Another arrest as probe into school shootings takes new turn

THE investigation of a shooting spree that left nine people and the gunman dead on a Minnesota Indian reservation took a new turn when a source familiar with the probe said the tribal chairman's teenage son was arrested.

Louis Jourdain, a student at Red Lake High School, was arrested as part of an investigation into a potentially wider plot, a law enforcement source told The Associated Press. The source said Jourdain had been arrested Sunday.

Jourdain is the son of Floyd Jourdain Jr, the public face of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa since March 21, when 16-year-old Jeff Weise killed nine people before taking his own life.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Tabman had said that Weise appeared to be acting alone, and that the motive was unknown. Authorities have said little about the case since then.

But The Washington Post, citing two unidentified law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation, reported Tuesday that the teenager was suspected of helping Weise plan the assault and had expected to take part.

Some residents who have been interviewed by federal authorities said they believe the investigation is expanding, perhaps to include Weise's friends.

"They're saying that maybe the group he had run with knew something," Chris Dunshee, the principal of Red Lake High School, told The New York Times in Tuesday's editions.

US Attorney Tom Heffelfinger told The Minneapolis Star Tribune that he couldn't "confirm or deny" that the shootings by Weise were part of a larger attack planned on the high school.

Tonya Lussier, the older sister of victim Chase Lussier, told the Star Tribune that she is concerned that there could be more people involved. "I hope they catch everybody who was involved and knew what was going on," she said. News of Louis Jourdain's arrest circulated as three of the shooting victims were buried: Neva Rogers, a popular teacher; Derrick Brun, a security guard credited with saving lives by confronting Weise; and 15-year-old student Alicia White.

A biography of Floyd Jourdain posted on his website in February 2004 gave Louis's age as 15, meaning he would now be aged 16 or 17.

The elder Jourdain was not at tribal headquarters. Officials released a brief statement referring all questions to the FBI or the US attorney. He did not answer his cell phone and did not respond to an email.

Jourdain was 40 when he was sworn in last summer as Red Lake's youngest-ever chairman. On his website, he writes about post-college work counselling people in alcohol recovery and celebrating his own 20 years of sobriety in June last year. Among the issues he pledges to address is the concerns of young people.

Some residents who have been interviewed by federal authorities said they believe the investigation is expanding, perhaps to include Weise's friends.

"They're saying that maybe the group he had run with knew something," Chris Dunshee, the principal of Red Lake High School, told The New York Times.

Tonya Lussier, the older sister of victim Chase Lussier, said she was concerned that there could be more people involved. "I hope they catch everybody who was involved and knew what was going on," she said.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox