MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 17-year-old has been charged in connection with an incident where his 2-month-old nephew was shot in the neck in a north Minneapolis home last Thursday, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
James Devone Early was charged in the juvenile system with reckless discharge of a firearm, but the Attorney’s Office is working to certify him as an adult.
According to the criminal complaint, Early took a .38 caliber handgun to his brother’s home that night. His brother took the gun, removed the ammunition and told Early not to have the gun around the baby.
However, minutes later, Early pulled the trigger and the gun went off.
Police spokeswoman Cyndi Barrington said the child was with his father outside a home on the city’s north side. Barrington said the father reported hearing a bang and then noticing his son had been hit in the neck.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says Early ran from the home and family members initially covered for him, telling police the baby had been the victim of a drive-by shooting.
Freeman says the baby’s father eventually joined other family members and said that Early was the actual shooter.
Before turning himself in, Early posted on his Facebook page: “I’m sorry all my loved ones but accidents do happen but I’ll be a man about mine.”
Early later told investigators that he thought the gun was in “safe mode.”
Freeman says the baby still has the bullet lodged in his neck because doctors thought it was too risky to remove it.