published Monday, April 9th, 2012

3 killed at Minnesota day care; suspect sought

People watch police investigate the scene where three people were shot and killed at an in-home day care in Brooklyn Park, Minn., on Monday, April 9, 2012. No arrests were immediately made. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Richard Sennott)
People watch police investigate the scene where three people were shot and killed at an in-home day care in Brooklyn Park, Minn., on Monday, April 9, 2012. No arrests were immediately made. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Richard Sennott)
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

AMY FORLITI, Associated Press

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (AP) — 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.

Police released few details about the deaths in Brooklyn Park. Inspector Todd Milburn said no one else was injured, but wouldn't say whether any children were present during the attack about 6:30 a.m.

Neighbors of the day care center said police warned 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.

Though 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, 59, is the license holder for the residential child care center that can accommodate up to 12 children, 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 center.

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

The same profile lists Brown as a follow-up coordinator for Pink Purse Project Inc., a women's empowerment organization. She worked for nearly nine years in the nearby Osseo Area Schools system as a child care instructor and later a child care site supervisor.

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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