Two Young Children Among the Victims of Duluth Murders-Suicide
Duluth, MN (KROC-AM News) - The deaths of five people, including two young children, in Duluth on Wednesday are being investigated as a multiple murder-suicide.
Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken held a news conference this afternoon to release information about the investigation into what he described as a "terribly tragic event." He says four of the victims were found dead from apparent gunshot wounds in their beds and it appears they had been shot while they were sleeping. The person responsible, 29-year-old Brandon Cole Skogstad of Hermantown, was also found dead in the house from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. Chief Tusken says a 9 mm handgun was found near his body.
The discovery of the slain family members occurred nearly 3 hours after Duluth police initially responded to a report of a man experiencing a mental health crisis. That man was Cole-Skogstad and he could not be located after a check at his residence in Hermantown. Chief Tusken says police then spoke with a family member who indicated Cole-Skogstad had sent a message saying "he intended to harm himself and other family members" that later was posted on social media.
Hermantown Police soon after informed Duluth Police about the home owned by Cole-Skogstad's aunt and uncle, which brought police officers to the home around 12:30 p.m. By that time, Tusken says information had been received that the man had access to a weapon. When officers knocked on the door to the home, they heard but they believed was a single gunshot, which prompted them to retreat while a perimeter was established.
A tactical team entered the residence around 3 PM after police used robots and drones to search as much of the home as possible. Chief Tusken says the officers found the bodies of the victims and the family dog. He identified them as 44-year-old Rianna Barry, 47-year-old Sean Barry, 12-year-old Shiway Barry, and 9-year-old Sadie Barry.
The police chief went on to say that in his 30 years of policing he has "never seen anything like this."
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