Four people, including two children, were found dead at a home in Minnesota on Sunday in what authorities called a “domestic” incident.
Police in Minneapolis had earlier called it a “hostage situation” after authorities failed to reach a gunman, identified as an adult male, who remained inside the home.
A police spokesman, John Elder, said that officers responding to a report of shots fired Sunday morning found two preteen boys who had been struck by gunfire outside a home south of central Minneapolis.
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During an earlier briefing, Elder said the kids had been playing in the snow when they were shot, though he later clarified that he wasn’t sure what they were doing outside.
“There’s no way someone can come up with a good explanation for this,” Elder said. “This is horrific. This is a tragedy.”
When the officers heard gunfire within the home, they retrieved the children’s bodies without cover and “at their own peril,” Elder said.
The children were later declared dead inside the officers’ squad cars, he said.
Neighbors were evacuated and hostage negotiators and a SWAT team were dispatched to the scene, Elder said, adding that authorities used a robot with a camera to try and better assess what was happening inside the home.
After “numerous” unsuccessful attempts to reach the gunman, tactical officers entered the home at 2 p.m., he said. They found a dead adult man, believed to be the suspect, and a woman who had also been fatally shot.
Elder said it appeared the woman was struck by the gunfire heard by officers earlier.
The relationship between the victims and the suspect was unclear. Elder did not provide additional details about why police believe it was a domestic violence-related.