April 25, 2006

Youth held after school assault threat

By Benno Groeneveld

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Reuters) - A juvenile was being held
at a Minnesota Indian reservation after officials said they
uncovered a possible assault against the same school where a
shooting spree last year left 10 dead, the FBI said on Tuesday.

The development came on the heels of two other alleged
shooting plots at schools in Alaska and Kansas, all occurring
on or near the April 20 anniversary of the worst U.S. school
shooting in Columbine, Colorado, where 15 died in 1999.

Michael Tabman, special agent in charge of the Minneapolis
FBI office, said the unnamed juvenile was detained as a part of
an ongoing investigation into an alleged threat to the high
school at Red Lake, a Chippewa Indian reservation in remote
northwest Minnesota.

"At the present time, we believe the alleged threat ... has
been neutralized," he added.

He offered no other details, but the Minneapolis Star
Tribune reported earlier in the day that the student taken into
custody was a ninth grader who was not a known trouble-maker.

In a letter posted on April 19 on the tribe's Web site, the
school's acting principal, Brent Colligan, told parents that
officials had received information the day before "that a group
of students were threatening to form some sort of an assault on
the ... school."

He said extra security was brought in and gates surrounding
the school were locked each morning after the students entered.

On March 21, 2005, 16-year-old Jeff Weise shot and killed
five students, a teacher, and a security guard at the same
school before killing himself. Just before that he had also
killed his grandfather and his grandfather's companion
elsewhere on the reservation.

It was the worst U.S. school shooting since Columbine.

Weise's motives have never been clear but in postings on
one Internet site he had described himself as an "angel of
death" and expressed concern about the dilution of Native
American culture.

In January the son of a tribal leader was sentenced for
making threats prior to the rampage. The terms of the sentence
were not revealed following a closed court hearing because the
youth, Louis Jourdain, 17, was charged under juvenile law.

A friend of Weise, Jourdain had pleaded guilty to a charge
of making threats by way of interstate communications after
investigators examined Internet messages he had sent in the
months before the shootings, some in exchanges with Weise.