The Actual Victim

Survivor of Red Lake shootings looking forward to school:

Read about what’s happened to one of the Red Lake survivors…

Steven Cobenais, 15, lost an eye and suffered a severe brain injury but didn’t lose his sense of humor. Doctors predicted he’d face a life of paralysis and severe mental incapacity, but he has beaten the odds. He’s walking and hopes to learn to drive, though doctors aren’t sure how far he’ll progress and his parents say he has changed.

Cobenais told the station he remembered gunman Jeff Weise as a “goth” and “weird,” but didn’t know the 16-year-old well and had no idea why Weise targeted him.

“He asked me if I believe in God, and I said ‘Yeah,’ and he shot me,” he recalled.

Cobenais’ parents never left his bedside at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, N.D. When they made it back home to the Red Lake Indian Reservation, they found their home had been vandalized and many of his most treasured possessions had been stolen.

“All my games, and clothes,” he said.

His father lost his summer job after Cobenais had a seizure in June. Because of the vandalism and expenses the family gave up their home and moved in with Steven’s grandmother.

Cobenais still faces two more major reconstructive operations: one to put a metal plate in his head and one to put in a prosthetic eye.

And some people have the nerve to say Jeff Weise is a victim.

A fund has been set up to help the Cobenais family with their expenses. Donations can be mailed to: Steven Cobenais Fund, Deerwood Bank, P.O. Box 1278, Bemidji, MN 56607

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