See more of the story

DULUTH — The man who fatally shot a front desk clerk, a guest and himself at the Cloquet Super 8 Motel in January had methamphetamine in his blood at the time of the quick and deadly spree that briefly shut down parts of the northern Minnesota city.

Nicholas Elliot Lenius, 32, who was identified as the shooter with help from video surveillance, contacted a coworker around the time of the incident and said he was dealing with "monsters," according to an update released by the Cloquet Police Department on Monday morning. Investigators said Lenius and victims, Shellby Marie Trettel, 22, and Patrick Jeffrey Roers, 35, did not know each other, based an on analysis of the shooter's electronic devices.

"The suspect may have been experiencing a mental health episode, potentially compounded by the influence of drugs," Cloquet Police Chief Derek Randall wrote in the news release.

The department will send its final reports to the Carlton County Attorney's Office for review.

A Super 8 employee found Trettel in an office near the front desk around 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 8 and called 911 to report that it looked like she had been attacked. The Cloquet woman, known as a "wonderfully colorful person," was taken by ambulance to St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth, where she was pronounced dead.

Roers, of Deer River, Minn., was found fatally shot in his truck in the motel's parking lot. The big-bearded, well-read Roers, known as "Bubba" by his family, was in a new job as a tree excavator and had stepped out of the motel to listen to music.

After finding the second victim, the police department sent out an "active shooter incident" warning and asked residents to shelter in place — a call Randall made, but had never experienced in his 20-year career with the department.

Lenius, of Ramsey, Minn., was found dead outside of the motel with a weapon nearby. Officers collected from the motel a semiautomatic Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, ammunition, a laptop and several tablet devices, according to court documents. The former football player from Anoka High School, was "actively recording" at the time of the shootings, according to court documents.