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E-mail gaves glimpse into school shootings
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Red Lake High School, scene of last week's deadly shootings. (Photo courtesy of Red Lake Net News)
A Polk County sheriff's deputy provides another glimpse into the shootings at Red Lake High School, in an e-mail he sent to family members.

Red Lake, Minn. — (AP) - The suspected gunman in the Red Lake High School shootings was wounded by tribal police officers before retreating to a classroom and taking his own life, according to an account of the attack by a sheriff's deputy.

Jeff Weise killed himself with a shotgun after being hit in the hip and leg, according to the March 26 e-mailed account obtained by The Associated Press. The e-mail also said a heroic security guard was shot first in the chest then in the back.

Weise killed nine people in the March 21 attack, including seven at the high school, before killing himself.

The description by Polk County Sheriff's Deputy James Goss, sent to his family members, was based on a tour he said he was given by an FBI agent while he was providing security near the high school. Goss was there as part of a force relieving tribal officers so they could attend a funeral service for Weise's first victim, tribal police officer Daryl Lussier Sr.

The e-mail says "the entire school" as "covered with blood," and said there were bullet holes "everywhere."

Reached at work Wednesday, Goss confirmed the e-mail was his but said he could not comment further without talking to his supervisors. An FBI spokesman didn't return a phone call seeking comment.

In the e-mail, Goss described "the entire school" as "covered with blood," and said there were bullet holes "everywhere."

"The FBI agent explained in detail every move made during the shooting," the deputy wrote.

Much of the e-mail was consistent with accounts provided earlier by witnesses.

According to Goss's account:

Derrick Brun, the security guard credited with saving lives by confronting Weise, was shot in the chest with a shotgun.

"He turned to run and was again shot in the back where he fell and died," Goss wrote. "The shooter continued around the corner and saw a 62-year-old teacher pushing a large copy machine or something down the hall." Neva Rogers was the only teacher killed in the attack; witnesses said she told students to hide.

"The shooter shot at the teacher from about 20 yards with the shotgun, missing both shots. The teacher ran to her room, but was followed by the shooter. He entered her room and began shooting with the shotgun. Killing the teacher and wounding some students. He then dropped the shotgun and started shooting with a Glock 40."

Weise walked around the room shooting students in the head as they tried to hide, Goss wrote, and then left the room and started shooting through doors of other rooms.

Cody Thunder, a 15-year-old student, earlier described Weise firing through a windows into his classroom. One shot hit Thunder in the hip.

The brief attack drew to an end when Weise, reloading, rounded a corner to meet gunfire from a tribal officer "with a .223," Goss wrote, and that's when Weise was wounded.

"The shooter then re-entered the classroom where the students were killed and picked up the shotgun. He placed it under his chin and pulled the trigger."

That also matched an account from Chongai'la Morris, a 14-year-old student who said he was in the room where Rogers was killed.

"He fell backwards a little bit. Then he kind of shut his eyes for a little bit and put the gun under his chin and fired," Morris said.

Meanwhile, no court proceedings took place Wednesday for Louis Jourdain, the 16-year-old son of tribal chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr. who was arrested over the weekend as a possible accomplice.

A request for an interview with U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger Wednesday was deferred to a spokeswoman, Karen Bailey, who said authorities could not comment any further because the prosecution is a juvenile matter.

Two days after Louis Jourdain's arrest, many people on the reservation continued to decline to speak to reporters.

Two who did were Cartera Hart and Alyssa Roy, both sophomores at Red Lake who said they knew Weise and Jourdain. The pair "seemed like best friends," Hart said. "They were always together."

Several newspapers reported that Weise and Jourdain were members of a clique known as "Darkers" for dressing in dark clothing, with spiked or dyed hair and piercings.

Hart and Roy, who were both dressed in that fashion Wednesday, said they weren't familiar with the Darkers name.

"The people who are getting quoted in the press, they didn't know Jeff at all," Carter said.

"They never bothered to know him because of the way he dressed," Roy said. "We're all just getting stereotyped now."

At Red Lake High School, contractors were knocking down walls, repairing bullet holes and otherwise cleaning up from the shooting. It will be a long process, Superintendent Stuart Desjarlait said, noting the time that has passed since the shootings.

"You can imagine the smell in there," he said. "It's the smell of death."

Desjarlait said he still hopes school will re-open the week of April 12, but said he would ask the school board to approve classes be held at the middle school for both middle and high school students.

For the first two weeks, he said, activities will emphasize fun things like roller skating instead of schoolwork.

"We've got to get the kids that sense of security again, that the building is safe to come back to," he said.

Desjarlait said he had no information on the investigation, and declined to comment on Louis Jourdain's arrest.

Dr. Kathleen Annette of Indian Health Service, a federal agency, said Wednesday 16 mental health workers were on the reservation to counsel those troubled by the shootings.

Annette said it would be a long-term effort. "This is not going to be resolved in one to three or five months," she said.

Funeral services were planned Wednesday for Chanelle Rosebear, a 15-year-old student killed in the attack. The traditional Ojibwe service in Ponemah was closed to media.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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