Thursday, July 18, 2019
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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


Red Lake buries four on Monday
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Pallbearers carry the casket of Derrick Brun following his funeral Monday in Red Lake. Four people were laid to rest Monday, all killed in the Red Lake shooting a week earlier. (MPR Photo/Tom Robertson)
News of an arrest in the Red Lake shooting case came on the same day the community buried four of the dead -- including the gunman, Jeff Weise.

Bemidji, Minn. — The juvenile son of the Red Lake tribal chairman was arrested Sunday in connection with the shootings that left 10 people dead, according to sources close to the investigation. Louis Jourdain, 16, was arrested Sunday as part of an investigation into a potentially wider plot, said the source, who gave no further details.

The announcement came as funeral services were held Monday for four people who died in the shooting: Security guard Derrick Brun, teacher Neva Rogers, student Alicia White, and the assailant Jeff Weise.


Brun, who was credited with saving lives at Red Lake High School by confronting a teenage gunman, was remembered as a hero and a warrior.

Brun, 28, was the first person shot by Weise. A fellow security guard said earlier that Brun rose from his desk to confront Weise, allowing her to shepherd other students to safety.

"This young man sacrified his life without hesitation," said Ernie Stevens, a board member of several prominent American Indian groups, including the National Indian Child Welfare Association. "That is what warriors do."

"Derrick is one of those men who is and now ever will be a hero," Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., said.

Brun started working as a security guard at Red Lake High School last fall. Friends say he loved the students he guarded at the school.

Brun was a former police officer who was studying to be an emergency medical technician. Keith Lajeunesse grew up with Brun on the Reservation. He says he attended Red Lake High School and took classes at Bemidji State with Brun, and now lives in Moorhead.

"It's unbelievable. I've been trying to make sense of it all week. And I got here on Saturday. And I can't even put it into words," Lajeunesse says. "This is just a tragic thing that happened. I'm bumping into a lot of people that I went to school with, and it's just a wrong thing to have a reunion for in such a tragic time."

Many of the mourners talked about what it will take to heal the Red Lake Nation. Retired police officer Larry Roy says many are trying to come to terms with what Jeff Weise did.

"I think there's a lot of forgiveness that has to be done by each community... There's a lot of hurt amongst us now. And I think maybe this is the turning point, you know. It should have never happened. But things happen when you least expect it," says Roy.

Brun's body was brought to St. Mary's Catholic Mission by an honorary Red Lake Police guard. Father Bill Mehrkens officiated over the service. Merhkens says the healing process will take time. But he says the tragedy has brought the Red Lake people as close together as he's ever seen them.

There is no avoiding brokenness of heart in Red Lake these days. Hearts that break are the ones that have the deepest compassion for other people.
- Father Bill Mehrkens

"Broken hearts have to heal. And they can heal. And the people here are capable of doing that," Mehrkens says. "And as one person put, even after all this tragedy, Red Lake could even be a better and safer and more loving place to be, because of all the love that's going on through this whole tragedy."

Judy Roy, the tribal secretary, also spoke, addressing Brun's parents: "We thank you for the sacrifice that your son made for so many people," she said. "What we will remember will not be the madness that overtook one individual on that day ... we will remember the sacrifice."

The service was disrupted briefly when Mehrkens mistakenly referred to Brun as "Jeff," angering Brun's sister, Vicky Brun.

"He's not Jeff, he's Derrick! Stop talking about Jeff!" she said, leaving the church moments later in tears. The priest apologized for his mistake.

Later, outside the church, Brun said it was too early to forgive.

"My brother isn't even in the ground," she said.


Earlier in the day, a service was held in Bemidji for Neva Rogers, the teacher killed by Weise. Reports say Rogers told her students to hide when Weise shot through a window and entered the classroom.

Rogers' son, Vern Kembitskey, says he's proud of his mom for protecting her students. "For a while I wrestled with the fact that she could have ran out the door -- it was right there," Kembitskey says. "But then I realize that if she had done that then she wouldn't have been true to herself, which is what she always said we should be."

Rogers was the only non-Indian killed in last week's shootings. Her funeral was held at the Calvary Lutheran Church in Bemidji. U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton and several police officers joined her family, her students and those who worked with her at Red Lake High School.

All who spoke during and after the services say Rogers had an infectious laugh. They say they'll miss her wonderful cooking and love for gardening. Fellow teacher Sheila Horn says Rogers also had passion for teaching her students.

"A lot of teachers come to school and teaching has been just a job to them. To Neva it was a joy in her heart to teach kids," says Horn. "Teaching isn't always easy, and if you can come to school with a smile every single day, you know that you're doing something that is meaningful in your life -- and that was Neva."

Horn says many of the teachers at Red Lake High School want to get back to school as soon as possible. She said the teachers need the students at this time much more than the students need them.

Several students say Rogers was their favorite teacher because she listened to them, and would also give them treats and presents. Junior Eldon Cloud said Rogers was a good teacher who pushed her students, but also treated them like adults.

"She was nicer than all of the other teachers. I mean she didn't have seating charts and stuff like that. She let us sit where we want," says Cloud.

Mourners wrote messages for the family on a large white piece of paper hanging in the church lobby.

"She was the kindest person. I was lucky to be one of her students," one person wrote.

"Sorry for what happened. She will be missed. Miigwetch," wrote another, using the Ojibwe word for "thanks." The message was signed by Summer Weise; it couldn't immediately be determined whether she was related to the gunman.

"A very special, caring, loving and compassionate teacher. She will be greatly missed. We have been blessed to have her as a teacher at Red Lake. Thank you," another mourner wrote.

Rogers is survived by two daughters, a son and seven grandchildren.

Rogers' adult children say they aren't surprised by what they've heard about that day - that the woman with "a laugh that took over the room" tried to shield the kids as best she could.

"There wasn't anything she wouldn't do for her students," said her son, Vern Kembitskey, 34. He said Rogers gave scarves and gloves to students who needed them. She would help raise funds for kids who were going to Washington, D.C., so they could go expand their horizons and pursue whatever opportunities the world holds.

Rogers felt she was needed at Red Lake, a place where poverty, pregnancy and violence are everyday challenges for teenagers.

She had a soft spot for teenagers who lost their parents, or who themselves became parents at a young age, said her daughters, Cindy Anderson and Kim Kvam. But she also expected a lot from her students and would stay late to help those who needed it.

"One of the things she admired most were people who came from absolutely nothing and made something of themselves," Kembitskey said.

"She said you have to just give them hope and keep encouraging and try to get them to keep coming (to school)," said her half-sister, Doris Berndt. She added that Rogers believed "by getting an education they are going to have a better life."

Kembitskey, who dresses in the goth style, said his mother once came to him for advice when she was worried about a goth girl who was depressed. He advised that she tell the girl she wasn't alone in the world.

He said his mother did not talk to him about Weise, who wore the black eyeliner, black trenchcoat and combat boots that are typical of the goth style. Investigators say they don't know Weise's motive for the killings, but Internet postings paint a picture of a deeply depressed and suicidal boy. Friends and family members have said he was taking the anti-depressant Prozac.

"If she had anything to do with that kid, she would've mentioned it to me," Kembitskey said, adding that he thinks the boy's depression, not his goth lifestyle, most likely led to the shootings.

Rogers left teaching in the early 1980s and worked in the insurance industry, and she lived in Texas for a while.

About six years ago, she returned to teaching at Red Lake, where she also was the adviser to the yearbook and the student newspaper. The blonde-haired woman stood out among the American Indians, but she felt right at home while she was working on the reservation. Rogers' children say that she considered her students to be like family.

"I think one of the things that she liked the best about it was there's such a sense of community," said Anderson. "My mom was the type of person that likes to know (about) other people's lives."


At the service Monday for Alicia White, a 14-year-old student killed in the attack -- and the youngest of the victims -- several girls who were serving as attendants dressed in pink.

"She was always making us laugh," said Jennifer Stately, 16, a cousin of Alicia.

The girl's body lay in her coffin surrounded by gifts, and a nearby table was covered with flowers, photographs and greeting cards. There were Care Bears, which her friends said she adored, "friendship necklaces" and even small gifts of money placed in her hands

"She was a sweet girl," said the Rev. Tom Pollack of Redby Community Church. "She was like a flower with sweet nectar that attracts the bees."


Just minutes after Derrick Brun's funeral concluded at St. Mary's, the church filled up again for another funeral, for the gunman, Jeff Weise. As Weise's service was about to begin, the family asked reporters who had initially been allowed into the church to leave.

Weise's funeral drew a tearful crowd of several hundred people. Kim Baker says she came to support Weise's family and friends. She says she's ready to forgive Jeff Weise.

"He was also a member of Red Lake and he was also somebody's son, brother, uncle. He was loved here, too," says Baker. "And the way I look at it, he still deserves some recognition from the community, so he can't be forgotten."

The last of the Red Lake school shooting victims will be buried later this week. The funeral for Chanelle Rosebear, 15, is set for Wednesday. The service for Dewayne Lewis, 15, will be held Saturday. Both will receive traditional Ojibwe burials in the village of Ponemah.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)