than 10 minutes.

At one point, Weise was captured on videotape in the school corridor. One student said her classmates pleaded with Weise to stop shooting.

"You could hear a girl saying, 'No, Jeff, quit, quit. Leave me alone. What are you doing?"' said student Sondra Hegstrom.

During the rampage, teachers herded students from one room to another, trying to move away from the sound of the shooting, witnesses said.

Weise was caught on camera in the corridor, but no shootings were.

Reggie Graves, a student at Red Lake High School, said he was watching a film about Shakespeare in class when he heard the gunman blast his way past the metal detector at the school's entrance, killing a guard.

In a nearby classroom he heard the gunman speak to his friend.

"He asked Ryan if he believed in God," Graves said. "And then he shot him."

All of the dead students, including the killer, were found in one room.


Red Lake shooting survivor says he tried to reach out to gunman

Sign on SanDiego, March 24, 2005

BEMIDJI, Minn. ? A teenager wounded in the Red Lake High School shooting said he reached out to gunman Jeff Weise before the attack because the boy seemed to have no friends.

"He looked like a cool guy, and then I talked to him a few times," 15-year-old Cody Thunder said Thursday. "He talked about guns and shooting people.

Thunder said despite that, and even though Weise cultivated a dangerous appearance that included sculpting his hair into devil horns ? "It looked like he was trying to be evil" ? Thunder never thought Weise would shoot up their school.

At first, "I thought he was messing around, I thought it was a paintball gun or something," said Thunder, the first wounded student to describe the nation's deadliest school shooting since Columbine.

Weise, a hulking 16-year-old, shot to death five students, a security guard and a teacher Monday at the school on the Red Lake Indian reservation, then killed himself. Earlier, he shot to death his grandfather and the man's girlfriend.

Asked during a hospital news conference what kind of expression Weise had ? some witnesses said he was smiling and waving during the attack ? Thunder said: "It was a mean face."

"He was aiming at me," said Thunder, who was shot once in the hip.

Thunder said he had a few classes with Weise last year and spoke with him a few times. "Because no one talked to him. I just thought it would be nice to go talk to him, so I did," Thunder said.

Also at the news conference at North Country Regional Hospital was 15-year-old Lance Crowe, Thuder's cousin, who relatives said may have survived by playing dead after being shot. He declined to speak.

The wounded also included one 15-year-old in serious condition, and another in critical condition.


Shooter in Minn. school case chatted, blogged frequently

USA Today

March 24, 2005

MINNEAPOLIS ? "Overkill" and Adolf Hitler fascinated him, but the self-described "Native Nazi" was frustrated with teachers.

Internet chatter attributed to Jeff Weise, the Red Lake teenager who went on a shooting rampage at his high school, outlined his mental state in the months before he killed nine people and himself Monday.

"The only one's who oppose my views are the teachers at the high school, and a large portion of the student body who think a Nazi is a Klansman, or a White Supremacist thug," he posted under the name "NativeNazi" at a National Socialist forum. "Many of the Natives I know have been poisoned by what they were taught in school."


Kid who tried to befriend Red Lake shooter got hit

He said gunman outside the door 'was aiming at me'

San Francisco Chronicle

March 25, 2005

Bemidji, Minn. -- Many students at Red Lake High School ignored Jeff Weise, with his weird hairstyles and his talk about guns. Cody Thunder, who is 15, was one of the few who reached out and tried to make a connection. Just ordinary conversation, he said, nothing too deep.

But on Monday afternoon, as Cody sat in biology class -- the usual spot at the front row, he said, near the door for a quick exit when the bell rang - - there was Jeff outside in the hallway, visible through a glass partition, armed with a pistol.

"He was aiming at me," Cody said. An instant later, a bullet crashed through the glass into Cody's hip.

For the survivors like Cody, who spoke to reporters on Thursday from the hospital where he is being treated, there is an added question: Why them? Cody said it seemed clear that the gun was not pointed randomly into the classroom, but specifically at him, a person who'd offered friendship.

"That school is always going to be a fear for me now," he said.

Lance Crowe, who is also 15 -- and Cody Thunder's cousin -- was wounded in the arm and the chest. His uncle, Dan Crowe, told reporters how Lance had "played dead," lying among those killed. It was from there on the floor, Dan Crowe said, that Lance watched as the shooter came back into the classroom and killed himself just a few feet away as the police closed in.


Friend Says Minn. Teen Gunman on Prozac

The Dunn County New

March 26, 2005

Jeff Weise was taking the anti-depressant Prozac following a suicide scare last summer, said Sky Grant, 16, a friend of Weise's since sixth grade.

Grant and his mother, Gayle Downwind, said Weise was taken to a psychiatric ward in Thief River Falls last summer after Weise frightened another friend with suicidal computer messages. Grant said he didn't know how long Weise stayed at the hospital.

Grant, who was taking Zoloft, said he and Weise talked in detail about anti-depressants. He said Weise told him he was taking 40 milligrams a day of Prozac: 20 in the morning, 20 at night.

"He was a lot more quiet. I wouldn't say any better," Grant said.

In October, the Food and Drug Administration ordered that all antidepressants carry "black box" warnings of an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children. Prozac is the only antidepressant found to be safe and effective for children.

In a number of online postings attributed to Weise, he wrote of depression and feelings of worthlessness. In a Jan. 4 blog posting, he wrote: "I should've taken the razor blade express last time around. ... Well, whatever, man. Maybe they've got another shuttle comin' around soon?"


Teen May Face Charges in Minn. Slayings

16-Year-Old Arrested in Minnesota School Shootings That Killed 10 May Face Charges, Source Says

ABC News

March 29, 2005

Federal authorities refused to say what role Louis Jourdain may have played in the attack, but a government official who was briefed on the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity said prosecutors were contemplating charging the 16-year-old with conspiracy to commit murder. The official said authorities began investigating Jourdain after determining that he and the gunman, who were schoolmates, had exchanged e-mails.

The New York Times reported late Tuesday that the e-mails suggested Weise and Louis Jourdain planned an attack on the school, even walking through the building to discuss details of the assault.

An official who spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity said it was not clear why Jourdain did not participate. Jourdain told investigators he never intended to go through with the plan and that he did not believe Weise would either, the Times reported.

Two ninth-graders told the Star Tribune that when the shooting started, Louis Jourdain yelled that the shooter was Weise before anyone in the library saw the gunman.


School gunman was shot twice

USA Today

March 29, 2005

WASHINGTON ? The 16-year-old gunman in the Red Lake High School killing rampage was shot twice by police moments before the teenager killed himself, according to a sheriff's deputy who saw the bloody crime scene.

"As he rounded a corner, he was met with gunfire from a tribal officer," according to a written account by the deputy, James Goss of the Polk County sheriff's department in Minnesota. "They exchanged gunfire until the shooter was hit in the hip and leg by the officer."

A government official who has knowledge of the investigation confirmed that the gunman, Jeff Weise, had at least two apparent gunshot wounds that did not appear to be self-inflicted.

Weise at one point "started shooting through doors of ... rooms. He shot out the glass of one room, then placed arm through the glass and shot blindly into the room," Goss wrote.

"The entire school was covered with blood," Goss wrote. "There were bullet holes everywhere."

Weise went to the school in the tribal police patrol vehicle belonging to his grandfather, who was killed in the rampage. When he arrived at the school, Weise jumped out of the moving vehicle, causing it to ram into the double doors outside the entrance, the e-mail said.


School Shooter Called Self Angel of Death

Minn. School Shooter Liked to Create Macabre Drawings and Stories; Father Committed Suicide

He created comic books with ghastly drawings of people shooting each other and wrote stories about zombies. He dressed in black, wore eyeliner and apparently admired Hitler and called himself the "Angel of Death" in German. His father committed suicide about four years ago, and his mother is in a nursing home after an auto accident, according to news reports.

On Monday, 17-year-old Jeff Weise went on a rampage, shooting to death his grandfather and the grandfather's companion, then invading his school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. Armed with two pistols and a shotgun, he killed nine people and wounded seven before shooting himself to death in the nation's bloodiest school shooting since Columbine High in Colorado six years ago.

Investigators are not sure exactly what set Weise off, but fellow students at Red Lake High said they saw what looked, in retrospect, like warning signs.

About a month ago, his sketch of a guitar-strumming skeleton accompanied by a caption that read "March to the death song 'til your boots fill with blood" was displayed in his English class, said classmate Parston Graves Jr.

Graves, 16, said he was thinking about that picture Tuesday. "I thought that was him letting everyone know" that he was going to do something, Graves said.

Graves said Weise had also shown him comic books he had drawn, filled with well-crafted images of people shooting each other. "It was mental stuff," he said. "It was sick."

Weise, who routinely wore a long black trench coat, eyeliner and combat boots, has been described by several classmates as a quiet teenager. Some of them knew about his troubled childhood relatives told the St. Paul Pioneer Press his father had committed suicide and his mother suffered head injuries in an auto accident.

Thayer said Weise had been living with his 58-year-old grandfather, Daryl Lussier, and Lussier's 32-year-old companion, Michelle Sigana. Thayer said Weise had been teased at school, but she didn't think that set him off. "In high school, you always have jabs at each other," she said.

Authorities said that during the rampage inside the school, Weise appeared to choose his victims at random. Some witnesses said he smiled and waved as he fired.

Michael Tabman, the FBI's agent in charge of the Minneapolis office, said Tuesday authorities had not established a motive for the shootings. Investigators said they did not know if there had been some kind of confrontation between Weise and his grandfather.

If Weise was quiet in school, he became an extrovert in cyberspace. It appeared he may have posted messages on a neo-Nazi Web site expressing admiration for Hitler and calling himself "Todesengel," German for the "Angel of Death."

Several notes signed by a Jeff Weise, who identified himself as "a Native American from the Red Lake `Indian' Reservation," were posted beginning last year on a Web site operated by the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party.

In one posting, he criticized interracial mixing on the reservation and slammed fellow Indian teens for listening to rap music. "We have kids my age killing each other over things as simple as a fight, and it's because of the rap influence," he wrote.

While the writing of his postings on the neo-Nazi Web site may have been sloppy and full of typos, Weise was also able to write more polished prose for stories published on the Internet about zombies.

Weise's Hotmail address links him to frequent postings on one Internet forum called "Rise of the Dead," a site where contributors collaborate on stories about "average people attempting to survive in a zombie-infested world," according to the site.

Weise, posting under the handle "Blades11," appeared to be a regular contributor to numerous fan fiction sites related to zombies. On one, Weise identifies himself as being from Red Lake and lists himself as an amateur writer.

He goes on to write, "I'm a fan of zombie films, have been for years, as well as fan of horror movies in general. I like to write horror stories, read about Nazi Germany and history, and someday plan on moving out of the US."

In a posting from Feb. 6, he agreed to continue contributing to a story line but added that things are "kind of rocky right now so I might disappear unexpectedly."

Fellow student Ashley Morrison, 17, said Weise liked heavy metal music and dressed like a "goth," with black clothes, chains on his pants and black spiky hair.

"He looks like one of those guys at the Littleton school," Morrison said, referring to the two teen gunman, members of the so-called Trench Coat Mafia, who killed 12 students, a teacher and themselves at Columbine in Littleton, Colo., in 1999.


Who was Jeff Weise?

People on the Red Lake Indian reservation are trying to understand what made 16-year-old Jeff Weise go on a bloody shooting rampage. That question may never be answered, but a picture of a troubled young man is emerging.

Red Lake, Minn. — It seems many people knew Jeff Weise, but few knew him well. He's been described as a loner. Students say he was sometimes teased, but rarely responded to the taunts.

Classmates describe him wearing black clothing and drawing pictures of skulls and swastikas on his notebooks. He contributed to racist Web sites.

Weise had not been in school for several months. He was expelled for violating school rules, and was in a program that provided in-home tutoring.

Some classmates remembered him as quiet, friendly and non-threatening. Others say they were afraid of him. Ashley Morrison says she and her friends thought Weise was weird.

"Every time I saw him he wore a big trenchcoat. He was scary. He was a big guy," says Morrison. "Kids picked on him but he didn't say much. We always suspected him of doing something, but nothing like this."

It seems everyone remembers Jeff Weise as an introvert. Wanda Baxter had him as a student in her traditional culture class at Red Lake two years ago. She says he was quiet, never a troublemaker.

"He was a good listener, just like any ordinary student," Baxter says.

Baxter says she's struggling to understand what happened to make the young man she knew shoot and kill nine people. She saw no clues about what sent Jeff Weise on a shooting rampage.

"When you have students, it's like looking at your own grandchildren. We have to be together, share our pain together. It's not easy," says Baxter.

If Weise was quiet in school, he became an extrovert in cyberspace. It appeared he may have posted messages on a neo-Nazi Web site expressing admiration for Hitler and calling himself "Todesengel," German for the "Angel of Death."

Several notes signed by a Jeff Weise, who identified himself as "a Native American from the Red Lake `Indian' Reservation," were posted beginning last year on a Web site operated by the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party.

In one posting, he criticized interracial mixing on the reservation and slammed fellow Indian teens for listening to rap music. "We have kids my age killing each other over things as simple as a fight, and it's because of the rap influence," he wrote.

While the writing of his postings on the neo-Nazi Web site may have been sloppy and full of typos, Weise was also able to write more polished prose for stories published on the Internet about zombies.

Weise's Hotmail address links him to frequent postings on one Internet forum called "Rise of the Dead," a site where contributors collaborate on stories about "average people attempting to survive in a zombie-infested world," according to the site.

Weise, posting under the handle "Blades11," appeared to be a regular contributor to numerous fan fiction sites related to zombies. On one, Weise identifies himself as being from Red Lake and lists himself as an amateur writer.

He goes on to write, "I'm a fan of zombie films, have been for years, as well as fan of horror movies in general. I like to write horror stories, read about Nazi Germany and history, and someday plan on moving out of the US."

In a posting from Feb. 6, he agreed to continue contributing to a story line but added that things are "kind of rocky right now so I might disappear unexpectedly."

It seems Jeff Weise was often alone. His father committed suicide in 1997. His mother has been in a nursing home since 1999, after suffering a head injury in a car accident.

Police say it's unclear where Weise was living. A member of his extended family says it seemed like the teenager was floating -- on his own, with no adults watching out for him.

Community activist Audrey Thayer runs the ACLU offices in Bemidji. Thayer says somewhere along the line, Jeff Weise was lost.

"When a youth acts out in an inappropriate manner such as happened in Red Lake, my heart goes out to what happened to him," says Thayer. "Where was the disconnect for Jeff? And that's not placing blame on anyone. There was a disconnect. Something happened. What could we have done differently? I keep thinking about his losses. Was he left out there? Sure was. Was it anyone's fault? No. It's just reality."

Thayer says now is not the time to place blame, but to find ways to reach out to kids like Jeff Weise and make them feel valued and appreciated.

Tony Treuer says there are a lot of American Indian kids who feel disconnected.

Treuer teaches in the American Indian studies program at Bemidji State University. He says it's clear Jeff Weise was deeply troubled, but Treuer says many Indian kids are lost and searching.

"Kids looking for something. They don't even know what it is themselves, and couldn't put a label on it," says Treuer.

Treuer says he hopes the Red Lake shooting won't simply be a tragic memory, but an opportunity to reach out to a generation searching for a place to belong.


Medication

BEMIDJI, MINN. -- Jeff Weise had "a good relationship" with the grandfather he shot and killed on Monday as prelude to his deadly assault on students and others at Red Lake High School, according to relatives who are struggling to understand what might have pushed the teenager from sometimes bizarre behavior to mass murder and suicide.

They have sifted through the traumas of his childhood: his father's suicide, the car accident that left his mother with reduced mental capacity, the shuttling between the Red Lake Reservation and the Twin Cities, and the taunts of peers over his appearance, size and outsider behavior.

They wondered, too, about medication he was supposedly taking for depression, and a recent increase in his prescribed dosage.

Lee Cook, director of the American Indian Cultural Center at Bemidji State University and a first cousin to Sgt. Daryl (Dash) Lussier, the grandfather, talked about the tragedy Thursday after meeting on the reservation with Lussier's brother, three daughters and other family members.

"The daughters said Jeff loved his grandfather, and his grandfather loved him," Cook said. "There had never been any serious differences or harsh words between them.

"They were surprised by all of this, but they were stunned he would shoot his grandfather."

The .22-caliber rifle that Weise apparently used to kill Lussier and his companion, Michele Sigana, "might have been Dash's rifle, one he kept around for the kids for hunting," Cook said.

Dosage increased

Weise's relatives "knew he had a problem with depression, and they took him to treatment," Cook said. "He was getting counseling." His medication dosage had been increased a week earlier, Cook added.

His grandmother, Shelda Lussier, 54, said he saw a mental health professional at Red Lake Hospital on Feb. 21, the same day his prescription was refilled for 60 milligrams a day of Prozac, which he had been taking since last summer, the Washington Post reported.

Studies have linked Prozac and similar antidepressants to a greater risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in kids. In October, the Food and Drug Administration revised the drugs' packaging to warn health professionals that they should closely monitor young patients when an antidepressant is prescribed or the dose is changed.

Prozac's manufacturer said monitoring patients being treated for depression is critical, especially if they are children.

Weise, in hundreds of postings attributed to him on the Internet over the past year or so, noted that he was on antidepressants, was going through therapy in Thief River Falls and had attempted suicide at least once by cutting his wrists.

In a posting in January, Weise also wrote of his regret over not having ended his life and hinted that another attempt could be on the way. Friends of Weise said this week that he had tried to kill himself earlier this year.

School officials and others have refused to discuss his medical situation except to confirm that he was placed on "homebound status" this year for an unspecified medical problem.

Relatives also "knew he spent time on the Internet, but they didn't really know what he was into there," Cook said, and reports detailing Weise's postings on a Nazi website have them shaking their heads.

Weise, under a variety of user names, also visited other sites dealing with everything from government conspiracies to surviving school shootings. Last fall he posted a bloody animated video on the Internet in which four people are shot to death before the gunman shoots himself. "He was brighter than usual and had a vocabulary more like a college student than a 16-year-old," Cook said.

School to school

Weise also had a traumatic early childhood, moving from school to school and experiencing the loss of both parents before he was 10 years old. His father, Daryl Lussier Jr., committed suicide in July 1997 during a police stand-off on the reservation. Weise's mother, Joanne, suffered brain damage in 1999 when she and a friend crashed their car after drinking.

Shortly after his father's suicide, Weise was enrolled in the fourth grade at B.F. Pearson Elementary School in Shakopee in September 1997. He stayed until the first week of his fifth-grade year, at which point he was withdrawn and enrolled at Bluff Creek Elementary School in Chaska.

Bluff Creek Principal Cath Gallagher said Weise left school in April 1998, about a month after his mother's traffic accident.

In his Internet postings, Weise said that before her accident his mother would hit him often, yell at him and tell him that his birth had been a mistake.

According to his Internet writings, Weise dressed in a Goth style with a long black coat, black boots and at times red hair spiked into devil's horns.

"I just don't know if anybody gave a lot of credence to the turmoil this guy lived with," Cook said. People said he was "just going through a phase" with his unusual appearance and outsider attitudes, "and that probably was devastating to him."

"I think you can get to the point where you feel you have no relief. Maybe he thought his grandpa should have been more cognizant of that."


A tale of two boys

Jeff Weise is responsible for the worst school shooting since Columbine. On Monday, he went on a shooting rampage on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. He killed nine people, severly injured five others and then killed himself.

People who knew him as a child tell the story of a much different Jeff Weise. He spent the first ten or eleven years of his 16-year-long life in the Twin Cities.

Weise?s aunt, Kim Desjarlait, still lives in the metro area. She fondly remembers a younger Jeff, a more innocent, happy Jeff, ?Jeff, when he lived here in Minneapolis, was never in trouble. He was a good kid. The Jeff I know was into drawing, into video games, into watching movies. You know, he played a lot with his sister and his nephew. He just was not a bad kid.?

But around the time Weise was nine or ten, his life began falling apart. His father, 31-year-old Daryl Lussier, committed suicide in 1997 in Red Lake.

Two years later his mother was disabled after a car accident in Shakopee. Because she could no longer care for her son, Jeff Weise was sent to live with his grandfather on the Red Lake Reservation, more than 200 miles north of the Twin Cities.

His aunt says that move was really hard on the boy, ?I think probably what transpired is Jeff had no say in the very end where he was going to live. You know, your dad's gone, your mom's been in a car accident and everything you know that is normal has been wiped out and now you have to go live with people that you know and love, but it's not your daily routine.?

It seems that it was about this time that the shy, quiet boy, who liked to draw, turned to the internet for friends or understanding. Whatever reason, Weise began frequenting neo-nazi internet chat rooms. Last year, he claimed to be studying the Third Reich, expressed admiration for Hitler and claimed to be a "national socialist".

Eerily, he wrote "once I commit myself to something, I stay until the end."

Classmates in Red Lake, say Weise' was a loner, wearing black eyeliner and dressing in a black trench coat. They point to a high school class picture where he had twisted his hair into devil-like spikes.

About a month ago, his sketch of a guitar-strumming skeleton accompanied by a caption that read "March to the death song 'til your boots fill with blood" was displayed in his English class, said classmate Parston Graves Jr.

Graves, 16, said he was thinking about that picture Tuesday. "I thought that was him letting everyone know" that he was going to do something, Graves said.

Graves said Weise had also shown him comic books he had drawn, filled with well-crafted images of people shooting each other. "It was mental stuff," he said. "It was sick."

Michael Tabman, the FBI's agent in charge of the investigation, said Tuesday authorities had not established a motive for the shootings. Investigators said they did not know if there had been some kind of confrontation between Weise and his grandfather.

If Weise was quiet in school, he became an extrovert in cyberspace. It appeared he may have posted messages on a neo-Nazi Web site expressing admiration for Hitler and calling himself "Todesengel," German for the "Angel of Death."

Several notes signed by a Jeff Weise, who identified himself as "a Native American from the Red Lake `Indian' Reservation," were posted beginning last year on a Web site operated by the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party.

In one posting, he criticized interracial mixing on the reservation and slammed fellow Indian teens for listening to rap music. "We have kids my age killing each other over things as simple as a fight, and it's because of the rap influence," he wrote.

To Weise's aunt Kim Desjarlait, that doesn't sound like the boy she watched grow up in Minneapolis. She said she?ll always remember the boy with the shy smile, not the angry teen who killed nine people and critically injured five others before killing himself.


Elephant

BEMIDJI, Minn. - Just weeks before he killed fellow students at his own high school, Jeff Weise watched a movie about a Columbine-style school massacre with his friends, one of those boys said on Friday.

Weise skipped ahead to the part where two teens plan and carry out a school shooting in the movie "Elephant," said Weise's friend Sky Grant, 16, who has known Weise since sixth grade.

Weise was also taking the antidepressant Prozac following a suicide scare last summer, Grant said.

Grant said Weise brought the movie to Grant's house on March 4, on a night when several of Grant's friends came over to play video games. The teens who watched that night talked about the movie, but Weise didn't say anything that made them think he planned to do something like that, Grant said.

Authorities have said they don't know why Weise, 16, killed nine people before apparently shooting himself on Monday at Red Lake High School, though they're looking into Internet postings that suggest a severely troubled teen. The dead included a teacher and a security guard at the school; Weise's grandfather and his companion were killed earlier at the grandfather's house.

Sky Grant said he and Weise and other friends often watched movies with dark themes, and "Elephant" was in that vein.

"Most of us are all basically horror movie fans," Grant said. As they watched "Elephant," they talked about the characters, or how people got shot _ the same as usual, he said.

"It all seemed normal," Grant said of that night watching the movie.

Grant and his mother, Gayle Downwind, said Weise was taken to a psychiatric ward in Thief River Falls last summer after a suicide scare. Grant said Weise was "talking suicidal" in computer messages with a friend, prompting that friend to call police. Grant said he didn't know how long Weise stayed at the hospital.

Grant said he himself used to take 20 milligrams a day of Zoloft, another antidepressant, and the boys talked in detail about their medication. He said Weise told him he was taking 40 milligrams a day of Prozac: 20 in the morning, 20 at night.

"He was a lot more quiet," Grant said. "I wouldn't say any better."

In October, the Food and Drug Administration ordered that all antidepressants carry warnings of an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children. Prozac is the only antidepressant found to be safe and effective for children.

In a number of online postings attributed to Weise, he wrote of depression and feelings of worthlessness. For example, in a Jan. 4 blog posting, he wrote:

" ... I don't know, but what I do know is I'm a retarded (expletive) for ever believing things would change for me. I'm starting to regret sticking around, I should've taken the razor blade express last time around. ... Well, whatever, man. Maybe they've got another shuttle comin' around soon?"

Weise had been depressed since at least eighth grade, said Sky Grant's mother, Gayle Downwind, who taught Weise that year. She remembers him as a smart boy who would rather sketch in his notebooks than work on schoolwork.

On the reservation, many of the boys are into sports, especially the Warriors basketball team. Boys who aren't often get picked on, and Sky and Jeff had that in common, Downwind said.

"We could tell Jeff was depressed. He was alone. He sat in a corner of the classroom all the time," she said.

Downwind said she found out that her son and Weise had watched "Elephant" when the FBI came to their house on Monday night.

"I didn't know what it was about," she said. "And he said, 'It's about a school massacre.' I went numb."

Dr. David Fassler, an American Psychiatric Association trustee and child and adolescent psychiatrist in Burlington, Vt., said Prozac and other antidepressants can be effective along with other treatment, such as therapy. He said daily dosage ranges from 10 to 60 milligrams, based on body size and other factors. The severity of a child's depression is not a factor in determining dosage, he said.

Meanwhile, doctors said Friday that there were "many critical days ahead" for a 15-year-old boy who was one of seven students wounded by Weise.

Steven Cobenais suffered severe brain damage from a gunshot to the left side of his forehead and lost his left eye. He remained in critical condition at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, N.D.

"He's more of a man than anyone in this room, anyone in this world," his father, Llewellyn Thunder, said. "I've yet to see a man who can take a .40 caliber between the eyes and still survive like he did."

Also Friday, a pair of crosses that had been erected to honor the shooting victims were taken down by the mother of one of those killed. A day earlier, an Illinois carpenter who had also erected crosses at Columbine put up nine wooden crosses outside the Red Lake High School. Each was marked with the name of a victim.

News photographers said Carol Spears, the mother of slain student Thurlene Stillday, drove away with her daughter's cross and one other. The mother said earlier she had arranged a traditional Ojibwe burial for her daughter; she didn't return a call Friday.

President Bush called Floyd Jourdain Jr., chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, for five minutes on Friday to offer his sympathy for the victims and pledge to provide federal assistance, a White House spokeswoman said.

Wakes have begun for some of the Red Lake victims, with the first funerals scheduled for Saturday for Daryl "Dash" Lussier and his companion, Michelle Sigana. Gov. Tim Pawlenty was scheduled to attend.


VICTIMS

Derrick Brun, 28

Brun worked as a security guard at Red Lake High School, and is remembered as a gentle spirit. "He was just an all-around good guy," said his cousin Nancy Richards, adding that he was the type of person who would open his door to anyone who needed a place to stay. According to Richards, Brun was a divorced father of Courtney, a little girl who died when she was 4 years old. Brun had been a police officer and was taking classes to be an emergency medical technician. “That's the only comfort the family has -- is that he's with Courtney now," Richards said.

Dewayne Lewis, 15

According to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Dewayne Lewis was a passionate basketball player who played point guard on his ninth-grade school team. "He was just an outgoing kid. He would talk to anyone. He had a bunch of friends up here," Francine Kingbird, a cousin of Dewayne’s mother, told the Star Tribune.

Chase Lussier, 15

According to friends, Chase was helping care for a son who had been born just months before the shooting. He tried to balance that responsibility with playing basketball, doing his homework and spending time with his friends. "He was a typical teenager," said Sondra Hegstrom, a junior who had known Chase since they went to the Roman Catholic mission school in Red Lake when they were youngsters. "He loved his baby," she said.

Daryl Lussier, 58

Lussier, Jeff Weise’s grandfather, was a lifelong tribal police officer known around the reservation by his nickname Dash.

Lussier had four adult children and two younger than 10. Ed Naranjo, a retired Bureau of Indian Affairs officer who worked with Lussier, described him as a man who helped maintain order during periods of turmoil and unrest on the reservation.

"He was that kind of individual who could calm a very hot situation," Naranjo said. "He just projected that feeling."

Neva Rogers, 62

Neva Rogers, an English teacher at Red Lake High School, was the adviser to the yearbook and student newspaper staffs. Rogers, who had left the community for several years, returned six years ago. "She just made a point when students had personal difficulties to be someone that they could talk to," said her daughter, Cindy Anderson. "And they did."

Chanelle Rosebear, 15

According to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Chanelle Rosebear was a ninth grader and the third of seven children. Her father, Kevin Martin, said Chanelle was a strong basketball player who planned to hone her skills at a basketball camp this summer. "She was my beautiful girl," her mother, Sandra Rosebear, told the Star Tribune. "She was always happy."

Michelle Sigana, 32

Sigana worked as a cashier at Seven Clans Casino in Thief River Falls. She was killed when she was with Daryl Lussier, her boyfriend and the father of her pre-teen son, Devon. "They just gave him (Devon) whatever he wanted," said Mark Sigana, Michelle’s cousin. "For both of them, their priority was making sure he had everything, which he did." Sigana last saw his cousin a week ago. "There was never a dull moment with her," he said. "She was just the happiest person anyone can be around."

Alicia White, 14

Alicia White was the oldest of six children who lived with her ill grandmother. According to friends, Alicia kept a cheery demeanor and played basketball for the freshman team. "She was nice," said Morrison, a junior. "She was so sweet. I rode the bus with her and I kept asking, `Why did he shoot her?"' Pastor Tom Pollock of Redby Community Church said she helped her grandmother raise her younger siblings. "She's really played the role of mother," Pollock said.

Thurlene Stillday, 15

According to friends, Thurlene came from a big family -- friends say she was one of four girls and a boy -- and looked forward to doing good things in high school and beyond. "She always had something to talk about. You know, `They did this over the weekend or they did that,"' said Sondra Hegstrom, who was two grades ahead of Thurlene, a freshman. "She had a lot of friends and was happy all the time."


 


Jeffrey James Weise (August 8, 1988 – March 21, 2005) was a high school student of Red Lake, Minnesota responsible for the shooting deaths of his grandfather and his grandfather's wife and the Red Lake High School massacre, a school shooting in which he killed seven people and injured more than a dozen others before committing suicide.

He left many postings across the World Wide Web on websites such as nazi.org, offering an unusual level of public insight into his thoughts and the hardships in his life that led to his depression and fascination with dark imagery in the months and years prior to the shootings.

Background

Weise was a Ojibwa (Chippewa) Native American who lived on the Red Lake reservation in north-central Minnesota with his 58-year old grandfather, Red Lake Police Department officer Daryl "Dash" Lussier. Sr. Weise's father, Daryl "Baby Dash" Lussier, Jr., had committed suicide in July 1997 after a day-long police standoff. The senior Lussier had attempted to intervene in that event, but was unable to bring the standoff to a peaceful end.

Joanne Weise, Jeff's mother, alleged to be a heavy drinker, suffered brain damage in a 1999 alcohol-related car accident. As a result, she was forced to live in a nursing home in Minneapolis as of 2005. Jeff had been living in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with his mother and two aunts, but was forced to move back to the reservation after the accident happened.

Weise expressed frustration with being forced back to the Red Lake region and was considered an outsider by many there. Troublesome behaviour eventually led the school to put him in a home schooling program in 2004. He was apparently taking medication for depression and was seeing a therapist. He also apparently inflicted injuries upon himself and, according to a schoolmate, attempted suicide in early 2005.

March 21, 2005

On March 21, 2005 Weise killed a total of ten people. First he killed his grandfather and grandfather's wife, 32-year old Michelle Sigana, who was his grandfather's police force partner. Later he shot and killed seven people at Red Lake High School, including a teacher and a security guard.

As many as 15 others were wounded in the school shooting. After briefly exchanging fire with police officers following the murders, Weise committed suicide. Two handguns and a shotgun and body armor that belonged to his grandfather were recovered at the scene and believed to have been used in the shootings.

The incident apparently began at home in the afternoon when Weise allegedly killed his grandfather and Sigana. Weise then drove a patrol vehicle (a truck or SUV believed to be his grandfather's) to the high school, propelling it into the building at around 3:00 p.m. CST. Wearing a reservation-police-issued bulletproof vest, likely taken from the stolen reservation police patrol vehicle, he shot the third victim (the security guard) immediately upon arriving at the school.

When the police first arrived, Weise briefly opened fire on them before proceeding into the building. Once in there, he was said to be "waving and smiling" as he shot students at random. An attempt to break into an English classroom was thwarted by a quick-thinking teacher who had taken the precaution to lock the door. This execution of one of the safety procedures established by the school (most likely as a result of the Columbine massacre of 1999) saved many lives.

After finally being cornered in a classroom, it was claimed that Weise exchanged fire with and injured several police officers, but it was stated by the police department that no officers received any gunshot wounds. Weise then put the shotgun under his chin, and discharged a single round which instantly killed him.

Weise and the Internet

Weise allegedly had a history of trouble at the school, including fist-fights. Although no clear motive has been attributed to Weise's actions yet, he was described as a loner, who was bullied – possibly due to his appearance. He was known to wear a dark trench coat to school all year round; he was also known to have a notebook into which he drew what has been described as "evil and dark... stuff.". Weise also had a fascination with the swastika, a symbol both Native Americans and Nazis have used.

Weise posted frequently on Internet boards dealing with the subject of zombies, under the pseudonym "Blades11". In a short story he publishedin late 2003/early 2004, titled "Surviving the Dead", he includes a detailed description of a school massacre from a victim's perspective, combining it with the subject of zombies. The story is bloody and crude in content and spelling, but the language style is articulate beyond his age at the time. (Note: Grover's Mill, the town in Weise's story, was the town in a series of movies called Critters about small furry monsters that devoured humans.)

Another website he frequented was The Official Mars Website, the online headquarters for the San Francisco, Bay Area Horrorcore rapper Mars, where the users are encouraged to post about music, murder, and suicide on its forums. Weise was described by friends and family as an obsessed fan of Horrorcore music, and Mars, whose upcoming international release is entitled "Some Girls Deserve To Die".

Weise also created violent Flash animations and posted them on the Internet (including Newgrounds) using the alias "Regret". One animation entitled Target Practice depicts an individual who shoots three people with an assault rifle, blows up a police car with a grenade, then shoots a Ku Klux Klan member. It ends when the character uses a handgun to shoot himself in the head. The animation is accompanied by the sounds of gunfire.

It is also noteworthy that an early reviewer of the animation on Newgrounds remarked that Weise "needed help badly". To which Weise replied that there was a difference between fantasy and reality, and that the cartoon meant nothing. Weise's Newgrounds profile also noted that one of his favorite movies was "Elephant", a film based on the events of the Columbine High School Massacre.

Weise is also believed to have posted messages on the Neo-Nazi Internet forum of the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party under the aliases NativeNazi and Todesengel (German for "angel of death"). The posts revealed an admiration for the ideas of Adolf Hitler, and interests in persuading other Native Americans as to the merits of those ideas. On one occasion, he fought with a pupil whom he referred to as a "Communist". He also alleged that the school was warned that someone was going to "shoot up" the school on April 20, the birthday of Adolf Hitler and the anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, and that the school authorities "pinned" the threat on him.

In one post, dated July 13, 2004, he claimed:

As a result of cultural dominance and interracial mixing there is [sic] barely any full blooded Natives left. Where I live less than 1% of all the people on the Reservation can speak their own language, and among the youth wanting to be black has run rampant...Under a National Socialist government, things for us would improve vastly… and that is why I am pro-Nazi.

Another post read: "I try not to be aggressive in most situations, I'll use force if I have to, but I'm not about to go out and pick a fight. I'm mostly defensive, I'll defend myself if someone tries something but other than that I'm a peaceful person." The posts were dated 10 months prior to the shooting, and as such it is not yet known if they are entirely relevant in understanding Weise's state of mind.

A LiveJournal account apparently created by Weise contained just three entries from December 2004 through January 2005. He chose three icons for the account: one of the band Nirvana prominently featuring Kurt Cobain, one with the logo for the band Rammstein, and another of himself. The weblog was customized to be rendered in black and white, and Weise expressed dark feelings in his few writings including a desire for change and salvation. He described himself on his user info page as "nothin' but your average Native American stoner" and mentioned that he used marijuana.

Aftermath

March 25, 2005: Armed security guards and metal detectors were stationed at all entrances of the school. The Red Lake Tribe was outraged that President Bush had failed to send timely condolences; the tribe did not receive official condolences until three days after the massacre.

March 29, 2005: Sixteen-year-old Louis Jourdain, son of Floyd "Buck" Jourdain Jr., was accused of assisting in the planning of the shooting, and was subsequently arrested on the suspicion of conspiracy to murder. At least a dozen other students were believed to have heard of the attack prior to its occurrence. The school itself was temporarily shut down and computers therein were seized. During this time, a makeshift memorial was set up in front of the school, made up of flowers, dolls, cards and candles.

April 9, 2005: Red Lake High School was searched after police received information that guns still remained in the school, ostensibly placed there by Jeff Weise.

 

 

 
 
 
 
contact