Public likely not at risk, police say, but shaken neighbors are wary.
Four tricycles, two wagons and a soccer ball sat motionless under the deck. The swing set was empty. The sound of children's voices -- a constant at this Brooklyn Park home day care -- was replaced Tuesday by the idle hum of police cars parked in front.
"This is a quiet neighborhood, where usually you hear only the wind, not gunshots and screams," neighbor Linda Huntington said the day after 59-year-old DeLois Brown and her elderly parents were shot to death in Brown's home.
No arrests had been made as of late Tuesday as authorities continued their search for a suspect who witnesses said fled on bicycle from 8117 College Park Drive. Brooklyn Park police Inspector Todd Milburn offered few details and no motive but again stressed that the public is not believed to be at risk.
The cluster at the school-bus stop at the corner -- just two doors from Brown's split-level home, which was still cordoned off by yellow police tape -- suggested that residents felt otherwise.
"All the moms were out there with their children today," said Candace Brueggen, 39, who waited for the bus with her daughter. "Until they catch the person, I don't know that anybody can feel comfortable."
Huntington, 57, who took in Brown's 4-month-old boxer puppy, Gracie, after the shootings, last spoke to Brown on Sunday. She said she talked to her daily -- just two neighbors leaning over a chain-link fence to chat. They discussed Brown's recent knee surgery, the deck ramp Brown had built for her father, who used a wheelchair, and the recent loss of Brown's husband, who died this year of pneumonia.
"After her husband died, she asked me to show her how to mow the lawn," Huntington said. "She was a determined woman, a perfect role model for those little children she adored."
She cared for 'young and old'
Brown's pastor, Connell Lewis of the Church of Minneapolis near Dinkytown, described Brown as a pillar of his ministry, "someone who cared for the young and old."
Eight days ago, Brown's parents, Clover Bolden, 81, and James Henry Bolden, 83, moved from East St. Louis, Ill., to live with Brown. The three were home when a mother dropped off her daughter just before 6:30 Monday morning for day care. The woman noticed a man walking outside and became suspicious. She told police she called Brown to alert her. The phone went dead mid-conversation.
The woman returned to the house to find the three adults shot to death. She retrieved her child, who was unharmed, and called for help.
Witnesses told police they saw a black man, in his 20s and wearing a blue-jeans jacket over a gray hooded sweatshirt, riding away on a BMX bicycle. He may have ridden beyond a dead-end street, a block away, and over a grassy hill that leads to a Wal-Mart, where several surveillance cameras line the parking lot.
The SWAT teams and K-9 units that scoured neighborhoods, a quarry and wooded areas near the home and Hennepin Technical College on Monday were not as obvious Tuesday. But police continued to review tips.
Linda Huntington said she had just returned home from taking her son to the airport, around 6:15 a.m. Monday, when she began to wash her Easter-meal dishes. She never heard shots or any scream. Her husband, Jim, 60, says the neighborhood "will never be the same."
A bouquet of flowers, wrapped in cellophane, lay on the ground by Brown's mail box. Resting nearby was a painting of flowers.
"Why would anyone be so angry that they would take a life?" Linda Huntington asked. "But, especially, her life?"
Paul Levy • 612-673-4419