Lake Minnetonka family died of gunshot wounds, police looking for motive

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The family-of-five who died in an apparent murder-suicide in a home at Lake Minnetonka all died of gunshot wounds, authorities have confirmed, and that a shotgun was found at the scene.

In a press conference given Friday afternoon, South Lake Minnetonka Interim Police Chief Mike Siitari said the two adults and their three children found dead Thursday in Greenwood had all been shot.

Police have still not confirmed the name of the family involved, but it has been widely reported that they are Brian and Karen Short, and their teenage children Cole, Madison and Brooklyn.

MPR reports that a shotgun had been recovered, but Siitari has not revealed who police believe to be responsible for pulling the trigger. This is despite the Star Tribune, citing "sources," reporting on Friday that the father is thought to have carried out the killings.

The police chief did however say that Brian Short's internet business, Allnurses.com, would be an area they will investigate, as they try to establish a motive for the deaths, FOX 9's Paul Blume reports.

Siitari revealed that Karen Short and the three children were found slain in their bedrooms, while the body of Brian Short was found in a lower level garage.

MPR reports that no notes were recovered at the scene.

Local community in shock over deaths

Residents on the south shore of Lake Minnetonka have been shocked by the discovery, which was made when concerns were raised that the family had not been seen for a couple of days.

Authorities say the investigation at the scene is "complex" and could take several days, with Siitari describing it as an "unspeakable tragedy."

Minnetonka High School has brought in grief counselors to speak with students who were dealt the shocking news that their classmates had passed away, KARE 11 reports.

In a letter to parents, Principal Jeffrey Erickson said the "school community is devastated," and urged parents worried about their children to contact the guidance office.

The identity of the family became more widely known Thursday evening when Allnurses.com announced in a Facebook post that Brian Short, who founded the company, had died along with his family.

"No matter what the details are, the results are still the same…..a very tragic loss for the extended families, friends, co-workers, and this nursing community," the post says.

Short, a nurse who had formerly worked at Hennepin County Medical Center, created Allnurses in 1997. The website calls itself the largest online nursing community in the world.

According to Hennepin County property records, he and his wife bought their home on Channel Drive in 2011.

The Star Tribune spoke with neighbors and friends of the Shorts, who in the hours after the news were still trying to cope.

"I can’t even fathom it," Kathy Lausche, who became friends with the family when they lived in Lakeville, told the newspaper. "They were just your normal, typical family ... their lives revolved around their kids."

Siblings of Brian and Karen told the paper the family wasn't ready to discuss what had happened.

On Twitter, friends of the children offered brief memorials.

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