2 young boys shot dead while playing in yard, possible hostage situation under way in Minneapolis

Two young boys are dead and an apparent hostage situation ongoing in Minneapolis, police said, where a SWAT team has surrounded a house in the southern part of the city.

Police said they found the two boys in the snow-covered front yard and that the suspect fled into the home.

“All indications are that the children were outside playing in the snow when the suspect pulled up and shot them both,” Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

How do you protect your children from predators? Join Nancy Grace and a team of world-class experts for the online course ‘Justice Nation: Crime Stops Here’.

“As officers arrived on the scene they found two juveniles out in the snow (who) had been shot,” Elder said. “Officers then heard additional gunfire inside a structure close by. Officers put themselves in the line of fire to get the two children. They got them into a squad car, drove them to an area of safety, and the children were pronounced dead.”

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that Elder said the boys were “younger than teenagers” and that public records revealed the suspect had two children aged 8 and 11.

Elder said that police were hoping to have no more confrontation and were assuming there were other people besides the suspect inside the house. At least eight homes in the neighborhood have been evacuated, and residents are waiting in buses brought in for them.

The initial call before 10 a.m. Sunday morning came from a person who said they had received a text from the 56-year-old suspect that included a photograph of him along with a flag at half-staff and the message “I loved every minute with you guys.”

Elder said officers had called in the bomb squad to use their robotic camera and avoid putting officers in danger, KARE reported. Negotiators have received no response from the house.

This is an ongoing story. CrimeOnline will update as more information becomes available.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.

Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most – your children.

[Featured image: Shutterstock]