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Family: Father had history of mental illness

Police tape flutters in the wind outside the house at 4553 5th Street N.W. Monday morning where a man and a 9 year-old girl were found shot to death Sunday.
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The Rochester man who killed his 9-year-old daughter during a Sunday afternoon visit, then shot himself, had a history of mental illness, authorities said today.

Bradley James Higgins, 49, had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia about 10 years ago, family members told police, but there had been "nothing out of the ordinary" when his daughter, Mackenzie, came over for the afternoon, Police Lt. Casey Moilanen said.

Though autopsies were completed Monday, the investigation remains open as law enforcement works with the medical examiner and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to review all the reports and evidence, he said.

Final results of the autopsies, including toxicology tests, won't be available for weeks. The working premise, however, is the incident was a murder-suicide, Moilanen said.

The initial report of the shooting came in at 4:02 p.m. Sunday, when Higgins' brother called police. When officers arrived at 4553 Fifth St. N.W., they found Higgins and his daughter, both deceased, in the basement of the home, the report says.


Higgins had lived at the home with his brother's family since last month, Moilanen said. Mackenzie spent time with Higgins, as well as with her mother, who also lives in Rochester, since the parents' divorce about four years ago. The child was there for an afternoon visit at the time of the shooting; her mother arrived to pick her up as scheduled shortly before officers arrived at the home.

Mackenzie was the couple's only child. She attended school in Stewartville, Moilanen said, where officials have activated their crisis plan to work with students.

Moilanen said law enforcement had had "psych-related incidents" with Higgins since 2007, but was unsure if any of the encounters involved violence.

"He had paranoid schizophrenia, but there had been no red flags" leading up to the shooting, Moilanen said.

Higgins's brother, his significant other and their three children were in the home at the time of the shooting, the report says. His brother reported hearing loud noises from the basement, where Higgins lived, but didn't immediately check what happened.

Moilanen declined to release any information about the number of shots fired or the type of weapon recovered.

It was the first murder in the city of Rochester this year.


Bradley Higgins
Bradley Higgins

Related Topics: POLICE
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