Friday, December 15, 2017
Go to Red Lake shootings
Red Lake shootings
Troubled teen kills nine, and himself, in Red Lake
Recounting the horror of the shootings
Red Lake stunned by shootings, and by spotlight
Starting the long process of healing
Political leaders mourn Red Lake deaths
Band members in the Twin Cities grieve from a distance
Searching for reasons behind school shootings
A glimpse into the life of Jeff Weise
Shooting shows benefits, limits of school safety plans
Red Lake shooting stirs memories at Rocori High School
Audio
Photos

Sponsor

Stories of heroism and survival
Larger view
Victoria Brun holds a photo of her brother, Derrick Brun, and his daughter Courtney. Derrick Brun was a security guard at Red Lake High School, and was killed Monday by student Jeff Weise. He is being called a hero for allowing others to escape the shooter. (Photo by JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images )
A security guard who survived the shooting at Red Lake High School gave a gripping account of the scene, and credited a fellow guard with saving lives -- at the cost of his own. One of the students who was wounded also described, through his family, his struggle with the shooter.

Undated — A security guard who survived the bloody shooting at Red Lake High School described a frenzied scramble to warn students, and credited a fellow security guard with saving lives - at the cost of his own.

In an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, LeeAnn Grant said Derrick Brun ignored her pleas to run, and rose from his desk to confront Jeff Weise, the 16-year-old shooter.

"Derrick saved my life," Grant said. "I know he bought me time by confronting Jeff, for me to even get that much farther away with the students. Derrick's my hero," she said. "He didn't even look scared. He didn't look worried. He knew what he was going to do."

Grant's wasn't the first witness account of the shootings, the worst in a school since Columbine. But it was among the most vivid, and gave the first picture of Brun's heroism.

Grant said she and Brun, 28, were working at the school doors that day, as usual. Three of the four doors were locked; the open door funneled students through a metal detector.

She described Weise stepping out of his grandfather's police truck - taken after the boy had killed the man and his companion, according to authorities - and sending two shotgun blasts into the air.

Derrick (Brun) is my hero. He didn't even look scared. He didn't look worried. He knew what he was going to do.
- LeeAnn Grant, security guard at Red Lake High School

Just four years older than Weise, she had known him for years and recognized him right away. He was 16, and at 6 feet tall, 250 pounds, he was built like a man. His black trenchcoat billowed open and Grant saw more guns on the boy's belt.

Grant had no gun, no bulletproof vest and a little girl and a little boy at home. She had only begun working full-time as a security guard in August. Before that, she had worked part-time at a nursing home. But the school job offered paid better, and offered more variety.

Outside, the gunman tried one door, then another.

"He looked right at me. I made eye contact with him," Grant said. The boy quickly found the open door.

"He walked in and fired another shot and I was telling Derrick, 'Come on let's go, let's go Derrick, run, we need to save these kids, we need to do something.' And I radioed in ... 'There's a guy coming in the school and he's shooting and he has a gun.'"

"Derrick just sat there at his desk. ... He didn't look scared. He didn't look surprised. ... He just kept staring at Jeff. I kept hollering for him to come with me. He wouldn't come, he just stayed there."

The noise drew students toward the front doors. Some thought maybe there was a fight, and they wanted to see, Grant said. "I start yelling at them, 'Run! There's a guy with a gun here! Just run!' And then I took off to try to protect them," Grant said. "I turned back a little bit, and you could see Derrick kind of getting up, going right toward Jeff. And then I heard two shots again."

Other witness accounts indicate that that's when Brun was killed.

"I just ran," Grant said.

There was no refuge. Like most schools after the Columbine high school massacre in 1999, Red Lake High School had a system for securing the school in case of violence. Alerted to trouble, its teachers locked the classroom doors, as they were trained, Grant said.

She tried to open classroom doors to get in, to hide. Other students did the same. None opened. Grant's keys were back by the front door.

"I told them, 'Never stop running. Don't look back no matter what.'"

Grant ran, too, with bullets striking the wall as she went. A boy running a little ahead of Grant fell.

"He got shot and went down, and then I was going to stop and grab him, but all those other students stopped and I told them to run. And then by that time Jeff was pretty much right by us again and I just ducked and took off again."

She said the gunman eventually turned down another hall. Grant and the students made it to the middle school, which is connected to the high school. She said she was heading back toward the high school to try to lead more students out when police arrived and kept her outside.

Other heroes have emerged.

At a news conference Wednesday in Fargo, family members of an injured student said he also acted heroically.

Relatives of Jeffrey May, 15, say he tried to wrestle the gun from Weise in the halls of the school. The gun went off in the struggle, and May was shot in the face. The bullet went through May's cheek and lodged in his neck near his spine, leaving him paralyzed on his left side.

May's mother and siblings spoke about the incident from the MeritCare hospital in Fargo, North Dakota. They say May is breathing on his own, though he still has a tube in his throat to help him.

May's older brother, Shane, says May has used a notepad to communicate what happened when Jeffrey Wiese entered the school and began firing. Shane says his brother tried to protect other students. But he was armed only with a pencil.

"He attempted to stab this kid in the side with his pencil. That's when he got shot. He said he heard one gunshot and it missed him, and a second one got him. He said he tried to stick him with his pencil and that's when he got hit," says Shane May.

"He said even though he was hit, he was still trying to wrestle with this kid, but he said he just fell down," says Shane. "And there was not much he could do. He could hear his phone ringing. He'd hear his text messenger going off. He said he was still aware of what was going on. It was just a matter of help finding him."

Shane says his brother doesn't know how long he lay on the floor bleeding. Shane says Jeffrey May was a hero that day, because he knew he had to act or more people would die.

"He said the shooter had every intention of shooting everybody," says Shane. "He said if he wouldn't have tried to wrestle with this kid, he feels right now he wouldn't be alive right now. He said if he wouldn't have moved or tried to wrestle with him, he said he would've gotten shot right in the head."

May's mother Jodi drives a bus in Red Lake. She says she heard about the shooting while she was out driving her afternoon route. Jodi May says Jeffrey seemed more concerned about what happened to his classmates and teacher Neva Rogers.

"He said, 'Did he kill my favorite teacher?' And I had to tell him everything," says Jodi May. "I didn't want to hold it back from him and let him hear it later, and let him think I lied to him -- I just had to tell him."

Jodi May says she knew Jeffrey Wiese's grandparents. She says Wiese's grandmother helped raise her when she was a child. Right now, she says she's not angry or bitter about the shooting.

"I have a lot of things going on in my mind about the shooter. But, that was when it first happened," says Jodi May. "I can't really say for anybody else, but it happened -- we can't take it back. If he was a loner, and to my knowledge my boys were his friends -- I don't know. I don't have no grudge against nobody, I just want my son to get better."

Jodi May and her kids say they appreciate all the prayers and support they've received so far. She says Jeffrey is expected to remain hospitalized for six to eight weeks.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

Sponsor