The father of a Minnesota family found dead in an apparent murder-suicide was the one who shot and killed his three children, his wife and then himself, according to a published report.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, citing an official close to the investigation, reported Friday that Brian Short, the 45-year-old home owner, grabbed a shotgun and stormed into the bedrooms of his three teenage children and killed them. Short’s wife, Karen, heard the noise and began to call the police before Short tracked her down in another bedroom and shot her in the head, the newspaper reports.
Short, then went into the garage and turned the gun on himself, according to the Star Tribune.
South Lake Minnetonka Police Chief Mike Siitari confirmed to reporters on Friday that a shotgun was found in the house, but no official confirmation of the victims’ identities has been made. Siitari also declined to talk about a possible motive.
Sources who described the sequence of the murders told the newspaper that Short had financial and mental health issues.
The bodies were found on Thursday when South Lake Minnetonka police conducted a welfare check on the family at the Greenwood house after no one had heard from them in a few days, Siitari told The Associated Press. A co-worker of the father had asked police to check on the family, he said. The children weren’t seen in school for at least two days.
Police have yet to confirm the identities of the victims, but a posting on the father’s work website identified Brian and Karen Short as the adult victims. Brian Short launched the site AllNurses.com, a resource portal for nurses. An online biography on the website said Short lived outside Minneapolis with his wife and three children. The biography describes Short as a one-time nursing student and entrepreneur who built and launched the website in the late 1990s when he couldn't find nursing-related information online.
Siitari said Thursday the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office was processing a "complex crime scene."
"Obviously it's an extremely tragic event and it's going to take some time to sort through," he said.
The Star Tribune reports Short was facing a lawsuit from a New Jersey-based company. But it was unclear how much of a threat it posed to him financially. Archive Test Prep’s lawsuit alleges that AllNurses.com didn’t delete inflammatory comments from its website and was sending business to another competitor.
A couple of the eldest teen’s friends told the newspaper that he had told the family was planning to sell the house, located near Lake Minnetonka’s St. Albans Bay.
The principal of Minnetonka High School, where the teens attended, addressed the tragedy in a letter to parents.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for our school community," Principal Jeffrey Erickson said in the letter.
Erickson told The Associated Press on Friday the school of 3,100 students is "going through a lot of grief."
"I would certainly say this has impacted everybody in the building," Erickson said. "It's just the first day and our goal of day one was simply supporting students."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.