Police in St. Paul, Minnesota, are investigating the fatal shooting of three people, including a child and teenager, who were killed Saturday an hour after police completed a wellness check at the home.
Officers responded to a home in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood of St. Paul around 3 p.m. where they found three people suffering from apparent gunshot wounds, the St. Paul Police Department said in a news release.
Two individuals, an adult female in her 30s and a female in early teens, were pronounced dead at the scene. A third person -- a boy between 8 and 12 years old -- was taken to the hospital where he later died from his injuries, St. Paul Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Ernster told reporters.
"It's hard because children died. It's also hard because one of our officers was here an hour before this call. 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," Ernster said.
"Our officer did come here, he did speak with her at the door and explain why he was there, and she looked at him and said, 'I'm OK, tell them I'm OK.'"
Police visited the house one other time before Saturday for a welfare check after receiving a call from someone concerned that the woman could be in danger and "possibly involved in a domestic type situation," Ernster added.
Officials are investigating who was at the scene at the time of the shooting as well as the circumstances surrounding the triple homicide.
The Ramsey County medical examiner will work to identify the victims and determine their cause of death, police said.
"This is a senseless tragedy that's left us all heartbroken -- as police officers, as human beings, as members of the community," St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said in a statement. "Moments like this are hard and painful."
Axtell added that "investigators and officers will continue to work around the clock until they find the person responsible."