MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A tragedy has gripped the close-knit communities of Perham and Amor in Otter Tail County.
A 16-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy have both died as a result of a shooting. Police say it appears to be a murder-suicide, with one of the teens suffering a self-inflicted gun shot.
The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office said they received a call about shots fired at 30811 Twin Lake Road around 9:07 p.m. When they arrived, they found the two teens with gunshot wounds.
The boy has been identified by Sanford Medical Center in Fargo as Dylan Cox. The girl, Tabitha Belmonte, was a sophomore at Perham-Dent High School.
Belmonte was pronounced dead at the scene and Cox was airlifted to Sanford Hospital, where he later died.
The Sheriff’s Office said that the incident is under investigation with help from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
As a safety precaution, the Perham School District placed the schools on lockdown, so they could monitor who was coming in and out of the building. They had counselors at the school, as well.
Perham-Dent School District Superintendent Tamara Uselman says the middle school also received a threatening prank voicemail that police say was unrelated. Normally, that sort of call would send the school into lockdown, according to Uselman, but the school was already in lockdown.
Uselman says the school will keep counselors on hand through the week. She says Cox used to be a student at Perham High School, but had enrolled in another area school.
Those who knew Belmonte describe her as kind and determined, keeping up her grades as a teenage mother and even devoted herself as a member of the school speech team.
Belmonte’s family released this statement Tuesday:
“We are in shock and disbelief about this tragic event, which we do not understand. We thank you all for your sympathy and prayers, but request that the privacy of both families be respected as we grieve. Please pray for the souls of both children involved as well as baby Emma who has sadly been left behind!”
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Bruce Hagevik Reports