BEMIDJI, Minn. – A novice security guard at a high school described a slain colleague as a hero, saying he gave his life to save her from a student-turned-gunman.
"I know he bought me time by confronting Jeff, for me to even get that much farther away with the students," Grant told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "Derrick's my hero. ... He didn't even look scared. He didn't look worried. He knew what he was going to do."
Authorities were still trying to determine why Weise (search) went on his rampage Monday, which began at his grandfather's house and ended at the school. Nine people were killed, including five students, and seven were wounded before the gunman apparently shot himself.
High school students and staff were to meet for a half-day Thursday at the elementary school, though classes weren't to resume before next week. The high school building remains closed.
"The teachers want them to be able to see them. They're like family," said Kathryn Beaulieu, a board member. It will be the first time the students have all been together since the shooting, officials said. The school has an enrollment of about 300.
In its Thursday editions, The Washington Post reported that a bus driver for a health center said he drove Weise to Thief River Falls in June, where the boy was going voluntarily to a psychiatric ward.
The newspaper also cited a cultural coordinator at Red Lake Middle School who said Weise had been hospitalized at least once for suicidal tendencies and was taking the anti-depressant Prozac.
Authorities were investigating whether Weise, who dressed in black and wrote stories about zombies, may have posted messages on a neo-Nazi Web site expressing admiration for Adolf Hitler and using the handle "Todesengel" — German for "Angel of Death."
As details about the shooter's background emerged, one of the victims told another story of bravery amid the carnage.
At a news conference at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, N.D., family members said injured student Jeffrey May, 15, tried to protect two girls by stabbing Weise in the side with a pencil.
Weise shot him in the right cheek and the bullet lodged in his neck. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound teen suffered a stroke and can't move his left side, but he has been able to write notes to his family.
Doctors don't know if May will recover, but family members said he was breathing on his own, which they called a good sign.
Grant said she and Brun were working at the doors of Red Lake High School as usual on Monday. Three of the four doors were locked; the open door funneled students through a metal detector.
Grant described Weise stepping out of his grandfather's police truck — taken after the 16-year-old boy had killed the man and his companion, according to authorities — and sending two shotgun blasts into the air.
Just four years older than Weise, Grant had known him for years and recognized the 6-foot, 250-pound student at once. His black trench coat billowed open and Grant saw guns on the boy's belt.
She had no gun, no bulletproof vest and a little girl and a little boy at home. She had just begun working as a security guard in August.
Outside, the gunman tried one door, then another.
"He looked right at me. I made eye contact with him," Grant said. The boy quickly found the open door.
"He walked in and fired another shot and I was telling Derrick, 'Come on, let's go. Let's go, Derrick. Run. We need to save these kids, we need to do something.' And I radioed in 'There's a guy coming in the school and he's shooting and he has a gun.'"
"Derrick just sat there at his desk. ... He just kept staring at Jeff. I kept hollering for him to come with me. He wouldn't come. He just stayed there."
The noise drew students toward the front doors. Some thought maybe there was a fight, and they wanted to see, Grant said.
"I start yelling at them, 'Run! There's a guy with a gun here! Just run!' And then I took off to try to protect them," she said.
"I turned back a little bit, and you could see Derrick kind of getting up, going right toward Jeff," she said. "And then I heard two shots again."