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 shocked parents, teachers and staff at a three-hour school board meeting that authorities believe as many as 20 students were involved.
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, while 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 in 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 seized 30 to 40 computers from the high school computer laboratory Friday in order to perform forensic analysis on the machines, 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. As the week passed in this isolated community, the FBI's continuing investigation was compounding the residents' ingrained distrust of outside authorities.
"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 last of the 10 victims was to be buried today. "I went to a lot of these funerals these past few days, and I'm just numb," said Allen Pemberton, another tribal council member.
"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 member of Red Lake.
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 in a group of about a dozen students who were friends with Weise and Jourdain, who is the tribal chairman's son. Her friend Alyssa Roy, 15, said, "There's going to be more and more people tormenting us and thinking we're involved."