BIG LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — A charred chimney and smoldering ashes are all that remain of what had been a beautiful Mississippi riverfront home.

It’s where a well-known Osseo barbershop owner lived until the house was consumed by a raging fire, set by a man overcome with despair.

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“I just heard it when I came to work today,” said Cindy Krieg.

She is referring to the man who owned the business next door. George’s Barber Shop had been a fixture in downtown Osseo for nearly a century. Suddenly, a “closed” sign hangs in the window and bouquets of pretty flowers lay nearby.

The omen of sad news that is catching Kurt Beucler’s customers off guard.

John Thompson said as he came in for a haircut, “I’m shocked, really shocked. Somebody you know you don’t expect that to happen to.”

Kurt Beucler was the third generation family owner of George’s Barbershop, a business in the heart of downtown Osseo.

But on Monday, the 58-year old set fire to his rural Big Lake home. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they could do little to battle the raging flames when they were met by Beucler, holding a handgun.

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Beucler was an avid hunter and owned a large collection of hunting firearms and ammunition, which he secured in several steel gun safes. As the fire chewed through the home, the constant sound of popping explosions could be heard as the ammunition went off.

Deputies soon arrived and tried for nearly two hours to get Beucler to surrender and lay down the gun. But he walked down to a tree near the riverbank and fired a single shot. He would die a few hours later after being rushed to the nearby Monticello Hospital.

Osseo businesswoman Krieg explained, “I know he just went through a divorce a year ago, but he never got personal and talked about things.”

Others spoke of a jovial man who seemed never without his black lab, Rascal. But add that Beucler never spoke of any serious troubles or depression.

“He was always incredibly upbeat, willing to tell a joke or be the same Kurt that everyone’s known forever and ever,” Dr. Mark Schulz, a local chiropractor and Osseo councilman.

Suddenly and without an explanation, an uncomfortable tragedy is spreading sadness to so many.

“It’s a big loss for our community,” Schulz said.

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