10 Dead After School Shooting
A student on a remote Indian reservation in Minnesota burst through the metal detector at his high school Monday and shot dead five classmates, a teacher and a security guard before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.
Before his rampage at the school, the student shot and killed his grandparents at their home on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, authorities said.
His grandfather, Sgt. Daryl Lussier, had served for more than 35 years on the Red Lake police force.
“The boy took his grandfather’s duty belt with the guns. That’s what he used,” said Roman Stately, the Red Lake fire director.
It was the deadliest school shooting since the carnage six years ago at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. In that incident, two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher before committing suicide.
Stately described a devastating scene at the small high school in Red Lake.
The school’s security guard, who was unarmed, was dead at the front door. The slain students and teacher were bunched in one classroom, along with several wounded teenagers.
The gunman, an underclassman, had shot himself in the face. His body lay near those of his victims.
Authorities said as many as 15 students were injured.
“It was just so sad to see the children lying on the floor like that, lying on top of each other. Just a terrible sight,” Stately said. “I’ve seen a lot of bad scenes in my time, but nothing like this.”
The FBI, which is investigating the shooting along with tribal police, would not speculate on a motive.
“It will probably take the rest of the night to put it all together,” FBI Special Agent Paul McCabe said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”
Though rumors swirled through the reservation, few could attempt to explain the bloodshed.
“I don’t understand it,” said Darrell Seki Jr., a security guard at North County Regional Hospital in nearby Bemidji, where six of the victims were taken.
“We can’t believe what’s going on,” Seki said. “I can’t think right now, I’m so shocked.”
Seki attended Red Lake High School; his father is the treasurer of the Red Lake Tribal Council.
Darrell Seki Sr. said he arrived at the high school shortly after the shootings.
“All I saw was kids running around crying, hugging each other, parents crying, teachers crying,” he said. “A tough, tough day.”
School officials were herding some students onto buses to send them home. Others refused to leave, said local newspaper editor Molly Miron, who arrived at the school soon after the shooting.
Many students were too traumatized to talk, she said. One teacher told her that she had heard gunshots and shouted to her students: “Get out, run out, get out.”
Miron, editor of the Pioneer of Bemidji, said she then hurried to Red Lake Indian Health Services Hospital. The scene there was equally chaotic.
“The lobby was jammed,” she said. “People were in a panic, not knowing who was hurt. Everyone here knows everyone out here, and everyone is related to everyone somehow.”
Miron added: “I have no idea what this is going to do to that town. This is like a quarter of the class that’s dead or injured.”
Though rattled, the younger Seki said he had always half expected violence to break out at the high school, which has about 300 students.
“It’s just the kids up here,” he said. He tried to find the words to describe the sense of despair he thought might lead to a violent outburst.
“It’s poverty,” he finally said. “That would be part of this situation too.”
Poverty and unemployment have long gripped the reservation in northern Minnesota, about an hour’s drive from the Canadian border.
The land is rich in natural bounty, famous for wild rice beds, peat bogs and world-class walleye and crappie fishing.
Yet 39% of the families on the reservation live in poverty. Four in five students at the school are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.
Though the Red Lake Band of the Chippewa tribe runs some small casinos, the reservation is too remote -- about 240 miles from Minneapolis -- to attract many tourists.
The school has produced some top basketball teams, but has also long ranked among the worst in Minnesota in standardized test scores.
“A horrible incident,” Seki Sr. said. “It’s time for the nation to mourn.”
Huffstutter reported from Minnesota and Simon from St. Louis. Times researcher Lynn Marshall in Seattle contributed to this report.
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Previous deadly shootings at schools in the United States:
*--* Columbine High School, Littleton, Colo. 15 dead,* 23 wounded 1999: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold fatally shoot 12 students, a teacher and themselves.
Westside Middle School, Jonesboro, Ark. 5 dead, 10 wounded 1998: Two boys target four girls and a teacher.
Thurston High School, Springfield, Ore. 4 dead, 20 wounded 1998: Kipland Kinkel kills his parents and later opens fire at his school, fatally shooting two teenagers.
Pearl High School, Pearl, Miss. 3 dead, 7 wounded 1997: After Luke Woodham stabs his mother to death, he fatally shoots two students.
Heath High School, West Paducah, Ky. 3 dead, 5 wounded 1997: Shooting spree by Michael Carneal.
Santana High School, Santee, Calif. 2 dead, 13 wounded 2001: Charles “Andy” Williams opens fire at the San Diego County school. *--*
*Includes the shooters
Sources: Associated Press, infoplease.com, Wikipedia Compiled by Cheryl Brownstein-Santiago