Thursday, June 13, 2024
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


Strong emotions lie close to the surface
Larger view
Robert Cook, a Red Lake Band member, performs a traditional smudging ceremony at St. Philip Church in Bemidji, during a Wednesday memorial service to mourn the Red Lake shooting victims. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Two days after the shooting rampage on the Red Lake Reservation, the community remains stunned. There was some good news Wednesday, when doctors reported that three of the teenagers wounded in Monday's shooting are improving. The community is quiet, but it's clear strong emotions lie very close to the surface.

Red Lake, Minn. — At the North Country Regional hospital in Bemidji. Physcian Howard Hoody is treating Lance Crowe, 15.

"I think given the nature of what occurred up there, he's very lucky. He's very lucky to have made it through this," said Hoody. "Other people who were less fortunate didn't. The injuries he has, given his age, he should recover with very little residual effect."

Hoody believes Crowe could be out of the hospital by this weekend. The prognosis was also good for Ryan Auginash. Dave Van Englenhoven is his doctor. He says Auginash is recovering from his physical wounds, but faces other challenges.

"He seems confused. He's upset by what's happened. It's been a horrible experience," said Van Englenhoven. "He and the other students have been receiving counseling here in the hospital to help with that."

The news of the kids recovering comes at a good time. There's a lot of tension in the region. Tribal authorities are limiting access to the Red Lake Reservation for the media that has poured in from aroubnd the country. Two photographers had their cameras briefly confiscated, and there have been reports of journalists who have not followed the rules being evicted from the reservation.

Tribal authorities say the community needs to deal with this on its own.

At St. Philip's Catholic Church in Bemidji, local people attended a mass to remember victims. Most attending the service were older people. The church was far from full. Audrey Thayer, head of the local ACLU, says the attendance for the service was disappointing.

"This is the community that lives and breathes off the dollars of the reservation community," Thayer said.

Thayer says it's a frustrating time because 10 people are dead. There's been talk of how the tragedy could unite people and bring the communities together. Thayer says the church should be packed.

"(I'm) not so much angry, as wanting to know what is it going to take for a community that lives so close to the reservation -- that is only the place they can shop, other than Grand Forks, which is two and half hours away, or Fargo -- to really be invested and committed," said Thayer.

Thayer says there are some wonderful people in Bemidji. People who are touched by the tragedy. But she is disappointed there hasn't been a stronger show of public support for the Red Lake community.

The sense of community was more evident on the Red Lake school campus Wednesday, as teachers and staff met to discuss how they'll work with students dealing with the crisis. At that closed-door meeting, parents thanked teachers for keeping their students safe, and community members pledged to remain strong.

One by one, witnesses of Monday's shooting shared their experiences with the crowd of supporters gathered at the elementary school, said David Rudduck, national disaster spokesman for the American Red Cross.

"The messages were, 'We are one people, we need to remain strong, we will support each other and we will get through this,"' Rudduck said.

Rudduck said the meeting was "one of the most powerful things I've witnessed" since he attended memorial services following the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

High school students and staff were to meet for a half-day Thursday at the elementary school, though classes weren't to resume before next week.

"The teachers want them to be able to see them. They're like family," said Kathryn Beaulieu, a board member.

Rudduck estimated about 300 to 400 members of the small Indian community attended Wednesday's meeting, which tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain said was called so officials could develop a strategy for helping families and victims cope with the tragedy.

The suspect, Jeff Weise, apparently killed nine people and wounded seven Monday before killing himself.

"We're deep in grief, but we're one in far as that we will see this through and we are a strong nation and we will support each other," said Beaulieu, who attended part of the meeting. "It will take time, but we will carry on."

She said parents at the meeting thanked teachers and staff for securing the classrooms and protecting their children. The meeting also included tribal drumming and a pipe ceremony.

"First and foremost, we've got to be focused on getting our kids through this," Principal Chris Dunshee told The Associated Press before the meeting. "They're good kids. They don't deserve this."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)