According to authorities, a Minnesota man confessed on Facebook. He then shot and killed four family members, two of which were children, before turning the gun against himself.
Brandon Taylor Cole Skogstad, 29 wrote Wednesday. “I have made the absolutely horrid choice in not only taking my life, but the lives of my aunt … uncle … and my two sweet, beyond angelic cousins,” according to the post, which was still active on Thursday.
Investigators determined the shootings were murder-suicide.
Cole-Skogstad was experiencing a mental health episode, the Duluth Police Department said late Thursday in a statement. A family member requested a welfare check on Cole-Skogstad, saying he had threatened family members online, police said.
When officers responded to Cole-Skogstad’s home in Hermantown, there was no one there, police said. The local police contacted the Duluth Police Department, and a team of officers were sent to the home of Cole-Skogstad’s aunt and uncle.
“Duluth Police officers approached the home, knocked on the door and officers heard what they believed to be a single gunshot,” the department’s statement said.
When officers later secured entry into the home, the found the bodies of Cole-Skogstad, his uncle, Sean Christopher Barry, 47, his aunt, Riana Lou Barry, 44, Shiway Elizabeth Barry, 12, and Sadie Lucille Barry, 9, the department said. The family dog had also been killed.
“Incidents like these shake our sense of safety as a community and the region as a whole,” Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said. “In my 30 years of policing, I have never seen anything like this.
“Sometimes people forget to mention that the officers and investigators who respond to a scene have their families as well. It is difficult for them to respond, to see, or to process afterward.” he said.
In his Facebook entry, Cole-Skogstad said, “I am 29 and have been suffering from mental illness for many years. I almost didn’t seek help as I believed I wasn’t worthy. I would love to go back and make better decisions in my life. I refuse to be hounded by my peers.
“I wish I could have just accepted the love I was given by my family I loved so much, but couldn’t express it. I wish I didn’t spread my poisonous mentality onto my most cherished and beloved person ever Shiway Elizabeth Barry.”
According to police, the investigation is ongoing.