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Little Falls, Pillager Students Grieve Loss Of Classmates Shot On Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012 at 6:29 am

Little Falls and Pillager schools made counselors available Monday for students and staff trying to cope with the shooting deaths of two cousins. As we reported, Haile Kifer and Nicholas Brady were shot to death on Thanksgiving after the man who shot them said they tried to break into his home.

Classes in the Little Falls school district don’t resume until Tuesday, so Superintendent Stephen Jones told WDIO that only a few people met with counselors Monday. Superintendent Jones said he says he expects a “vastly different situation” Tuesday when students return. Haile Kifer was a senior at Little Falls High School.

Classes were back in session Monday at Pillager High School, where Nicholas Brady was a student. Superintendent Chuck Arns told WDIO that a few students sought help from school counselors and local clergy members there Monday morning.

Of course the man accused of shooting Kifer and Brady was in court on Monday, and was charged with two counts of murder. The criminal complaint against 64-year old Byron David Smith recounts in chilling fashion the clinical way investigators said he described the shootings. Smith told investigators he feared the teens had a weapon, but acknowledged firing “more shots than I needed to” and appeared to take pride in “a good, clean finishing shot” for one teen, according to investigators.

Minnesota law allows a homeowner to use deadly force on an intruder if a reasonable person would fear they’re in danger of harm, and Smith told investigators he was afraid the intruders might have a weapon. However, Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel told the Associated Press that Smith’s actions weren’t justified adding that the “law doesn’t permit you to execute somebody once a threat is gone,” he said.

A prosecutor in the case called Smith’s actions “appalling” and added that Mr. Smith’s actions appear to have gone well beyond self defense. Bail was set at $2 million.

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