No arrests have been made yet in connection with the killing of three adults at a home-based daycare in Brooklyn Park.
Police are searching for a thin, black man in his mid-twenties who was seen fleeing on a BMX bike from the quiet residential neighborhood where the deaths happened.
Brooklyn Park police say everything seemed normal at about 6:30 a.m. Monday when a mother dropped her young child off at the daycare. But Police Chief Michael Davis said as the mother drove off, she saw something.
"She observed a suspicious male nearby which prompted her to call inside the home to speak with the daycare provider about the suspicious activity she saw outside the home," Davis said.
During that call, Davis said the phone line went dead. The mother rushed back to make sure everything was all right. When she returned, she found her child unharmed, but Davis said the mother discovered the three adults in the house were shot dead.
"It's a tragic day for the city of Brooklyn Park, and we're looking to bring who was responsible for this to justice," Davis said.
Family members identified the victims as DeLois Brown, who owned the day care, and her parents. They did not disclose the parents' names.
Mary Sodren lives nearby and says Brown had just recently taken her parents into her home to look after them.
"And I thought, boy that's got to be tough having your parents living there — elderly parents — and daycare," Sodren said. "She just seemed like a super-warm, nice person and I thought bless her heart for doing so much for people."
That's the same way Raheem Simmons describes Brown. He has known her for more than 15 years.
"When I saw the report on the news today, I immediately left work to come over here to check on the family and a member from my church," Simmons said.
Many friends and family members gathered in the street near Brown's home to console each other. Most were too distraught to talk to the swarm of reporters. Neighbors, like Hakeem Hughes, 18, uniformly expressed shock that a crime like this could happen in such a quiet part of the city.
"I'm just traumatized that people can even do things like this — like go around and kill three people," Hughes said. "In our neighborhood, it's very peaceful out here. I'm just upset about it."
These were the first homicides of 2012 in Brooklyn Park.
Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction in the case. But they offered no theories as to what might have motivated the killer, who they believe acted alone.