Apple Valley Man Sentenced In Friend’s Shooting Death

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 23-year-old Apple Valley man has been sentenced after pleading guilty to a fatal Burnsville shooting from July 2011.

According to the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, Derrick Wallace Dahl was originally charged with manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm, intentionally pointing a gun at another and recklessly handling a gun. He pleaded guilty in May.

He has been sentenced to 48 months in prison and 10 years of probation. His prison sentence was stayed, but he was ordered to serve 90 days in jail and to pay restitution.

Dahl shot and killed 22-year-old Benjamin Allen Hanson, of Welch, Minn., on July 23, 2011.

According to the charges, Dahl and his friends, including Hanson, were cleaning several handguns. Apparently thinking it was unloaded, Dahl cocked a 45-caliber semi-automatic handgun, pointed it at Hanson’s head and pulled the trigger. The gun discharged and Hanson was shot in the head.

Dahl told police that was the first time he’s ever handled a gun and admitted that he didn’t know a lot about them. Dahl said it was an accident and that he didn’t know the gun was loaded.

“This was a preventable death that could easily have been avoided if two of the most basic gun safety maxims had been followed,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. “You should always assume a gun is loaded and you should never point a gun at another person.”

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