Duluth Police: man shoots, kills aunt, uncle, cousins in murder-suicide
DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - Duluth Police say a man shot and killed his aunt, uncle, two cousins, and a family dog while they were all sleeping in the East Hillside neighborhood Wednesday.
Police Chief Mike Tusken shared the details during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
The victims have been identified as Riana Lou Barry, 44, Sean Christopher Barry, 47, Shiway Elizabeth Barry, 12, and Sadie Lucille Barry, 9, all of Duluth.
The suspect has been identified Brandon Taylor Cole–Skogstad, 29.
Just after 12:12 p.m. Wednesday, the Duluth Police Department responded to the report of an individual experiencing a mental health crisis.
The call had originated just after 11:18 a.m. in Hermantown as a welfare check.
Hermantown Police was dispatched to the 4100 block of Timber Lane Drive to check in on Cole-Skogstad. However, after a search, Hermantown Police were not able to locate or make contact with Cole-Skogstad.
After additional outreach, Hermantown Police contacted a family member who said Cole-Skogstad sent a message saying he intended to harm himself and other family members.
It is believed the message that had been sent to the family member was later posted on a public social media page, police said.
At that time, the Hermantown Police Department contacted the Duluth Police Department to tell them of the situation, and provided an address that Cole-Skogstad’s aunt and uncle owned on the 700 block of East 12th Street in Duluth.
Duluth Police officers had received additional information that Cole-Skogstad had access to a weapon.
At 12:29 p.m., Duluth Police officers approached the home on 7th Avenue E. and 12th Street, knocked on the door, and officers heard what they believed to be a single gunshot.
Duluth Police did a tactical retreat and requested mutual aid from the Superior Police Department, and the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office to assist with securing the scene.
Shortly after 3 p.m. Duluth Police were able to enter the home after using robots and drones to assist with the searching the premise.
Despite these efforts, police say areas of the home were unable to be secured through this method and had to be searched by members of the Duluth Police Department Tactical Team.
Officers found the bodies of the five people who died, including the victims, the suspect and a family dog.
After a preliminary investigation, Duluth Police believe that Cole-Skogstad is responsible for their deaths and his own.
A single weapon was found in close proximity to the suspect.
It was not immediately clear when the victims were shot.
Autopsy results are pending.
Both Police Departments from Hermantown and Duluth searched 911 call history to determine if there had been any previous calls indicating a pattern of behavior or concerns regarding the suspect.
They say there were no calls to indicate any previous concern.
“Incidents like these shake our sense of safety as a community and the region as a whole,” Chief Mike Tusken said. “In my 30 years of policing, I have never seen anything like this. Sometimes people forget that the officers and investigators responding to the scene have families too. This is devastating for them to respond to, to see, and to process afterwards. I cannot thank the members of our team enough for their service, and for their care for this community.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
If you or someone you know if experiencing a mental health crisis, you can reach a hotline by dialing 1-800-950-NAMI(6264).
Click here for more resources.
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