Man arrested after fatally shooting 2 teen cousins in Little Falls home
Byron David Smith of Little Falls.
Haile Kifer, 18; Nick Brady, 17
LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (KMSP) -
A man from Little Falls has been arrested after telling authorities he shot and killed two teenagers who broke into his home.
The Morrison County Sheriff's Office responded to the home of Byron Smith, 64, after they received a call reporting suspicious activity.
Smith immediately told the officers that he shot and killed two people who tried breaking into his home on Thanksgiving Day, but it is still unclear why authorities weren't called until Friday after nearly 24 hours had passed.
When deputies searched Smith's home, they discovered the bodies of a 17-year-old male and 18-year-old female in the basement.
Friends of the victims identified them as Nick Brady and his cousin, Haile Kifer, and they are still struggling to understand what happened.
"I woke up this morning, everything was on Facebook," Cody Kroll told FOX 9 News. "Feel weird inside, don't believe it happened."
Kifer was a senior at Little Falls High School, and Brady attended Pillager High School. Investigators notified school officials from both campuses on Sunday.
In a news release, Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said: "A person has every right to defend themselves and their homes, even employing deadly force if necessary." On Sunday, Wetzel confirmed to the Associated Press that investigators believe Smith's actions exceeded self defense.
After law enforcement officers -- including representatives from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension -- investigated the scene, Smith was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder.
The Morrison County Attorney's Office says formal charges are pending.
The release issued by police stated that the circumstances of the case led deputies to believe that Smith went beyond that point; however, it did not elaborate.
Smith's first court appearance is expected Monday at the Morrison County Government Center.
Neighbors described Smith as "gun happy," telling FOX 9 News he often shoots at objects and animals on his property.