DULUTH, Minn. (WCCO) — Duluth police identified the five family members killed Wednesday in what they say was a murder-suicide. Two of the victims were children.
Five bodies were found in a home on the 700 block of East 12th Street in the city’s East Hillside neighborhood. A dog was also found dead inside the home.
According to investigators, officers in Duluth responded at 12:12 p.m. to the report of an individual experiencing a mental health crisis. The call originated in Hermantown as a welfare check for 29-year-old Brandon Taylor Cole-Skogstad, but police there were unable to locate him.
“After additional outreach, Hermantown Police made contact with a family member who provided information that Cole-Skogstad had sent a message saying that he intended to harm himself and other family members. It is believed that the message that had been sent to the family member was later posted on a public social media page,” police said in an update Thursday.
Police Update On Family Members Found Dead In Duluth Home
Hermantown police then contacted Duluth police, providing an address where Cole-Skogstad’s aunt and uncle lived on East 12th Street. When police arrived and knocked at the door shortly before 12:30 p.m., officers heard a single gunshot.
After requesting mutual aid, police entered the home at 3 p.m. and discovered the bodies of the victims, Cole-Skogstad and a dog.
Police say they believe Cole-Skogstad is responsible for the deaths of the four victims and the family dog. Police believe he shot and killed them while they were sleeping. A handgun was found near the suspect’s body.
“Both Police Departments from Hermantown and Duluth searched 911 call history to determine if there had been any previous calls indicating a pattern of behavior or concerns regarding the suspect. There were no calls to indicate any previous concern,” police said.
The victims are identified as 44-year-old Riana Lou Barry, 47-year-old Sean Christopher Barry, 12-year-old Shiway Elizabeth Barry and 9-year-old Sadie Lucille Barry. Cole-Skogstad was the nephew of the two adults victims and a cousin to the girls.
Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said that in his 30 years of policing, he’s never seen anything like this.
“Incidents like these shake our sense of safety as a community and the region as a whole,” Tusken said. “Sometimes people forget that the officers and investigators responding to the scene have families too. This is devastating for them to respond to, to see, and to process afterwards. I cannot thank the members of our team enough for their service, and for their care for this community.”
The loss of the family is also being felt in the community. Neighbor Sean Smith said that while he didn’t know the Barrys personally, he’d often see them outside with their dog. He recently bought Girl Scout cookies from the family.
“You know, they were part of the neighborhood,” he said.
Because the deaths are affecting many in the Duluth community, the city is providing counseling for all of the officers who responded to the home and to those who knew the Barrys.
The case remains under investigation.
Mental Health Resources: Crisis services are available around the clock if you or someone you care about is having a mental health crisis. Call **CRISIS (**274747) from a cell phone to talk to a team of professionals who can help you. Text “MN” to 741741. More info here.
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Minnesota also recommends people search for a provider at Fast-Tracker, a healthcare resource developed by the Minnesota Mental Health Community Foundation. This site also offers information on how to reach suicide prevention and crisis hotlines. More on finding the right therapists here.