A man and two teenagers died early Friday in a quiet south Minneapolis neighborhood in what police described as a domestic homicide.
The man and a boy and girl in their early teens were shot and killed and a woman was badly wounded in the shootings, police said. She was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where her condition was unknown late Friday.
Police say they are not looking for suspects and that there is no threat to the public, but would not say whether the deaths were the result of murder-suicide. It was, however, likely domestic, police said.
The shootings occurred at 7:10 a.m. in an apartment at 5430 34th Av. S. in an area of the Wenonah neighborhood that’s rarely visited by violent crime. A resident called 911 to report the sound of gunfire and found that several bullets had struck a nearby apartment, according to scanner reports.
“Shots came from inside the apartment,” an officer can be heard telling dispatchers, according to scanner reports.
Officers arrived to find four people shot and provided medical care until paramedics arrived. The man and teenagers were pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators and police chaplains remained on the scene for much of the day, and a pair of vehicles were towed away. The bodies were removed eight hours after the incident.
Police said the crime scene involves two apartments on the second floor. The victims were all found in one apartment, although the relationship among the three is unclear.
Neighbors described the man who lived in the apartment as a carpet layer who kept to himself. Records show that a 39-year-old building resident owns a nearby flooring business. His Facebook page, which says he is native to Ecuador, features photos of a recent vacation with two teenage children. Court records show he has no serious offenses in Minnesota. The vehicles towed from the scene belong to the man and a 35-year-old woman who lives in Bloomington. Records show the two once lived in a nearby house before they were evicted in 2014.
The names of the victims and their cause of death will be released by the Hennepin County medical examiner. The office declined to confirm the man’s name Friday.
People who were near the nondescript apartment building across from Riverside Free Church say they heard nothing leading up to the shootings. Several residents emerged from their apartments asking reporters what happened. They didn’t hear shots or a struggle, which some attributed to sound mitigation efforts by the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which insulated the building about 15 years ago to limit noise from flights coming into Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
The last homicide in the neighborhood, which is south of Lake Nokomis, happened in 2012, department records show.
Neighbors were abuzz about the tragedy in nearby businesses early Friday, informing locals as they stopped in a next-door diner for breakfast or for an oil change across the street.
Christine Boos, who lives a few blocks down from the victims’ building, said many neighbors know one another and don’t spend time worrying about crime.
“People just don’t think about that kind of thing here,” said Boos, 43, who was born and raised in the Nokomis neighborhood and stayed to raise her daughter there. “Most people who are from here never leave.”
On Friday, Gov. Mark Dayton issued a proclamation declaring October Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Interstate 35W and Lowry Avenue bridges will be lit purple on Saturday to honor the state’s survivors and victims of intimate-partner violence.
“This year our focus is on community conversations,” said Liz Richards, executive director of the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women. “We are too often silent when it comes to speaking about domestic violence to our children, our loved ones, our neighbors and our co-workers.”
At least 100 women have been killed by a current or former intimate partner in Minnesota in the past five years. In 2015, at least 34 people died in domestic violence in Minnesota. At least 10 people in the state have been killed in domestic violence in 2016. Victims include Trisha Nelson, killed in a Plymouth intersection, and St. Paul’s Ashley Hasti, whose estranged husband shot her and then went on to gun down a professor on the UCLA campus.
Officers from the police department’s Third Precinct will be in the neighborhood Saturday talking with residents and distributing information about domestic violence in the area. Anybody who thinks they are in an unsafe relationship is encouraged to call 911 or the Domestic Abuse Project at 612-874-7063.
Anybody with information about the shootings can text a tip to 847411 or call MPD tip line at 612-692-8477.