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17-year-old homicide suspect arrested after shelter-in-place 'inadvertently' sent to wide area of the metro

Ramsey County officials apologized for the "confusion and disruption" of the wide alert, and will be investigating the cause.

ROSEVILLE, Minn. — A homicide suspect is in custody following a shelter-in-place alert that was received by people living and working in a large swath of the metro on Tuesday morning. Law enforcement officials say the alert was delivered to a wider geographical area than intended.

The initial alert mentioned a search for a homicide suspect described as a 17-year-old white male. KARE 11 confirmed the suspect was taken into custody before 11:20 a.m. Roseville police confirmed the shelter-in-place order was canceled.

At a press conference early Tuesday afternoon, Roseville Police Chief Erika Scheider confirmed that a 17-year-old was taken into custody near the Minnesota State Fairgrounds after police received a tip from a citizen in the area.

Scheider said police initially responded to a home on the 1100 block of Ryan Avenue after getting reports of an assault in progress. At the home, police located two people with serious injuries and one person that had been killed. Two others had minor injuries, according to Scheider. The initial investigation determined that all the victims and the teenage suspect are family members.

At this point, police haven't identified a motive for the attack but said a firearm was not used. Scheider said the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is at the scene investigating and working to determine what weapon caused blunt force trauma to the victims.

In a press release written Tuesday afternoon, police say officers were dispatched just before 10:30 a.m. to a reported assault in progress. The caller said a 17-year-old family member started attacking other people with a weapon and ran away on foot.

When asked about the shelter-in-place alert, Scheider said it was sent through Ramsey County Dispatch and intended to only go out to residents in the immediate neighborhood. She acknowledged that the expanded alert was confusing and worrisome for many people and businesses. 

“We know that caused a lot of concern, we'll certainly be looking into what happened to make sure it doesn’t happen again," she said.

However, Scheider added that the person who called in the tip after seeing the suspect was outside of the intended alert area. According to police's latest press release, the tipster saw the teen running without shoes towards the State Fairgrounds. Police took the suspect into custody without incident near the intersection of Snelling and Como avenues.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, Ramsey County officials apologized for the wide alert. The county said the message "was intended for mobile devices in a small section of Roseville" and county staff programmed it to be sent to cell towers in area between Larpenteur Avenue, Highway 36, Snelling Avenue and Victoria Street.

"For reasons not known at this time, the Wireless Emergency Alert system pushed the message to a significantly broader area, and mobile phones across Ramsey County and nearby communities received the alert," county officials said.

Ramsey County officials said it will be "actively reviewing" the incident with state and federal partners to determine why the alert was sent to "an excessively broad area."

"Ramsey County deeply apologizes for the confusion and disruption this morning’s alerts caused throughout the metro region," the county's statement read. "Ramsey County will continue to investigate this issue in the days ahead to identify the cause of the issue and prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future."

Shortly after the shelter-in-place alert was sent out Tuesday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter noted on social media that it was connected to an incident in Roseville and "inadvertently went out wider than intended."

In a tweet, St. Paul police added the alert did not include any St. Paul residential areas. St. Paul Public Schools confirmed that though there was no immediate threat at any buildings; all schools in the district went into lockdown around 10:45 a.m. for about 30 minutes.

Minneapolis police added that the concern was localized to Roseville, and did not include any of the city of Minneapolis.

This is a developing story. KARE 11 will provide more details as new information becomes available.

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