Father faces charges in accidental death of 2-year-old

11:40 AM, Dec 28, 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 faces charges of second-degree manslaughter and felony endangerment of a child, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County on Thursday.

According to the complaint, the defendant told investigators his son was shot with his handgun which was wedged between the mattress and pillows in the home's master bedroom.

Police said the gun used in the accidental shooting was a 7.62 caliber semi-automatic pistol. The magazine in the gun had seven live cartridges, the complaint said. Testing later revealed that the firearm functioned normally, but the safety on the pistol was missing.

A total of eight guns were found in the home in various locations. Some guns were found in taped boxes in a laundry basket on the closet floor, in a cabinet and in a duffel bag with diapers. Some guns were secured in cases, but some were not, the complaint said.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said the incident could have been avoided.

"If they had been locked up and the ammunition had been different in a place this young person would be alive," Freeman said.  

Xiong said he returned to his home in the 1900 block of S. 7th Street in Minneapolis early in the afternoon on Dec. 5. His wife and three of their four sons, ages 1, 2 and 4, were at home at the time. Xiong said the two young boys had gone 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.

Xiong said in the interview that 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 added during the interview. "This will change my life. The world is totally different."

Xiong is expected to appear in court on Friday for a bail hearing. If convicted he faces up to 15 years in prison.

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