MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A father accused of kidnapping his two young sons could face attempted homicide charges.

On Thursday morning, an Amber Alert was issued for two brothers, 2-year-old Dexter and 4-year-old Jason Ernst.

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Their father, 27-year-old Jay Ernst, is now in custody.

Authorities say the boys’ father made suicidal statements to family members in the days leading up to the kidnapping.

Lakeville police say a family member called them Thursday morning and reported Ernst tried to kill himself and his children.

They say that family members found Ernst sitting inside of a running vehicle with his two children, in a closed garage.

A hose was connected to the exhaust pipe and routed inside of the car.

Before officers arrived at the home, Ernst left with both sons in the vehicle.

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An amber alert was issued at 4:30 a.m.

A short time later, Burnsville police spotted the suspect’s car at Interstate 35E and County Road 42.

Officers arrested Ernst and say the children are OK and safe.

Sue Abderholden, of National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota, says it’s extremely rare that someone who is suicidal would also try to take other lives at the same time.

“Family members need to take suicide warnings very seriously,” she said. “Don’t wait, don’t think this mood will pass.”

Lakeview police say potential charges in the case against Ernst include attempted homicide.

Ernst has criminal history dating back to 2005, and it includes misdemeanor traffic, theft and property damage convictions.

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Ernst’s two boys are staying with a relative, officials say.