Teen Redlake School Mass
Murderer Was On PROZAC
'The clues were all there'
School shooter depicted as deeply disturbed, ignored teen.
By Ceci Connolly and Dana Hedgpeth
The Washington Post

REDLAKE, Minn. -- Two days after a shooting rampage on the Indian reservation here left 10 dead, friends, relatives and neighbors of Jeff Weise -- the 16-year- old assailant -- began to sketch a portrait of a deeply disturbed youth who had been treated for depression in a psychiatric ward, lost several close family members, sketched gruesome scenes of armed warriors and was removed from the school where he gunned down most of his victims Monday.
"The clues were all there," said Kim Desjarlait, Weise's step-aunt, who lives in Minneapolis. "Everything was laid out, right there, for the school or the authorities in Red Lake to see it coming. I don't want to blame Red Lake, but did they not put two and two together? This kid was crying out, and those guys chose to ignore it. They need to start focusing on their kids."
On the Red Lake Indian Reservation, officials held a private prayer service Wednesday night and met to discuss when students might be able to return to school. Superintendent Stuart Desjarlait said it may take months for the high school to reopen because of the extensive damage from Monday's rampage. Five students, a teacher and a guard were killed at the school. Seven students were wounded and two remained in critical condition Wednesday at a hospital in Fargo, N.D.
Federal authorities said they were conducting autopsies on Weise and his nine victims, but FBI spokesman Paul McCabe said he did not anticipate releasing any information in the near future. Tribal leaders were even less forthcoming, strictly limiting reporters' movements.
Tensions rose throughout Wednesday, with some residents whispering fears that if they spoke to outsiders they would suffer retribution. Residents of neighboring communities offered cautionary tales about violence on the reservation, and the Justice Department created a task force to deal with gangs when Red Lake suffered five homicides in seven months in 2002. Because Red Lake is a closed reservation, it operates as a sovereign nation, running its own police force and dictating who may set foot on the property.
Those willing to be interviewed described Weise as a young man who drifted among various homes on the reservation, listening to heavy metal music, proclaiming his affinity for Adolf Hitler and periodically showing up at the high school, even though Stuart Desjarlait said that six months ago he had ordered Weise to stay at home for tutoring.
He was taking the antidepressant Prozac and at least once was hospitalized for suicidal tendencies, said Gayle Downwind, a cultural coordinator at Red Lake Middle School, who taught Weise. It was not uncommon for Weise to spend at least one night a week at her home. "He considered my house a safe place to be," she said.
In his 16 years, Weise had lost many relatives. He was estranged from other family members and had a strained relationship with Daryl Lussier, the grandfather he killed at the start of Monday's rampage.
Family and friends said Weise's father, Daryl Lussier Jr., committed suicide in 1997. Two years later, a serious automobile accident killed a cousin and left Weise's mother partly paralyzed and brain damaged.
Then, about two years ago, "his other grandfather on his mom's side passed away," Kim Desjarlait told NBC's "Today" show. "You are dealing with three deaths within eight years. I think for a kid starting at 10 years old, that's a lot to take." At the time, she wanted to help raise Weise in Minneapolis, but he was sent to the reservation about 260 miles to the north.
In the sixth grade, Weise met Downwind's son, Sky Grant, and the two became close friends, often playing video games together. Grant recalled that Weise hated his mother and had a tendency to skip ahead to violent parts in movies they rented.
When Weise flunked eighth grade, he joined Downwind's special "Learning Center" program at the school. "He didn't function academically. He just sat there and drew pictures of army people with guns," she said. "He was a talented artist, but he drew terrible, terrible scenes."
Last June, Weise was suicidal. John Dudley, a part-time bus driver for the Red Lake health center, was called at the time to transport Weise to the hospital in Thief River Falls, about 60 miles from the reservation.
To some in the school, Weise was long a frightening figure, towering over many of the youngsters in all-black clothing. Because of recent bomb threats and other safety concerns, Red Lake High School insisted students secure a pass to go to the restroom, a requirement that agitated Weise, said Lee Ann Grant, Downwind's daughter, who had worked as a guard there since August.



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