Father faces prison time after son accidently shot, killed

10:34 AM, Jun 1, 2013   |    comments
  • 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.
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - A Minneapolis father faces up to 10 years in prison after a jury found him guilty in connection with the accidental shooting of his 2-year old son.

Kao Xiong was convicted on two counts of manslaughter and two counts of child endangerment.

In December, Xiong's 4-year-old son found a handgun hidden In Xiong's bed then accidentally shot his 2-year old brother, Neegnco Xiong.

Sentencing for Xiong is June 27th. Attorneys tell KARE 11 his presumptive sentence is four years.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says for months his team tried to reach a plea deal with Xiong, but claims he wasn't willing to take responsibility.

"This case in my view was a 100-percent preventable, but the flip side is Mr. Xiong is 100-percent responsible," said Freeman. "This is a terrible, terrible tragedy."

But Xiong's attorney, Steven Meshbesher told reporters Friday his client has suffered enough.

"It was not reckless, it was not intentional, it was an accident. And accidents are not crimes," said Meshbesher.

He says the Xiong family is devastated. The older brother who accidently fired the gun is confused, he says.

"He's four years old. I think he understands something is wrong but he doesn't know what it was," he said.

"This is a case you're going to get criticized no matter what you do," said David Larson, Hamline University law professor.

Larson says the statute allows for up to ten years in prison. But he believes since the father has no criminal record the sentence will be less severe.
"Courts do take that into consideration. They look at how the family is reacting to what happened and in this case there is evidence there is some serious grieving going on," he said.

Prosecutors say Xiong had seven guns improperly stored in a house filled with five young children.

You just don't do this, seven guns, guns in a diaper bag," said Freeman who was clearly frustrated.

It is those circumstances could add to Xiong's prison sentence. Minnesota judges have more discretion when deciding a sentence in cases like these than judges do in other states.

Freeman says this is the fourth case in Hennepin County in recent years where a child was killed or injured by a gun improperly stored.

"Listen to a situation like this and learn from it," he said."Don't keep loaded handguns accessible to kids."

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