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St. Paul police are looking for the suspect in a Saturday afternoon shooting that left three people dead, including a juvenile boy. 

Police were responding to a call about an unknown medical situation when they found the shooting victims. Two of the victims -- a woman in her 30s and a girl in her early teens -- were pronounced deceased at the scene, while the 8-12 year old boy was transported to a local hospital where he died of his injuries a few hours later.

 

St. Paul police say a shooting in the city's Payne-Phalen neighborhood left three people dead Saturday afternoon.  (St. Paul Police Department)

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The circumstances surrounding the shooting are currently unclear, but a police officer conducted a welfare check at the residence just one hour before the shooting, according to St. Paul police spokesperson Sgt. Mike Ernster 

"He was called here by a concerned family member from out of state who wanted us to check on the welfare of the supposed victim in this home. Our officer did come here, he did speak with her at the door and explained why he was there," Sgt. Ernster told reporters Saturday evening. "She looked at him and said, 'I'm okay, tell them I'm okay.'"

Police said they believe the woman who interacted with the police officer earlier in the day is the woman in her 30s who died. They had conducted another welfare check at the same residence prior to Saturday. 

"We had been here once before on a similar call, a welfare check," Sgt. Ernster said. "They were just [concerned about] her welfare, that she could be in danger, that type of call, possibly involved a domestic type situation."

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Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell called the shooting "a senseless tragedy that's left us all heartbroken."

"The investigators and officers will continue to work around the clock until they find the person responsible," he said. 

Paul Best is a reporter for FOX Business and Fox News. Follow him on twitter at @KincaidBest.

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Crime and Public Safety | Driver kills 1 and injures 17 at Pennsylvania benefit, then kills another, police say

In a pair of horrific scenes Saturday night that compounded the tragedy of a recent fatal fire in eastern Pennsylvania, a man plowed his car into a fundraising event for families affected by that fire, killing one and injuring 17, then drove off and fatally beat a woman before police arrested him, authorities said.

The suspect, identified by police as Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes, 24, was arraigned on two counts of homicide and denied bail. He is being held at the Columbia County Correctional Facility.

Four of the injured in the crash in Berwick, a borough about 45 miles southwest of Scranton, Pennsylvania, were in critical condition late Saturday, said Joseph H. Stender III, a spokesperson for Geisinger Medical Center, where many of the victims were taken.

The woman was found dead in neighboring Nescopeck, which was the site of the fatal fire Aug. 5 that tore through a two-story home and killed 10 people.

Further information about the victims was not available Sunday morning.

The fundraiser was meant to benefit the victims and families of the house fire, including Harold Baker, a volunteer firefighter who responded to the fire and ended up losing his 22-year-old daughter and 19-year-old son, as well as six other family members, in the blaze. Among those killed in the fire in Nescopeck were three children, ages 5, 6 and 7, the Pennsylvania State Police said. The oldest victim was 79.

In a cruel twist, just eight days after the fire, Baker responded to the scene Saturday in Nescopeck, where the woman was killed. He said a daughter-in-law and several other relatives had been injured, and an aunt of his daughter-in-law had been killed, in the crash at the fundraiser.

“I haven’t processed the fire yet, and now I got to deal with this,” he said.

The crash Saturday night added another wave of grief to a small community devastated by the fire that was described as “violent” and “forceful.” The cause of the fire has not been released. At a news conference late Saturday, trooper Anthony Petroski said the suspect in Saturday’s deaths was not currently a suspect in the fire, according to The Times-Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Area residents struggled to process what had happened in barely more than a week’s time. The confusion and anger were compounded because there were so many unanswered questions about the fire, Robin Massina, a Berwick resident who is the daughter of the Nescopeck mayor, said in an interview late Saturday.

“What is this madness?” Massina said. “Why is it happening? We’re a small town that probably hasn’t been in the news since the flood of like 1978.”

She said that the community had pulled together after the fire and that she believed enough money had been raised so that families could bury their loved ones and get back on their feet. The event Saturday demonstrated the community’s spirit, but the violence that followed destroyed the healing process.

Before the crash, Lauren Hess, owner of Intoxicology Department, the bar and restaurant that hosted the benefit, said she had quickly planned the event to help people affected by the fire, according to WNEP, a TV station based in Scranton. Donations from the community had poured in, she said.

“I got a call on Friday, and I was immediately like, ‘What can I do to help because they are going through so much grief and pain?’” Hess told the station, adding that she was friends with mothers who lost children in the fire.

The event had started joyously, with scenes of laughing children, country music and water-balloon fights. “It’s going to be an amazing day!” organizers had posted on Facebook early Saturday.

The bar posted a statement late Saturday on Facebook calling the day “an absolute tragedy” and said that it would be closed until further notice.

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Massina said that the community rarely saw violence “other than your stupid Saturday night bar fights.”

“And now it’s devastation after devastation, literally a few days apart,” she said.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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