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Cloquet motel shooter was likely high on meth, did not know victims, police say

Suspect likely high on meth during Cloquet motel shooting
Suspect likely high on meth during Cloquet motel shooting 00:34

CLOQUET, Minn. — The man who fatally shot two people at a motel in Cloquet in January may have been high on methamphetamine and did not know his victims, according to police.

Nicholas Lenius shot and killed Patrick Roers and Shellby Trettel at the Super 8 in Cloquet on Jan. 8, according to authorities. Trettel was a clerk at the motel and Roers was in a vehicle in the parking lot. Lenius died by suicide after the killings, police said.

The Cloquet Police Department issued what it said was its final update on the killings Monday, saying a toxicology report showed meth in Lenius' blood.

"Furthermore, the suspect may have been experiencing a mental health episode, potentially compounded by the influence of drugs," the department said.

Investigators also reviewed Lenius' electronic devices, which revealed he told a coworker about dealing with "monsters" before the shootings. Police said they "did not uncover any evidence or information indicating that the suspect had any prior knowledge of or communication with either of the victims involved in the incident."

Police previously said Lenius sent a social media message to his work supervisor shortly before the shooting that said "WTF is going on." The supervisor called and spoke with Lenius around 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 8, around the same time the shootings were reported to police by another hotel employee.

Lenius also allegedly had a camera inside his truck that was "actively recording," according to a warrant.  

The department will send its investigative reports to the Carlton County Attorney's Office for review.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email

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