Minnesota man killed his family, then himself

Posted at 11:51 AM, Sep 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-12 14:51:21-04

The founder of a social networking service for nurses used a shotgun to kill his wife and three children before turning the gun on himself, police said Saturday after the release of autopsy reports.

Investigators believe Brian Short killed his wife, Karen, and their three teenage children in their Greenwood home late Monday or early Tuesday, Mike Siitari, the interim chief of the South Lake Minnetonka's police department, told The Associated Press.

"All evidence indicates Brian Short killed his family members in their bedrooms before turning the gun on himself," the department said in a news release.

Officers found the dead family members Thursday during a welfare check at their home. A co-worker of Brian Short told police they hadn't been heard from in days. The children hadn't reported to school since it resumed on Tuesday.

Police found Karen Short, 48, and the three children — Cole, 17, Madison, 15, and Brooklyn, 14 — dead in their bedrooms. Brian Short, 45, was found dead in the home's eight-car garage.

The Hennepin County medical examiner ruled Saturday that all five died from shotgun wounds to the head and that only Brian Short's wound was self-inflicted.

No motive has been discovered and no further information will be released this weekend, the police department statement said.

"There are many moving parts in an investigation of this magnitude. I once again ask for the media's and public's patience while we work through all of the evidence and facts," Siitari said.

Short was the founder of, a social networking site for nurses, which he started in 1994 when he was still a nursing student. He depicted The Excelsior-based company as a success in a 2014 interview with the Star Tribune. He said he ran the operation out of his house until a year earlier. He had four staff people as of a year ago. He said the site was drawing 4 million unique visitors per month, with 150,000 unique users every day. And he said he had turned down 50 buyout offers in the past 10 years.

Greenwood, a village of about 700 people, sits on the south side of Lake Minnetonka. The Shorts bought the home on St. Alban's Bay in 2011 for $2 million, property tax records show.

Spectators and players observed a moment of silence at Minnetonka High School's home football game against Wayzata on Friday night. The children were all students at Minnetonka.