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Murder-suicide claims two lives in Park Rapids

This was the scene of a murder suicide Tuesday evening in Park Rapids. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

A family tragedy unfolded Tuesday night as a husband and wife died in a murder suicide in Park Rapids.

Police said Gregory Duane Anderson, 45, shot his wife Dawn at their home on Birch Briar Lane, then turned a high powered rifle on himself.

Both bodies were found on the front porch.

Police Chief Terry Eilers said the couple's youngest son was in the home at the time and was threatened also.

The young man ran for help screaming to the neighbors.

"He heard shots and turned around to see his mother in the doorway," Eilers said.

Numerous officers converged on the scene; Eilers said there was some uncertainty as to how many people were at the residence and what types of weapons were involved.

Police were first called shortly after 6 p.m. by Dawn Anderson. Within seconds the son and a neighbor also placed 911 calls, Eilers said.

Sheriff Cory Aukes and the Chief Deputy took cover behind a van, unsure if the person with the high powered rifle was still shooting, Eilers said. The van was backed up to the residence with officers taking cover behind it, Eilers said.

The bodies were taken to St. Paul for autopsies.

Greg Anderson was supposed to be staying in a halfway house in the Fargo-Moorhead area, Eilers said. Authorities are still trying to figure out how he was able to return to Park Rapids with a weapon.

There were no weapons in the home, Eilers said. Dawn Anderson, who founded the Briar Patch Day Care Center in Park Rapids, had taken out an Order for Protection against her estranged husband in November, Eilers said. Anderson has three convictions for DWI and was charged in 2007 with recklessly discharging a firearm.

News quickly spread throughout Park Rapids and on numerous Facebook pages, in which Dawn Anderson was described as a "sweetheart," active in the community.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.