Two brothers died in an apparent murder-suicide Tuesday afternoon in the midst of a family New Year’s holiday party in White Bear Township.
A SWAT team of Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call of shots fired inside a home in the 5400 block of Centerville Road around 3:45 p.m. They arrived and found people fleeing the premises, said Cmdr. John Eastham.
Eastham would not comment on the nature of the shooting nor confirm the victim’s relationship to the suspect. He said the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office would determine the causes of death.
A 911 caller told dispatchers his uncle had shot his father, who was bleeding inside the home, according to emergency audio. At least six people were inside at the time, including children.
According to the dispatch audio, another witness told police the suspect was armed with a shotgun, rifle and handgun. The suspect reportedly shot his brother, then himself.
The SWAT team attempted to communicate by phone and loudspeaker with the gunman, later identified on the audio as 56-year-old Lee Klimek. Eventually, after receiving no response, officers swept the property and found the men dead inside.
Two close relatives identified the slain brother in detailed Facebook postings as Larry Klimek.
“This horrifying tragedy happened in front of us this afternoon while we were celebrating New Year’s,” wrote one of the relatives, John Cunningham.” We are still all in shock that this has happened in our family.”
Stephanie Klimek described Lee Klimek as “my estranged uncle.” She added that the gathering was her grandmother’s annual New Year’s pot luck.
“Yes, that was my dad,” she wrote in reference to Larry Klimek. “He didn’t deserve this. He was an amazing family man, fun guy.”
No gunfire was exchanged with law enforcement during the incident, and no surviving individuals were injured.
While authorities declined to identify the men, county property records show that Klimek’s 76-year-old mother owns the home and that Lee Klimek is listed as a resident at that address.
A neighbor confirmed that the mother and Lee Klimek were the sole occupants of the house, which reportedly has been owned by the family for more than 40 years. White Bear Township is east of North Oaks and encompasses the city of White Bear Lake.
Both the Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were investigating the shooting.