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Minnesota Man Allegedly Killed Aunt, Uncle And Cousins In Their Sleep

Police say Brandon Taylor Cole-Skogstad killed his aunt, Riana Lou Barry, his uncle, Sean Barry, and his cousins, Sadie Lucille Barry and Shiway Elizabeth Barry, in their sleep, then killed himself.

A suburban Neighborhood Street

A Minnesota man is accused of killing multiple relatives, including two children he'd called "angelic," in their sleep before dying by suicide. 

The Duluth Police Department “responded to the report of an individual experiencing a mental health crisis” shortly after noon on Wednesday, the police department stated in a press release.

They were contacted after the nearby Hermantown Police, who had been asked to make a welfare check on but were unable to locate Brandon Taylor Cole-Skogstad, 29. That department then “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.”

He had apparently posted a similar message on a “public social media page.”

In a since deleted Facebook post, according to Fox21, he wrote: “I have made the absolutely horrid choice in not only taking my life, but the lives of my aunt, Riana Lou Barry, my uncle Sean Barry, and my two sweet, beyond angelic cousins Sadie Lucille Barry and Shiway Elizabeth Barry.”

Less than 20 minutes after receiving the call from Hermantown — and after determining that Cole-Skogstad had access to a weapon — Duluth police approached the Barry home. But, when officers approached, they heard a gunshot and made a tactical retreat in order to clear the house. By 3:00 p.m., however, they entered the home — first with robots and drone assistance, and then in person.

Inside, “officers found a total of five bodies including the suspect and a family dog,” police wrote, adding that “after a preliminary investigation, Duluth Police believe that the suspect is responsible for the death of four victims and the family canine.”

The victims were Cole-Skogstad’s aunt, Riana Barry, 44, his uncle, Sean Barry, 47, and their two kids, Shiway, 12, and Sadie, 9. Police allege that Cole-Skogstad shot all of them while they were sleeping. 

“Officers believe that this incident is a murder-suicide,” police state. “A single weapon was found in close proximity to the suspect.”

In his Facebook post, Cole-Skogstad apparently wrote about struggling with mental health.

“I cannot fathom how I came to this decision, but I do know this. If there is a God sitting in heaven, I wish so much that he grant my family the most peaceful heavenly afterlife possible,” he wrote. “If God can truly forgive me, weather [sic] or not I ask for it. Weather or not I feel I am worthy, I only ask to tell them all sorry.”

A GoFundMe created for the slain family calls them "a truly special family who impacted the lives of so many of those around them.”

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