A 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his younger brother Wednesday afternoon while playing with their father's handgun in the family's Minneapolis townhouse, police said, the StarTribune reported.
Around 12:45 p.m., police responded to reports of a shooting at 1907 7th Street South, Sgt. Steve McCarty confirmed. The police officers who arrived at the scene discovered the toddler suffered from a critical gunshot wound, MyFox9 reported.
Police said 2-year-old Neegnco Xiong died after his brother found a loaded handgun in a bedroom, and the gun discharged while he was handling it. Paramedics tried to revive Neegnco, but he died in an ambulance at the scene, said Minneapolis police Sgt. William Palmer, who called the shooting "a horrible accident" and a reminder to safely and properly store firearms, the StarTribune reported.
Homicide investigators have been assigned to the case and are interviewing the parents, but no arrests have been made. Once complete, the investigation will be referred to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office for possible charges against the parents. In Minnesota it is a crime to store a loaded gun where a child would be able to get access to it. Family members say they don't know how the boy found the handgun because his father kept it hidden on a shelf in the closet, MyFox9 reported.
Palmer said both parents were home at the time of the accident. Three of the couple's children, a 1-year-old, a 4-year-old, and a 5-year-old that was not home at the time, are now in protective custody, MyFox9 reported.