Pain goes on for Red Lake community 10 years after shooting massacre

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Saturday marks 10 years since the largest mass homicide in Minnesota's history.

On March 21, 2005, a 16-year-old from the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota named Jeff Weise shot his police officer grandfather to death, along with his grandfather's girlfriend, before heading to the Red Lake Senior High School

There, he killed five 15-year-old students, an English teacher, a security guard, and wounded five, before taking his own life in a classroom.

At the time, it was the biggest school shooting since Columbine and ten years later, the 6,000-strong Chippewa community on the reservation is still haunted by the memories of that fateful day.

The long road to recovery

MPR has spoken to three people involved the massacre, among them Jeff May, who was shot in the face while charging at Weise with a pencil, moments after watching him kill his girlfriend Alicia White, and still bears the scar "as a souvenir."

May, a promising footballer, was held up as a tribal hero following the shooting, as his actions allowed other students to escape. But he has found it tough to move on with his life, spending all of a $750,000 payment he received for the bullet he took, and in 2010 he entered a care facility following a suicide attempt.

Since then he has been trying to piece his life back together, telling MPR: "I prayed. That seemed to help me a lot. Shortly after that I got the will to get up and go forward with my life again."

More counseling is needed

Another person at the school that day was math teacher Missy Dodds, who told the Associated Press she hasn't been back into the classroom since the shooting, and still takes medication for anxiety and attends regular therapy sessions.

She had locked the door to her classroom, only for Weise to shoot through the glass partition. "When I looked up and saw his face in the glass, I thought, 'Oh, my God, we are in so much trouble,'" she told AP.

One of her students, freshman Ashley Lajeunesse, said she is better off than many of the others who witnessed the shootings because she sought help after having issues with drugs and alcohol.

"There are still a lot of them that have never gotten counseling that need it," she said.

Services

Memorial services will be held this weekend to mark the 10th anniversary of the shooting in Red Lake, the Northland News Center reports.

The Bemidji Pioneer reports that the City of Bemidji will be flying the Red Lake Flag half-mast at City Hall this weekend, to remember and honor those who lost their lives.

MPR has published a profile on each of the victims of the shooting, which you can read here.

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