Father of 2-year-old accidentally shot by brother speaks out

11:36 PM, Dec 6, 2012   |    comments
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Two-year old Neegnco Xiong died Wednesday after his four-year old brother accidently shot him. The boy was playing with a gun that he apparently found in between a headboard and a mattress of a bed.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The father of a two-year-old boy accidentally shot by his 4-year-old brother is warning others to heed his family's story and safely store their guns.

"The number one issue is lock your gun every time. No further question," said Kao Xiong during an interview with KARE 11 on Thursday.

Xiong said he returned to his home in the 1900 block of S. 7th Street in Minneapolis early Wednesday afternoon.  His wife and three of their four sons, ages 1, 2 and 4, were at home at the time. Xiong said his 2-year-old son, Neegnco, and the 4-year-old went upstairs to play on the family's bed. They were jumping and building a fort, Xiong said, when the two discovered a handgun hidden between the bed's mattress and headboard. 

The parents heard a gunshot and ran upstairs to find Neegnco bleeding from a stomach wound and struggling to breathe.  The parents called 911.

"Please, we need help right away," Xiong recalled saying to 911 operators.

Xiong said he tried to give his son CPR. Neither he nor paramedics were able to revive the child. He died at the scene in an ambulance.

"Terrible. Terrible. I never expect this to happen in my life," he said, adding, "This will change my life. The world is totally different."

"My heart broken. I wish I could be a new person," Xiong also said.

Xiong said he purchased the "old Chinese gun" about two years ago from an online broker. That person shipped it to a local store where Xiong picked it up after presenting his carry and conceal permit. Xiong said he purchased the gun for "personal safety." He said he also has several hunting guns that he keeps in locked boxes.

A Minneapolis Police spokesman said the case remains under investigation, with officers reviewing whether the parents violated a state law requiring that guns inside homes with children be safely stored.

"They'll definitely look at that aspect and collect all the facts. And, like I said, they'll present it to the county attorney's office and they'll review it," said Sgt. Steve McCarty.

Meantime, Protect Minnesota -- an anti-gun violence organization -- said they're concerned people are getting the wrong message in carry and conceal classes.

"[They're] not getting information about the risks associated with having a loaded handgun in your house or on your person," said Heather Martens with Protect Minnesota.

Martens and the MPD both recommend people store their guns in a locked location -- separate from ammunition.  The MPD also has free gun locks available to gun owners. People can also pick up a gun lock from any gun store.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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