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September 17, 2015 11:34 PM
By Liz Collin
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It has been a week since police discovered a gruesome scene in Greenwood — five members of a family dead.
South Lake Minnetonka Police say Brian Short shot and killed his wife and their three kids with a shotgun before killing himself last week.
Bill George, the former CEO of Medtronic, had been scheduled to speak at Minnetonka High School for months. But he made changes to his message Thursday.
“Life is precious,” George said. “The world you can have the greatest impact on is the world right in front of you right now, and remember every interaction really counts.”
Memorials now sit in the school office at Minnetonka High School, along with flowers sent from other schools. Signatures from students to honor their classmates are displayed on large cards for Cole, Maddy and Brooklyn.
“They are messages of remembrances, messages of condolence or hope. We’ll take those over the funeral on Sunday,” Minnetonka Schools Executive Director of Communications Janet Swiecichowski said. “It has been a really emotional week.”
The TonkaStrong hashtag now serves as a sign of healing. People have displayed the words on signs around town.
A community is still struggling to understand what happened inside the Shorts’ Lake Minnetonka home.
Randy Cassingham started a networking group for successful online entrepreneurs after founding ThisIsTrue.com. Brian Short had been a member as founder of AllNurses.com.
Cassingham wrote in his blog this week about his disbelief about Short’s actions. He writes that Short would talk about his humble beginnings, growing up without much money in Milwaukee. Cassingham also describes his friend as a generous “teddy bear.”
“Earlier this year Brian told the group he’d been sued. The suit at least sounded frivolous: a training company complained that a forum member had given them a bad review. Federal law says that sites aren’t responsible for what members post, so Brain wasn’t concerned,” Cassingham wrote. “He dropped off the radar: I hadn’t had any e-mails from him in a few weeks.”
Family friends confirm Short had been on medication for depression but declined to say more.
Police told WCCO they are still investigating the Shorts’ case. The police chief of South Lake Minnetonka said they have to be sure of what they think happened before it is considered closed.
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Court revives lawsuit over Minnesota family’s 2015 killing — (MPR News)
The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday revived a lawsuit filed by relatives of a Greenwood man who killed his wife and the couple’s three children before killing himself in 2015.
Relatives of Brian Short had sued Park Nicollet health system, alleging that doctors did not do enough to treat Short’s mental illness before he fatally shot his wife, Karen; their three children, Cole, Madison and Brooklyn; and himself in the family’s home.
According to the lawsuit, Brian Short went to the emergency room, urgent care and his family doctor several times to get help for depression and anxiety in the summer of 2015. But the lawsuit alleges the Park Nicollet health system did not take Short’s “severe, overwhelming and rapidly worsening” illness seriously enough.
A lower court dismissed the wrongful death lawsuit, and the family appealed.
The appeals court ruled Tuesday that Short’s mental-health provider owed a duty of care to him as a matter of law, saying that dismissing the case was not appropriate when there is a question about whether the deaths would have been a foreseeable risk.
The case was sent back to district court for trial, where the appeals court said expert testimony may establish whether the risk was foreseeable.
“Our conclusion that Park Nicollet owed a duty to Short is not dispositive of whether Park Nicollet is ultimately liable for damages stemming from Short’s suicide,” the appeals court found. “At trial, appellant will be required to prove through expert testimony that Park Nicollet departed from the applicable standards of care and that those departures were the cause of Short’s suicide. … Park Nicollet and its experts contest liability, and the resolution of these genuine disputes is for the jury.”
Park Nicollet spokesperson Annelise Heitkamp said the company is “evaluating next steps.” She said Park Nicollet can’t discuss details of the case because it’s in litigation.