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Small-town Minnesota hotel shooting kills clerk and 2 possible guests, including suspect, police say


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A shooting at a small-town Minnesota hotel killed an employee and two possible guests, including the suspect, authorities said Tuesday, one day after an active shooter alert was issued.

An employee at the Super 8 in Cloquet, Minnesota, called police shortly after 6:30 p.m. Monday to say they had found another employee who looked like she had been attacked, Cloquet police Chief Derek Randall said at a news conference Tuesday.

Police arrived within three minutes and found a 22-year-old clerk with a gunshot wound inside the hotel. She was transported to a hospital but later died, Randall said.

Officers also found a 35-year-old man from Deer River, Minnesota, with multiple gunshot wounds dead inside a vehicle in the hotel parking lot.

And, they found a 32-year-old man from Ramsey, Minnesota, dead outside on the hotel's property with evidence suggesting he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and a handgun was next to him, Randall said. Authorities used hotel surveillance video to confirm he was the shooter.

According to the video, the shooting lasted about 10 minutes before officers arrived, Randall said.

Authorities did not immediately release the names of the three people. Randall said they did not have information yet about a motive or connection between the three, though they believe both the men were hotel guests.

The investigation is ongoing. Police said there are no further threats to the public.

Officials had issued an alert at about 7 p.m. Monday about an active shooter at the hotel and warned people in the surrounding area of Big Lake Road and Highway 33 to shelter in place.

“Based on what the officers found, we believed that there was an active shooter situation," Randall said Tuesday. “We took a cautious approach and issued an alert until more information about the suspects whereabouts were known.”

A hockey game was finishing up at the town’s arena a couple of blocks away when the alert was issued, Randall said. Officers escorted people at the arena to their vehicles and out of the area.

The order was lifted about 90 minutes later after police reported finding the suspected shooter dead and announced there wasn’t any active threat.

About 12,000 people live in Cloquet, which is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Duluth.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz mentioned the shooting at a separate news conference Tuesday,

“In a community like this, the chances that someone knows someone involved is very high, and that makes it very much more personalized. ... We've got to continue to reduce gun violence," he said. "We cannot live in a world where we just accept that this is a normal occurrence. It is not."


Trisha Ahmed is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter: @TrishaAhmed15