EMIDJI, Minn. (Reuters) - A 16-year-old boy who killed nine people and then himself on a Minnesota Indian reservation was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he chased a teacher and fellow students into a classroom and gunned them down, the FBI said on Tuesday.As much as I dislike quoting Yahoo, Reuters or AOL, this is confirmed by at all three sources:
The boy accused of killing nine people in a shooting spree first shot his grandfather and his companion, then donned the man's police-issue gunbelt and bulletproof vest before heading to the high school, where he shot students and teachers at random, authorities said Tuesday.
AOL has used the above cherubic photo to headline its news item, and Yahoo has specifically captioned it as "Jeff Weise" although neither AOL nor Yahoo has stated that it is a recent photo.
FBI agent Michael Tabman gave the first official account of the worst school killing in the United States since the Columbine massacre in 1999 in which two teenagers killed 13 people.
Tabman told reporters that Weise started by shooting dead his grandfather Daryl Lussier, 58, a sergeant in the local police, and Lussier's companion Michelle Sigana, 32.
The teenager took his grandfather's police bulletproof vest, gun belt and police car, "and drove to the school, driving up right to the door," Tabman said. He was armed with the handgun, another .40 calibre handgun and a shotgun.
There he was confronted by two unarmed security guards. Weise shot dead one of them, Derrick Brun, while another fled inside.
Inside the school Weise fired at a teacher, Neva Winnecoup-Rogers, 62, and a group of students in the corridor and followed them.
"He pursued them into a classroom. It is there he opened fire, killing a number of students and the teacher. Shortly after that, Mr. Weise continued to roam through the school, firing randomly," Tabman said.
One of the dead students was 14 and four were aged 15. At least three were girls.
Weise fired into the door of other classrooms where teachers and students barred the doors to stop him getting in.
A student, Sondra Hegstrom, heard shooting from an adjoining classroom, she told the local newspaper, The Pioneer.
"You could hear a girl saying, 'No, Jeff. Quit! Quit! Leave me alone. Why are you doing this?' Boom, boom, boom, and then no more screaming," she said.
"I looked him in the eye and ran in a room, and that's when I hid," she said. "I called 911 from a cell phone and they said, 'Just sit there and wait until the cops come.'"
The Pioneer quoted another student as saying the killer pointed his gun at a boy, changed his mind, smiled, waved and shot somebody else.
The police and fire departments received several emergency calls from students and teachers trapped in classrooms.
Four police arrived, Tabman said, and one opened fire at the gunman who shot back.
Weise then withdrew to the classroom where he had killed the teacher and students and took his own life, the FBI agent said.
This young maniac ("Mr. Weise"!) presented his armed self to two (unarmed) security officers and a number of teachers, and nobody was able to defend either themself or the students whose safety was entrusted to their care.
This resulted in " ... the worst school killing in the United States since the Columbine massacre ..."
Columbine was six years ago, and what have we learned from it?
Our country is still determined to forbid armed teachers and security officers ... or anybody else .. access to school property.
Even though we KNOW that students can be bullied to the point of desperation, we are still unwilling to take common-sense measures to defend the general body of students, and faculty and staff, from deadlyl assault.
This, after September 11, which taught us terrorists need not be home-grown to be deadly.
This, after the Russian school shootings which taught us that police are powerless once terrorists have established themselves in a school in a hostage situation.
This, after Columbine, which taught us that if non-mainstream students are ignored, if their derision by their fellow students is ignored, their anger and adolescent angst may cause them to lash out in the most extreme manner,
Instead of addressing the root-cause of these attacks, instead of being on the lookout for these 'children left behind', our leaders have decided to resolve the situations by limiting the ability of responsible people to defend themselves and their charges.
It's a sad day when teachers in our schools are unable to defend their students. The consequences are, now, predictable.
We wonder who is responsible for this kind atrocity. The Brady People say it's our national leaders, because the Federal Government is unwilling to apply extreme measures of Gun Control. They have said that the only American Citizens who should possess firearms are the military and the police.
But this boy killed the police, and stole the firearms from the 'governmental agency' which even the Brady People say should possess them.
When we are all unarmed except for the military and the police, and criminals resort to taking firearms from the military or the police, what does that make of the rest of us?
Lambs ... to the slaughter.
I don't want to be slaughtered. And I don't want my children to be slaughtered. It seems that my choices are to be either an armed criminal, or an unarmed victim.
I'm not happy with my choices.
What do you think I should do about it?
I work on a college campus, and I am required to NOT carry firearms even though I have a CCH (Carry Concealed Handgun) permit. If I do carry a handgun, I can be prosecuted and I can lose my job ... even though the laws in this grey-area are vague.
I sure hope someone else in my work area has more courage of his convictions than do I, because I'm too concerned about keeping my job, and maintaining my non-incarcerated status (I won't say "Liberty" or "Freedom") to carry a handgun on school property. For my survival, I rely on the good will of any random person who may or may not choose to walk onto the school grounds and start killing people.
This is probably ... nay, apparently ... not a good bet. And I'm not proud of myself for caring more about preserving my job than for preserving the lives of the people around me.
Personally, I think that the best solution to securing the safety and well-being of people is if everyone who was able to be 'vetted' as a responsible person (the mechanism has already been established, in the CCH licensing process) to openly carry. I believe this would not only send a message to potential attackers that they would not be able to carry out their warped plans to murder innocents, but also provide the means to stop the predations of those who are too sick, too angry, or otherwise too fanatic to be warned away from our children.