- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2005

RED LAKE, Minn. (AP) — The teen accused of killing nine persons in a shooting spree first shot his grandfather and his companion, then donned the man’s police-issue gun belt and bulletproof vest before heading to the high school, where he shot students and teachers at random, authorities said yesterday.

FBI agent Michael Tabman said Jeff Weise, 16, appeared to have acted alone in the Monday shootings, and the motive was not known. Five students were among the dead.

It was the worst U.S. school shooting since the rampage at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colo., in April 1999 that ended with the deaths of 12 students, a teacher and the two teen gunmen.

Mr. Tabman said he could not confirm whether Weise was the same person who had posted messages to a neo-Nazi site, including one in which the writer billed himself as the “Angel of Death.”

Aside from the teen’s grandfather, Daryl Lussier, and Mr. Lussier’s companion, Michelle Sigana, Weise’s targets appeared random, Mr. Tabman said. Mr. Lussier was a sergeant with the Red Lake police department.

Initial reports said as many as 15 persons were injured in the shooting, but authorities yesterday lowered the figure to seven. Five remained in the hospital, including two students with critical injuries from gunshot wounds to the head or face.

Reggie Graves, a student at Red Lake High School, said he was watching a movie about Shakespeare in class Monday when he heard the gunman blast his way past the metal detector at the school’s entrance, where an unarmed guard was killed.

Then, in a nearby classroom, he heard the gunman say something to a student named Ryan. “He asked Ryan if he believed in God,” Reggie said. “And then he shot him.” The boy survived.

Police said the gunman killed himself after exchanging fire with officers. Red Lake Fire Director Roman Stately said the gunman had two handguns and a shotgun.

Weise had been placed in the school’s Homebound program for some violation of policy, said school board member Kathryn Beaulieu. Students in that program stay at home and are tutored by a traveling teacher. Miss Beaulieu said she didn’t know what Weise’s violation was, and wouldn’t be allowed to reveal it if she did.

Several students said Weise held anti-social beliefs, and he might have posted messages on a neo-Nazi Web site expressing admiration for Adolf Hitler.

A writer who identified himself as Jeff Weise of the Red Lake Reservation posted the messages under the nickname “Todesengel” — German for “angel of death.”

Relatives told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Weise was a loner who usually wore black and was teased by others. Relatives told the newspaper his father committed suicide four years ago, and that his mother was living in a Minneapolis nursing home because she had suffered brain injuries in a car accident.

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