Aunts: Weise Was No Monster

The Red Lake Indian reservation is still reeling after 16-year old Jeffrey Weise killed nine people, including his grandfather and high school students, then turned the gun on himself.

But eerie parallels are beginning to emerge between the Red Lake incident and the Columbine school shootings in Colorado.

At the same time, two of Weise's aunts are saying he wasn't the monster he's being made out to be in media reports.

Tammy and Shauna Lussier say, among other things, Weise loved his family, was a very good artist, and played his guitar as a form of therapy.

Tammy tells CBS station WCCO-TV in Minneapolis that Weise "was a lot of fun to be around. He liked to joke around with the family and with his friends."

She denied to co-anchor Harry Smith on The Early Show Thursday that Weise was a loner: "He had lots of friends. He just was really selective about the friends he had."

They admit he had some emotional problems, and kept his feelings to himself. They add that Weise took his father's suicide eight years ago very hard, and the family was getting Weise the help he needed.

Shauna tells Smith there were "no signs of trouble whatsoever" before Weise went on his rampage. "He seemed to be in a pretty good mood. He was sitting around, watching TV."

Tammy seconded that, telling WCCO-TV, "He was fine. He didn't show any signs of being depressed. He didn't show any signs of being violent. He was just himself, him normal everyday self."

Smith asked about reports that Weise had tried to take his own life before the rampage.

"He wasn't trying to commit suicide," Tammy asserts. "He was hurting himself. He was self-mutilating. It was like just scratches on his arm. They weren't deep cuts, just scratches. So it wasn't that he was trying to kill himself."

She also confirmed to Smith that Weise was on the anti-depressant drug Prozac.

But Weise's fellow students say there were warning signs, reports CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston.

One student says Weise was vowing to shoot up the school. Another tells Pinkston, "He was drawing wicked drawings, drawings and people hanging there dead."

Smith showed Weise's aunts a cartoon Weise supposedly downloaded from the Internet, portraying a gunman shooting innocent civilians, then blowing up a police car.

Beyond threats, notes Pinkston, there were other signs, such as the comments from some that Weise was a loner. Weise is also said to have posted messages on a pro-Nazi Web site speaking admiringly of Hitler and Satanic hairstyles, and proudly showing drawings of death.

Those patterns were strikingly similar to the killers in another school shooting - the nation's worst – at Columbine High School in Littleton, Col., notes Tom Mauser, the father of one of the Columbine victims.

There, Pinkston observes, two alienated teenage gunmen also favored Nazism and black attire and made videotaped threats that, in hindsight, were clear warnings.

"I think what we're seeing in this pattern," Mauser says, "is that these are kids who are not connecting with other kids and, as they get farther away from being accepted, they take on behaviors that set them even more apart."

Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain remarked to Pinkston, "We certainly need to pay more attention to our young people. It's not only here on an Indian reservation, but everywhere. Listen to them, watch them, pay attention to what they're doing, and be involved in their lives."
  • Brian Dakss

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