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HASTINGS, Minn. - A Dakota County Judge sentenced a 23-year-old Apple Valley man on Thursday for the fatal shooting of a friend while the two apparently played with guns in a Burnsville home.

According to Dakota County prosecutors, Derrick Dahl, 22, was handling guns with two friends inside a home on East Crystal Lake Road in Burnsville on July 23, 2011.

Dahl allegedly picked up a 45-caliber handgun, apparently thinking it was unloaded, and pointed it at the head of one of his friends and pulled the trigger.

The gun went off and hit 22-year-old Benjamin Hanson of Welch, Minnesota in the head. Hanson died the next day at Hennepin County Medical Center.

In a news release, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said Dahl received a stayed prison sentence of 48 months and was placed on probation for 10 years. As conditions of probation Dahl was ordered to serve 90 days in jail and pay restitution. At the time of his guilty plea, Dahl pleaded guilty to felony second-degree manslaughter.

Backstrom stated "This was a preventable death that could easily have been avoided if two of the most basic gun safety maxims had been followed: You should always assume a gun is loaded and you should never point a gun at another person."

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