Little Falls Students Mourn Shooting Victims

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By Sarah Barchus

Two Little Falls High School cousins were remembered by hundreds of fellow students Sunday night during a candlelight vigil on the school's football field, KARE 11 reported.

The students gathered to mourn the loss of Nicolas Brady, 17, and Haile Kifer, 18, who were shot Thursday by Byron David Smith, 64, when they allegedly broke into his home, the Pioneer Press reported.

"These were both friends to a lot of folks, involved in lots of activities and working their way towards graduation like so many other kids, trying to put their focus on the future," Superintendent Stephen Jones said, the Pioneer Press reported.

Support and counsel will be offered to Little Falls students when they return to classes on Tuesday, KARE 11 reported.

Family members said the cousins never showed up for Thanksgiving dinner, KARE 11 reported. Their bodies where found in Smith's basement by Morrison County police on Friday after they received a call about Smith's suspicious behavior, the Pioneer Press reported.

Police said Smith confessed immediately to shooting the teens and said it was in self-defense after they broke into his secluded home north of Little Falls by the Mississippi River, the Pioneer Press reported.

Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said that investigators believe Smith's actions went beyond self-defense, the Pioneer Press reported.

Smith's friend John Lange said Smith was friendly to the local teens, but was upset by a series of break-ins, KARE 11 reported.

"I think he just couldn't deal with it anymore," Lange said. "It's just a tragic thing."

Smith will appear in court on Tuesday on charges of second-degree murder, KARE 11 reported.

More than 1,500 people are following a Facebook page to remember the teens, the KARE 11 reported.

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This page contains a single entry by barch009 published on November 26, 2012 7:17 AM.

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