RED LAKE, Minn., April 1 -- As many as 20 teenagers may have known ahead of time about plans for the shooting spree that resulted in the deaths of 10 people on the Indian reservation here March 21, tribal and federal officials said Friday.
Capt. Dewayne Dow of the tribal police told a group of parents, teachers and staff at a three-hour school board meeting that authorities believe as many as 20 students were involved.
Roland Lussier, left, comforted son Roland Jr. after a wake for his older brother, Chase, last week in Red Lake, Minn. The last funeral for the 10 who died in the March 21 shootings is scheduled for today, and observers said many young people on the Red Lake Band of Chippewa reservation are still on edge.
(Richard Tsong-taatarii -- Star Tribune Via AP)
One law enforcement official said the FBI believes that as many as four students -- including gunman Jeff Weise and Louis Jourdain, a classmate arrested Sunday -- were directly involved in planning an attack on Red Lake High School, and well over a dozen others may have heard about the plot.
"There may have been as many as four of these kids who were active participants in the plot," said the official, who declined to be identified discussing an ongoing investigation. "The question is, how many other kids had some knowledge of this or had heard about it somehow? We think there were quite a few."
FBI agents plan to perform forensic analysis on 30 to 40 computers seized Friday from the high school computer laboratory, FBI and school officials said. Investigators hope to learn more from the school computers, since much of the alleged discussion and planning among Weise and his friends occurred through e-mails and instant messages, the law enforcement official said.
Those developments capped a week in which daily funerals or wakes kept many members of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa in a state of stunned disbelief.
"It still feels like it's a bad dream," Donald May, a member of the tribal council, said in midweek. "We're in shock."
The burial for the last of the 10 fatalities was scheduled for Saturday. "I went to a lot of these funerals these past few days, and I'm just numb," said Allen Pemberton, another tribal council member.
As the week passed in this isolated community, the FBI's continuing investigation was compounding the residents' ingrained distrust of outside authorities.
"It used to be when you saw someone who's a non-Indian coming on the reservation, there's only one reason -- he's either an FBI agent or a Mormon," said Mike Fairbanks, a 40-year law enforcement veteran and a member of the Red Lake Chippewa.
Some of the distrust was cropping up between tribal members.
"I've been getting strange looks," said Cartera Hart, 16, as she left a grocery store on the reservation. Hart, who was dressed in black and wore a hoop through her lip, said she hangs out with about a dozen students who were friends with Weise and Jourdain, who is the tribal chairman's son. Friend Alyssa Roy, 15, said, "There's going to be more and more people tormenting us and thinking we're involved."
To cope with the attention, and with the shootings, some tribal members simply withdrew to their homes. As the weather turned warm and sunny on Thursday, basketball courts and parks were empty. A few younger children rode bikes around in their yards, close to their houses.
"I stay in my house, and I don't want my kids to go outside," said Barbara Bedeau, 42, who said she has struggled to explain the shooting spree to her daughter, 8. "I want them to stay close, near me. It's made us all scared."