WATONWAN COUNTY - The Watonwan County Sheriff's Office reported a murder-suicide that claimed three lives Sunday morning in Antrim Township, in the southeast corner of the county.
The sheriff's office received a call about gunshots inside an Antrim Township residence at 7:45 a.m. Sunday, according to a press release.
When a deputy and Madelia Police Officer arrived at the residence, they were told gunshots were heard in the basement of the residence.
Upon entering the residence, officers saw a person lying at the bottom of the basement steps.
Upon further investigation, they found three people dead - Ashley A. Sullivan, 25; and Chester M. Gronewald, 59; both of Antrim Township; plus a victim-suspect, Shaun E. Haugen, 28, of Frost.
According to the press release, the crime scene appeared to be a domestic situation in which a party came to the residence in violation of his release conditions and a confrontation occurred.
Sullivan, who had a no-contact order, was shot along with her step father. The suspect then apparently turned the gun on himself, according to the sheriff's office.
Three other people, including an adult female and two younger children ages two and 15, were not harmed, according to the press release.
The suspect (Haugen) was charged in December 2009 with domestic abuse against Sullivan. He was released on bail on Dec. 21, 2009, according to the news release.
Haugen was arrested again for violating the no-contact order on Jan. 5, 2010, the press release stated.
He appeared in court and was released after posting bail on Jan. 14, 2010, according to the press release.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the State Crime Lab are aiding police and the sheriff's office in their investigation of the triple fatality.