Grief counselor on hand after shooting spree

Published 9:43 am Monday, November 26, 2012

NEW TOWN, N.D. — A grief counselor who provided support to a Minnesota reservation following a deadly shooting spree and victims of the Oklahoma City bombing is in New Town to help the community deal with the death of four residents.

Jacqueline Gray has been on hand since Wednesday, offering grief support following the deaths of Martha Johnson, 64, and three of her grandchildren — Benjamin Schuster, 13, Julia Schuster, 10, and Luke Schuster, 6 — on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

Police described Kalcie Eagle, 21, who killed himself the same day as the shootings, as a person of interest. Eagle lived a block from Martha Johnson.

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Gray is associate director of indigenous programs at the Center for Rural Health and the Department of Pathology at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She previously offered grief counseling at Minnesota’s Red Lake Reservation after 10 people were killed in 2005, and after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people.

“There are things that are the same and things that are different,” Gray said of the concerns people have in New Town compared with the concerns at previous tragedies.

“I think parents are concerned about their kids dealing with a classmate who has died, and also worried about dangers that might remain,” she said.

The FBI, which has is handling the investigation because it happened on a reservation, has said community members are no longer in danger.

The Fort Berthold Reservation is home to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, who are known as the Three Affiliated Tribes.