ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Police are investigating after a 2-year-old boy was reportedly shot in the head in St. Paul Thursday afternoon.
St. Paul Fire Medics were called around 12:14 p.m. to the 1300 block of Beech Street on a call that a child had fallen. Officials later determined the child was shot.
Police say the toddler, identified as Jacob Xiong, was shot once in the head and taken to Regions Hospital. Relatives said he underwent successful surgery at Regions and that he is now being cared for at Gillette Children’s hospital.
When police arrived on scene, they determined Xiong was struck by a 9 mm bullet fired from a handgun. He was bleeding from the head and a gun was recovered at the scene.
Brian Mealey, who lives next door, said he heard a loud bang.
“Just like somethin’ hit the house…it just sounded like a hard baseball,” he said.
Xiong was home with his three siblings — ages 7, 9 and 10 — along with a 16-year-old baby sitter when the shooting occurred.
The parents were not on scene at the time, but are cooperating with police. They are also performing traditional Laotian prayers.
Police believe one of the other boys in the home found the gun and discharged it accidentally, striking Xiong. It is unclear, however, which boy fired the gun.
“Children are snoops, they explore,” said Sgt. Paul Paulos, of the St. Paul Police. “What they found fascinating ended in a tragic situation.”
Officers say they are not seeking any suspects in connection with the incident.
The child’s grandfather emigrated from Laos after the Vietnam war, looking to start a new life, safe from war. Now he’s feeling the painful consequences of when guns fall into the wrong hands.
“I scared he die,” he said. “I love him.”
Child Access Prevention
It’s cases such as this which led to Minnesota passing the Child Access Prevention and Safe Storage law, requires guns be locked, unloaded and inaccessible to children.
However, prosecutors aren’t often eager to charge parents in such cases, feeling their grief is already too much.