Duluth police identify 4 victims, suspect in murder-suicide

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Police in Duluth have ruled the case of five people found in a home Wednesday as a murder-suicide.

Thursday afternoon, a day after officers found the victims while responding to a welfare check, Duluth Police provided an update on the investigation.

The department said Hermantown police were told on Wednesday that Brandon Taylor Cole-Skogstad had sent a message saying he intended to harm himself and other family members. Duluth police were then notified and officers responded to the 700 block of East 12th Street.

When officers approached the home just before 12:30 p.m., they knocked and heard a single gunshot. Officers then waited, secured the scene and requested help from other agencies. Shortly after 3 p.m., police entered the home and found the five victims as well as a dead family dog.

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken called the incident an “unimaginable tragedy.”

RELATED: ‘Unimaginable tragedy:’ 5 found dead in Duluth home

The victims were identified as 9-year-old Sadie Lucille Barry, 12-year-old Shiway Elizabeth Barry, 44-year-old Riana Lou Barry and 47-year-old Sean Christopher Barry, as well as Cole-Skogstad, 29. Police said Cole-Skogstad was Riana’s and Sean’s nephew.

Police said they believe Cole-Skogstad shot the victims while they were sleeping. The department added that there were no calls regarding Cole-Skogstad that would’ve indicated any concerns.

“Incidents like these shake our sense of safety as a community and the region as a whole,” Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said. “In my 30 years of policing, I have never seen anything like this. 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.”

“On every level, this incident is deeply painful for our community,” Mayor Emily Larson said in a statement. “Especially impacted are the neighbors of East Hillside and first responders. Thank you to neighbors for taking good care of one another and for knowing the beautiful parts of the Barry family. Thank you to DPD for answering the call of public safety. I’m sorry for what you experienced, which is deeply traumatic. As a parent and member of a family, it is wrenching to consider what the Barry family might be feeling. There is only loss to every part of this story. To the Barry family: our community mourns with you and we share in your pain. Because your loss is our community’s loss.”

The investigation into the case remains active.

A GoFundMe for the family has been started.

Watch the full Duluth Police Department press conference below.

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