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Forum and wire reports, Published April 09 2012

Police: Mother of toddler found three adults shot to death in Twin Cities day care

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — Three adults were killed early Monday at an in-home day care in a suburb northwest of Minneapolis, and a nearby college was locked down as police searched for a suspect who fled on a bicycle.

The victims are day care operator DeLois Brown, 59, and her parents, the Star Tribune reported, citing a relative from St. Louis, Mo.

Police say a mother who takes her toddler to the day care discovered three adults shot to death inside.

Police in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park gave new details of the triple slaying early Monday morning.

Spokesman Todd Milburn says the woman had just dropped off her toddler and spoken with someone in the house. As she was leaving the area, she saw a man acting suspiciously.

The woman called the day care back, and was talking to someone when the line went dead. She returned to the home and found three people had been shot. Her toddler was in the house unharmed.

Police say they have made no arrests.

Earlier, neighbors of the Brooklyn Park day care center said police told them to stay home because a gunman was on the loose. No arrests have been made.

A Hennepin County crime lab van was parked outside the house in the middle-class suburb a few hours after the attack. Police tape was stretched around the house, a gray split-level in a modest neighborhood with children's toys in the fenced backyard. A small group of people stood in the street several houses down, sobbing and hugging each other.

Earlier, police declined to talk about the nature of the deaths, officers initially responded to a reported shooting.

Hakeem Hughes, an 18-year-old student who lives close to the day care, said he heard screaming from the direction of the house about 6:30 a.m., but that he didn't pay much attention because children often played outside the home. When he went to catch a bus to school, he said police told him to go back inside because there was a gunman on the loose.

Milburn said a suspect fled the scene on a bicycle.

“I'm just shocked about it,” Hughes said. “They are good people. They are innocent people.”

DeLois Brown holds the license for the residential child care center, according to state Department of Human Services records. Brown's license is valid through February 2013. Records do not indicate any adverse rulings or restrictions affecting the day care for up to 12 children.

Brown's business is called Visions and Butterflies Child Care, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Officials locked down the nearby Hennepin Technical College after police said there had been a shooting. Students were allowed to leave a few hours after the shooting, although the campus remained closed.

Spokeswoman Annette Roth estimated that fewer than 100 students remained inside the college's single building, down from the several thousand that would usually be there on a Monday.

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