A divorced father who fatally shot his visiting 9-year-old daughter and then turned the handgun on himself over the weekend in his Rochester home had been struggling for years with psychological problems, police said Tuesday.
Bradley J. Higgins, 49, was identified by police Tuesday as the father and Mackenzie as the daughter who died in the murder-suicide Sunday in the basement of the home in the 4500 block of 5th NW.
Family members told police that Higgins had lived with paranoid schizophrenia for at least the past 10 years, said Lt. Casey Moilanen.
Moilanen added that police have had a number of contacts with him since 2007 for calls relating to his mental stability.
In 2012, he was a suspect in threats that were made, but “nothing … that was serious in nature” requiring an arrest, the lieutenant added. “You never know what’s going to happen with some people who are paranoid,” Moilanen said. “You don’t jump … from that to thinking he’s going to start killing people.”
Moilanen said police are trying to determine how the father gained access to the gun.
Divorced for the past four years, Bradley Higgins was living in the home as a tenant of his brother since mid-October, the lieutenant said. The home had been owned by the men’s father.
Higgins’ brother, sister-in-law and their three children were upstairs at the time of the shooting but were not harmed.
Mackenzie’s mother lived elsewhere in Rochester and the girl was attending school in Stewartville, according to the lieutenant.
The bodies of the father and daughter were found when the girl’s mother came to pick up Mackenzie late that afternoon, police said.