LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (WCCO) – A Morrison County man told police that he shot and killed two people breaking into his home in central Minnesota, authorities say.
The Morrison County Sheriff’s Office said officers met 64-year-old Byron David Smith at his home on the 14000 block of Elm Street, north of Little Falls, Minn., at about 1 p.m. Nov. 23.
Smith told deputies he had shot and killed two people breaking into his home the day before – Nov. 22 – at about noon. Deputies then located the bodies of 17-year-old Nicolas Brady and 18-year-old Halie Kifer in the basement of Smith’s home. The two teens were cousins.
Friends of Kifer and Brady say they knew something was wrong, and when word spread on social media about the discovery of two bodies – their fears became reality.
Kifer was on the dive team and a gymnast at Little Falls High School. Her friend Stephanie Cluever remembers her fondly.
“She was a great role model, she always knows how to make people smile. She’s funny, she’s caring. She’s just amazing,” Cluever said.
Brady was, according to friend Devin Robbins, a big brother to all his friends; always giving, always willing to listen.
“He’d help anybody who needs help. He’d give the shirt off his back, he’d be there whenever you’re in trouble,” Robbins said.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said information discovered during the investigation has led the BCA to arrest Byron Smith for second-degree murder. Formal charges are pending with the Morrison County Attorney’s Office.
Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said that while everyone has the right to defend themselves in their homes – even with deadly force if necessary – details of this case led deputies to believe that Smith went beyond that point.
More details of the investigation will be released after Smith’s initial court appearance on Monday.
A press conference will be held at the Morrison County Government Center, Meeting Room 1, at 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26.