As the rest of the country marks Suicide Prevention Month, the suburb of Greenwood, Minnesota has been scarred by the discovery of five bodies bearing signs of traumatic injuries in a Greenwood home. The five bodies are all members of the same family and are believed to have been killed in a murder-suicide.
Dead are Brian Short and his wife Karen, both of whom were in their forties, and their three children, Cole, Madison, and Brooklyn, aged 17, 15, and 14. Police had initially declined to provide details of how they died but the gruesome story slowly unfolded. Apparently Brian Short, a former nurse and businessman, had shot and killed his three children as they lay sleeping in their bedrooms. His wife attempted to call 911 but Short tracked her to another bedroom and shot her. He then went into the garage and shot himself.
While police declined to discuss potential motives for Brian Short's actions, one source told reporters that the killings were "unspeakable" and that Short was apparently suffering from financial and mental health problems. Records indicate that he was the litigant in a federal lawsuit filed by a New Jersey-based company and that they were already planning to move out of their expensive home as a result. No suicide note had been left behind and neighbours are still speculating on what could have driven Brian Short, a man they all described as congenial, to do such a thing. Active on Facebook and Twitter, Short often provided details of his family including snapshots of his daughter's soccer games and even pictures of the family dog.
On the nursing site started by Brian Short, the notice of their deaths is still posted. "It is with great regret and a very heavy heart that I have to share some very sad news with you," the notice read. "There is no easy way to say this. We just found out this afternoon that Brian and his family have passed away. The news is calling it an apparent murder-suicide, but this has not been verified by the authorities and details have not yet been released. No matter what the details are, the results are still the same," the notice continued, "A very tragic loss for the extended families, friends, co-workers, and this nursing community."
Friends and neighbours of the Shorts were quick to tell media of their own shock and grief over the deaths. Toni Plante, whose daughter went to school with the youngest Short daughter had texted Karen Short when she saw that Brooklyn Short had been away the first day of school. She received no response. "This is just too sad," she said. "They were the nicest people in the world. There was nothing snooty about them at all. They were just down to earth."
Police are still investigating.