Youth who went on rampage in Minnesota may have admired Hitler, officials said.
RED LAKE, Minn. – Authorities were trying to determine yesterday what caused a teenager to gun down his grandfather, put on the man’s police-issue belt and bulletproof vest and drive his squad car to a high school where he began shooting his classmates at will.
Jeff Weise, who authorities said was 16 or 17, killed nine people and wounded seven Monday before trading gunfire with a police officer and apparently shooting himself. His motive still wasn’t clear, but the FBI said the shootings appeared to have been planned.
Authorities were investigating whether Weise, who dressed in black and wrote stories about zombies, may have posted messages on a neo-Nazi Web site expressing admiration for Adolf Hitler.
Using the handle Todesengel – German for “Angel of Death” – the writer identified himself as Jeff Weise of the Red Lake Reservation. In April 2004, he wrote of being accused of “a threat on the school I attend,” although messages said he was later cleared.
It was the nation’s worst school shooting since the Columbine massacre in April 1999 that ended with the deaths of 12 students, a teacher and the two teen gunmen.
The killings on this northern Minnesota Indian reservation began at the home of Weise’s grandfather, Daryl Lussier, 58, who was shot to death with a .22-caliber gun, said Michael Tabman, the FBI’s special agent in charge for Minneapolis. Also killed was Lussier’s companion, Michelle Sigana.
Lussier worked as a tribal police officer for decades. Weise drove the squad car to the school, where he gunned down security guard Derrick Brun at the door and spent about 10 minutes inside, targeting people at random.
Five students were shot to death and two 15-year-olds remained in critical condition at a Fargo, N.D., hospital with gunshot wounds to the face.