Sarah Mitzuk, 32, described as a friendly and involved mother, was a grief counselor who ran distance races. Her husband, Mike, 34, who owned a tattoo parlor in White Bear Lake, bought bulletproof vests for U.S. troops fighting overseas.
Friends said the outgoing Hugo couple seemed happy together, but Tuesday morning they were found shot dead in an apparent murder-suicide. Sarah's father, friends said, discovered the scene and found their 4-year-old son, Michael, unharmed when he arrived at the townhouse before 8 a.m. to care for the boy.
The deaths remain under investigation, said Washington County Sheriff Bill Hutton. But he also said that authorities had no reason to believe anyone other than the Mitzuks was involved.
One body was found in an upstairs bedroom, another in an upstairs bathroom, Hutton said.
"She was a kind person," said Kim Weidt, a friend of Sarah's who ran with her in a 5K race in Minneapolis in September. "She was always willing to listen. She was one of those people who was upbeat."
Public records show that the Mitzuks bought their townhouse at 13435 Europa Court N. in the Creekview subdivision in 2004. Hutton said that the Sheriff's Office, which contracts with the city of Hugo for policing, had one minor call to the residence that was unrelated to the shootings.
Weidt, who stood crying a few blocks from the shooting scene, said her family knew both Sarah and Mike and didn't see any trouble between them. Sarah recently had completed a master's degree in psychology and had volunteered for the Relay for Life cancer benefit, she said. Weidt's family described Mike as a "decent guy" and good father.
Another of Sarah's friends, Julie Ecklund Kramer, said she admired how Sarah juggled motherhood with work and hobbies. "She was easy to know, always friendly and kind," Kramer said. "She was devoted to her son and husband. They seemed to be a very happy family."
Friends also said that Sarah might have been pregnant.
White Bear Lake business owner Donna Whitman said she had known Mike since he opened Mitzy's Tattoos about eight years ago. "Mike is a hell of a nice guy. What do you say?" she said. "He was always friendly. I never saw any problems."
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating. The bodies were taken to a medical examiner, Hutton said.
Kevin Giles • 612-673-4432 Jim Anderson • 612-673-7199