Watch CBS News

Sources: Father Killed Family, Himself In Greenwood

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Sources tell WCCO that Brian Short shot and killed his wife and three children before taking his own life.

Sources say a shotgun was found near the father's body at the family's multi-million dollar home on Lake Minnetonka. Police discovered the bodies Thursday after coworkers of the father requested a welfare check on the family. He hadn't been to work in several days.

Short, a registered nurse, founded the website in the 90s. The site was meant to be a place where nurses from all over the country could connect and share online. A statement from the website Thursday confirmed that the family was killed in the incident.

Investigators said Thursday that the crime scene was complex, with the bodies of Brian Short,  his wife Karen Short, and three children -- 17-year-old Cole Short, 15-year-old Madison Short and 14-year-old Brooklyn Short -- scattered throughout the large home. Police say the victims all suffered "traumatic injuries" and called the crime scene, "unspeakable."

South Lake Minnetonka Police Chief Michael Siitari did confirm that there was no note found in the house.

Greenwood Possible Murder Suicide
(credit: CBS)

Police say the wife and three children were found in each of their bedrooms. The father was found in the garage.

Legal Trouble At Work

WCCO has learned a New Jersey college prep company filed a lawsuit against Short and the business he started,, claiming defamation, libel and fraud, among other things. AllNurses is a networking site, a place where people can post information and comment.

The lawsuit alleges in part that Short paid people to post under fictitious names, and increase site hits to make advertisers pay more. The college prep company also claims a competitor was given preferential treatment on the site, and the paid posters colluded to make their company look bad, therefore causing injury and loss of business.

The company seeks damages during a jury trial. In the last two weeks, a judge ruled the lawsuit can move forward, and would be heard in Minnesota. Neither side immediately returned requests for comment.

Community Mourns

Friends say they remembered Brian Short as a down-to-earth guy, who was always there for his friends. Bob Weigel says he still can't believe his best friend Brian, Brian's wife Karen and their three kids are gone.

"I still can't believe it happened, to be honest with you," Weigel said. "I called them up last night on his phone, left a message hoping he would return it."

Weigel's grief is made more difficult knowing how they spent their final moments. During their snowmobiling trips together, he says he always saw a happy family, with nothing to indicate such a tragic end.

For Nick Collins, school hasn't been the same without his friend, Cole.

"He was always happy," Collins said. "I could never forget his voice or smile. That always got to me."

All three of the teens attended Minnetonka High School, where some 20 guidance counselors were brought in Friday to talk to students who might need help.

A memorial is growing outside the Short family home, where friends and community members are leaving flowers and pictures.

short home memorial
(credit: CBS)

The youngest of the family, Brooklyn, played with traveling soccer team Tonka United. Stacy Hoschka, whose child also played on the team, says both of Brooklyn's parents were at every soccer game, cheering on their daughter.

"Just a happy, spontaneous kind of girl," Hoschka said. "She would play so hard, never complained, always said thank you. Just a beautiful and brilliant girl, and the team loved her very much."

Hoschka also said Brooklyn had aspirations to become an engineer, so she brought the girl to work for a recent career day.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.