MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A family of five, including three children, died of apparent gunshot wounds in what authorities believe was a murder-suicide in an affluent Minneapolis suburb, police said Friday, but added that they still don't know for sure who did the shooting.
Authorities were sent to the lakeside home of Brian and Karen Short in Greenwood on Thursday after the family hadn't been seen in days and a co-worker of the father asked police to check on them. Officers found five bodies inside — the couple and their three teenage children.
The South Lake Minnetonka Police Department said all five family members died of apparent gunshot wounds. Four were found in their bedrooms. The husband, who was the children's father, was found in the lower-level garage, authorities said.
Police said at this point, they cannot say definitively who shot whom. A weapon they believe was used was found at the scene.
The children had not been in school since classes resumed Tuesday, interim Police Chief Mike Siitari said Thursday. Calling the deaths "an unspeakable tragedy," he said it probably would take investigators several days to finish processing "a complex crime scene."
Cole Short, 17, Madison Short, 15, and Brooklyn Short, 14, had attended Minnetonka High School, where counseling was available Friday for students struggling with the deaths.
"This is an incredibly difficult time for our school community," Principal Jeffrey Erickson said in a letter to parents.
Erickson told The Associated Press on Friday the school of 3,100 students is "going through a lot of grief."
"I would certainly say this has impacted everybody in the building," Erickson said. "It's just the first day and our goal of day one was simply supporting students."
Greenwood, a village of about 700 people, sits on the south side of Lake Minnetonka. The Shorts bought the home on St. Alban's Bay in 2011 for $2 million, Hennepin County property tax records show.
Brian Short was the founder of AllNurses.com, a social networking site for nurses. A biography posted there described him as an entrepreneur who built and launched the website when he was a nursing student and couldn't find nursing-related information online.
An administrator of AllNurses.com posted a notice Thursday night saying the family had been killed and calling it "a very tragic loss for the extended families, friends, co-workers, and this nursing community." Another statement promised, "Please be assured that we will continue to serve our devoted network of nursing professionals during this difficult time."
A man who answered the phone at AllNurses.com Friday declined to comment.
Short told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal in 2012 that he started AllNurses.com in 1994 to provide a resource to fellow medical professionals. Originally just a hobby, the website — which offers a forum for nurses to chat and a platform to post articles — chipped away at his job as a critical care nurse in Minneapolis until he took on the chief executive role full-time.
He told the Star Tribune in 2014 that he ran the operation out of his house until a year earlier. He had four staff people as of a year ago. He said the site was drawing 4 million unique visitors per month, with 150,000 unique users every day. And he said he had turned down 50 buyout offers in the past 10 years.
"Nurses are unique — it's a tough job. They love coming to the site to decompress and get some support," he said.
AllNurses.com was sued for defamation in federal court in New Jersey earlier this year by a nursing test preparation company. East Coast Test Prep alleged that anonymous posters were paid by Short's website to defame the company. The case was recently ordered transferred to Minnesota.
Associated Press writers Kyle Potter in St. Paul and Jeff Baenen in Minneapolis contributed to this report.