BEMIDJI, Minn. – The teenager who shot five fellow students to death at his high school had watched a movie about a school shooting with friends earlier this month — skipping ahead to some of the most violent scenes, a friend said Friday.
Jeff Weise (search) was also taking the anti-depressant Prozac following a suicide scare last summer, said Sky Grant, 16, a friend of Weise's since sixth grade.
Grant said Weise brought the 2003 movie "Elephant" to Grant's house on March 4, then skipped ahead to the parts of the movie that show two students planning and carrying out a school shooting.
The teens talked about the movie afterward, but Weise didn't say anything that made them think he planned to emulate the movie, Grant said. "It all seemed normal," he said.
Authorities said they don't know what motivated Weise, 16, to kill nine people before they believe he shot himself on Monday at Red Lake High School (search). The dead included a teacher and a security guard at the school; Weise's grandfather and his companion were killed earlier at the grandfather's house.
Grant and his mother, Gayle Downwind, said Weise was taken to a psychiatric ward in Thief River Falls (search) last summer after Weise frightened another friend with suicidal computer messages. Grant said he didn't know how long Weise stayed at the hospital.
Grant, who was taking Zoloft, said he and Weise talked in detail about anti-depressants. He said Weise told him he was taking 40 milligrams a day of Prozac (search): 20 in the morning, 20 at night.
"He was a lot more quiet. I wouldn't say any better," Grant said.
In October, the Food and Drug Administration ordered that all antidepressants carry "black box" warnings of an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children. Prozac is the only antidepressant found to be safe and effective for children.
In a number of online postings attributed to Weise, he wrote of depression and feelings of worthlessness. In a Jan. 4 blog posting, he wrote: "I should've taken the razor blade express last time around. ... Well, whatever, man. Maybe they've got another shuttle comin' around soon?"
Dr. David Fassler, an American Psychiatric Association trustee and child and adolescent psychiatrist in Burlington, Vt., said Prozac and other anti-depressants can be effective along with other treatment, such as therapy.
Fassler said daily dosage ranges from 10 to 60 milligrams, based on body size and composition and individual treatment plans. The severity of a child's depression is not a factor in determining dosage, he said.
Wakes had begun for some of the Red Lake victims, with the first funerals scheduled Saturday for Weise's grandfather, Daryl "Dash" Lussier, and his companion, Michelle Sigana. Gov. Tim Pawlenty was scheduled to attend.
The school isn't scheduled to reopen until next month.