Teen gunman had a mean face, say school shooting survivors

A SCHOOL shooting survivor in the US said yesterday the gunman aimed with “a mean face” as he shot fellow students, killing five among his nine victims.

Officials said Red Lake High School would remain closed for two more weeks.

"I was in shock," said 15-year-old Cody Thunder, so much so he didn't feel the pain from being shot in his hip. "What is he doing? And he ended up shooting. I thought he was messing around, I thought it was a paintball gun or something."

Some witnesses have said the attacker, Jeff Weise, was smiling and waving as he shot at people, but Cody said of Weise's demeanour: "It was a mean face."

Red Lake students and staff met at the elementary school yesterday, though classes won't resume until the week of April 12. The high school building remains closed.

Asked about returning to school, Cody said: "I don't feel like going back." Later, he said he would not return to school this year.

The student added that he recognised Weise immediately because he had spoken with him a couple of times. trying to connect with a person who seemed to have no friends.

"He looked like a cool guy, and then I talked to him a few times," Cody said. "He talked about guns and shooting people."

He said Weise cultivated a dangerous appearance, including sculpting his hair to look as if he had devil horns: "It looked like he was trying to be evil."

Authorities were still trying to determine why Weise went on his rampage on Monday, which began at his grandfather's house and ended at the school.

Nine people were killed and seven were wounded before the gunman apparently shot himself.

Cody, who was shot in the hip, is in good condition. Another survivor, Lance Crowe, 15, also appeared at the news conference at North Country Regional Hospital but did not speak. Relatives have said he may have survived because he played dead after he was shot.

Another boy being treated at the hospital also was in good condition; two students at a Fargo hospital were in a serious or critical condition.

Monday's shooting, with five students killed, was the worst in a US school since the Columbine shootings in Colorado six years ago.

Authorities and witnesses say Weise killed his grandfather and the man's companion before heading to the school. He killed an unarmed security guard and a teacher before firing upon students and then, authorities believe, killing himself.

School Superintendent Stuart Desjarlait said officials were working with professionals from around the country to get ready to reopen the school. He defended security measures at the school, which included a disaster plan, cameras and unarmed security guards.

"It goes to show that if something is going to happen, it's going to happen," Mr Desjarlait said. "No matter what you do."

Authorities were investigating whether Weise, who dressed in black and wrote stories about zombies, may have posted messages on a neo-Nazi website expressing admiration for Adolf Hitler and using the handle Todesengel German for "Angel of Death."

On Wednesday, TheSmokingGun.com reported that Weise posted a computer animation on a multimedia website in October, Newgrounds.com, that showed a gunman shooting four people, blowing up a squad car and committing suicide.

The animation he posted was accompanied by a photograph of Weise and a description of himself as "nothin' but a Native American teenage-stoner-industrialist."

In another posting, on LiveJournal.com and dated January 4, Weise wrote: "I should've taken the razor blade express last time around... Well, whatever, man. Maybe they've got another shuttle comin' around soon?"

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