|“||Do you believe in God?||”|
Jeffrey James "Jeff" Weise was a teenage spree killer, school shooter, and one-time cop killer who perpetrated the 2005 Red Lake massacre, which killed nine people and injured five others before ending with his suicide.
Born on August 8, 1988, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Weise was a descendant of the Native American people Ojibwe. Born an only child of an unmarried couple living in Red Lake, Minnesota, Weise was stated to be physically and emotionally abused by his alcoholic mother Joanne. In November 1988, when he was three months old, his father, Daryl "Dash" Lussier, Jr., claimed full custody over him; Weise was later reclaimed by his mother when he was three years old and taken to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. In 1992, Joanne began dating Timothy Troy DesJarlait, who also allegedly abused Weise; they would marry after having two children together. On July 21, 1997, Daryl Lussier, Jr., committed suicide via shotgun wound to the head after a two-day standoff with local police. On March 5, 1999, after Joanne and one of her cousins were involved in a car accident, in which Joanne suffered severe brain damage that led to her institutionalization in Bloomington, Weise was placed into the care of his paternal grandmother Shelda but was also cared by his two paternal aunts. Due to his disrupted family life, Weise attended a number of schools during his early years: Pearson Elementary School in Shakopee, Minnesota, from kindergarten to fourth grade; Bluff Creek Elementary School in Chanhassen, Minnesota, for fifth grade; and Red Lake Middle School for sixth through eighth grades. In 2001, Weise was forced to repeat the eighth grade because of his academic grades and truancy, and he enrolled in a special education program at the school called the Learning Center. Beginning in middle school, Weise was frequently taunted and bullied by the other students, who made fun of his physical appearance and preference of wearing all-black clothing.Enrolling at Red Lake Senior High School on September 2003, Weise was seen as withdrawn by teachers and a "Goth kid" yet typically nonviolent by fellow students, and that he seemed to have a history of troublesome behavior. Despite this, he managed to maintain an adequate social life, having numerous friends and being capable of talking to girls. He eventually became depressed with life, especially due to his frustrations with living in Red Lake, which he described "as a place where people 'choose alcohol over friendship,' where women neglect 'their own flesh and blood' for relationships with men, where he could not escape 'the grave I'm continually digging for myself'." Weise later attempted suicide on May 2004 but had allegedly changed his mind. However, he attempted suicide again on June 2004, and his aunts arranged with the Red Lake Medical Center for him to be hospitalized at a facility located off of the reservation. His continuous treatment included counseling and a prescription for Prozac, an antidepressant. One source alleged that his doctor increased Weise's dosage of Prozac in 2005 a week before the shooting, to 60 mg. a day; his grandmother stated that he hadn't seen the doctor since February 21, while his aunts became concerned about the increase of his dosage. Weise held a particular set of political views in which he admired Adolf Hitler and Nazism, allegedly posting revelations for intents of persuading other Native Americans to join the Nazi cause. He even threatened to "shoot up" the school on
April 20, Hitler's birthday and the five-year anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre. This threat got him expelled from public schooling, and Weise was forced to attend a home-schooling program. Weise was also a fan of Columbine-based films Elephant and Zero Day; he was alleged to have constantly skipped over to the parts of the massacre.
The Red Lake MassacreFinally snapping one day, Weise shot his paternal grandfather Daryl Lussier, Sr., numerous times with a pistol he somehow managed to obtain and keep an unknown amount of time. He then stole Lussier's two police-issue weapons and killed Lussier's girlfriend. Driving over to Red Lake Senior High in Lussier's squad car, Weise entered the school and killed an unarmed security guard before shooting into an English classroom, killing four (including the teacher), and wounding three. At one point, he allegedly asked a student if he believed in God before shooting him, an act that was reminiscent of the Columbine High School shooting. After exiting the classroom and shooting four more students at the school's main entrance, killing two, Weise engaged in a shootout with the police, during which he was wounded in the abdomen and right arm. Retreating to an empty classroom, Weise committed suicide by shooting himself under the chin with his shotgun. He was sixteen years old when he died
Having claimed more lives than the 1976 California State University Fullerton shooting perpetrated by Edward Allaway and the 2012 Oikos University shooting perpetrated by suspect One L. Goh, Jeff's massacre would go on to be the seventh deadliest school massacre in U.S. history, behind the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting perpetrated by Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the 1999 Columbine High School massacre perpetrated by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz, the 1966 University of Texas tower shooting perpetrated by Charles Whitman, the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting perpetrated by Adam Lanza, the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting perpetrated by Seung-Hui Cho, and the 1927 Bath School massacre perpetrated by Andrew Kehoe. It is also the fourth deadliest High School massacre in the United States, behind the aforementioned Santa Fe, Columbine, and MSD massacres.
In the events following the shooting spree, Buck Jourdain, then-Chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, condemned the incident.
Jourdain's son Louis, a friend of Weise's, was also arrested after several email messages he exchanged with Weise were discovered online. Louis was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, and although the charges were dropped, Louis still pleaded guilty. The killed security guard, Derrick Brun, and injured victim Jeffrey May, who was critically injured in the shooting after attempting to stop Weise, were both praised for their actions, with then-U.S. President George W. Bush making a statement about Brun's death. After it was found that Weise was a fan of the aforementioned Elephant, the movie came under scrutiny for influencing Weise to commit the shooting, although the criticism was dropped after it appeared Weise was acting normal even after a viewing of the film was over.
These are all the victims of Weise's massacre (excluding Weise himself).
- The Lussier house shooting:
- Daryl Lussier, Sr., 58 (his grandfather; shot twice in the head and ten times in the chest)
- Michelle Sigana, 31 (Lussier's girlfriend; shot twice in the head)
- The Red Lake Senior High School massacre:
- The hallway shooting: Derrick Brun, 28 (security guard)
- The English classroom massacre:
- Alicia White, 15
- Neva Winnecoup-Rogers, 62 (teacher)
- Thurlene Stillday, 15
- Chanelle Rosebear, 15
- The main entrance shootings:
- Chase Lussier, 16
- Dewayne Lewis, 15
- The Red Lake Senior High School shooting:
- Ryan Auginash, 14 (shot in the chest)
- Steven Cobenais, 15 (shot in the forehead)
- Lance Crowe, 15 (shot in the hand and chest)
- Jeffrey May, 16 (shot twice in the neck and once in the jaw)
- Cody Thunder, 15 (shot in the hip)
- Numerous unnamed responding officers (attempted to shoot)
On Criminal Minds
- Murderpedia article about Weise and the massacre
- The Guardian article about the massacre
- FOX News article about Jeff Weise and the massacre