DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A man killed his aunt and uncle, two young cousins and their dog while they slept, then later killed himself at their Minnesota home after posting on Facebook that he had made “the absolutely horrid choice” to do so, police said Thursday.
Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said at a news conference that Brandon Taylor Cole-Skogstad, 29, killed his relatives in their beds sometime Tuesday night, then shot himself as police knocked on the door around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Cole-Skogstad made his Facebook post about an hour earlier, saying he had “suffered many years of mental illness” but that he “almost never sought out help because I felt I never deserved it.” Tusken confirmed the authenticity of the post.
Officers went to check on Cole-Skogstad late Wednesday morning at his home in Hermantown after a family member received a message from him saying he intended to harm himself and other family members, Tusken said. Hermantown police then asked Tusken’s department to check on his relatives in nearby Duluth.
Tusken identified the victims as Riana Lou Barry, 44; Sean Christopher Barry, 47; Shiway Elizabeth Barry, 12; and Sadie Lucille Barry, 9. He said they had been shot, and that, police found a 9 mm handgun near Cole-Skogstad’s body.
“It is a terribly traumatic event. … We all have really heavy hearts,” Tusken said.
Police used a drone and robot to investigate before tactical officers entered the home at 3 p.m., about 2 1/2 hours after hearing the shot.
Cole-Skogstad had stayed at the family’s home previously, the chief said, but he offered no information on what precipitated the killings. Duluth and Hermantown police checked 911 logs but found no calls indicating any concerns about the man, he said.
Duluth is a city of nearly 87,000 that’s about 150 miles (241 kilometers) north of Minneapolis, on the shore of Lake Superior. The chief said he had never seen four victims in a homicide case in his 30 years on the force.
The spelling of Brandon Taylor Cole-Skogstad’s last name has been corrected in one instance.