Date registered: Aug 2002
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Minnesota 15-year-old kills 9 others, himself
BY BILL GARDNER
Knight Ridder Newspapers
ST. PAUL, Minn. - (KRT) - A Red Lake High School student went on a shooting rampage Monday afternoon, killing his grandfather and a woman at their home and then strapping on his grandfather's police weapons and driving to the high school, where he shot as many as 21 people, killing seven, before turning the gun on himself.
Five of the high school's approximately 330 students, a security guard and a teacher were shot to death on the campus, located on the Red Lake Indian Reservation about 300 miles north of the Twin Cities. As many as 14 other students were wounded as the student fired shots inside the high school.
The student gunman was identified by other tribal members as Jeff Wiese, 15.
Relatives said Wiese was a towering loner who wore black all the time and was teased by other kids. Wiese's father committed suicide four years ago, relatives said, and his mother lives in a nursing home in Minneapolis after sustaining brain injuries in a car accident.
It was too early to speculate on a motive, said FBI spokesman Paul McCabe at a news conference Monday night in Minneapolis. McCabe said all eight people killed at the school were shot in a single classroom. The FBI is the lead investigative agency for crimes on an Indian reservation.
"It will probably take us throughout the night to really put the whole picture together," McCabe said.
The school was evacuated and remained in lockdown Monday night, McCabe said. Authorities believe the shooter acted alone, he said.
The shootings began in the early afternoon when Wiese killed his grandfather, Daryl "Dash" Lussier, 58, and a woman at their home in Red Lake and then took his grandfather's police weapons. Lussier was a longtime veteran of the Red Lake police force.
About 3 p.m. Wiese drove a pickup truck to the high school, rammed the truck into the school and shot a security guard to death, Wiese's relatives said. Then Wiese went on a shooting spree inside the school, killing a female teacher and five students.
The names of the other victims were withheld pending notification of relatives.
Some of the wounded were taken to North Country Regional Hospital in Bemidji and others to MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, N.D. MeritCare Hospital received its first Red Lake patient at 5:45 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m., spokeswoman Carrie Johnson said. She said she was still confirming whether the hospital would receive more shooting victims. No conditions reports were immediately available.
Approximately 5,100 people live on the reservation, which encompasses 825,000 acres of land in northern Minnesota.
Bob Thunder, a Metropolitan Transit police officer who grew up on the Red Lake Reservation, said Lussier "worked as an officer for more than 30 years, and he believed in what he was doing. I saw him at the recent (tribal chief) inauguration and asked him when he was going to retire. He told me, `soon.' "
It was the second major school shooting in Minnesota in less than two years. In September 2003, two students were shot and killed at Rocori High School in central Minnesota.
The shooting had immediate ramifications across the state, including at the Capitol. A hearing scheduled for today on a proposal to expand casino gambling in Minnesota was canceled. The Red Lake Band is one of three groups that are seeking to partner with the state on a Twin Cities area casino.
"If spending money you don't have is the height of stupidity, borrowing money to give it away is the height of insanity." -- anon