MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Princeton man is facing neglect charges after his 14-year-old son was shot and killed in their home last May.
Daniel Lee Nelson, 34, was charged in Mille Lacs County Court with negligent storage of firearms and two counts of child endangerment in connection with the incident.
According to a criminal complaint, Princeton police were called at about 3:52 p.m. on May 15, 2017, to a residence on a report that someone had suffered a gunshot wound. When officers arrived, they found a juvenile male who was frantic.
Once inside the home, officers found a 14-year-old boy in a supine position on the floor with blood on his shirt in the center of his chest. The boy, identified as Eric Nelson, had been shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The complaint states an officer was approached by an adult male outside the residence, identified as Taylor Beaudoin. He handed the officer two handguns. He told police he entered the basement of the home and got the two guns. One was a pistol and the other was a pellet gun. Both were loaded.
Eric Nelson’s father, Daniel Nelson, soon arrived home and officers told him his son was dead. Daniel Nelson told police is was the first day he had forgotten his gun at home.
The complaint states Beaudoin told police he heard pounding on his door, and it was a boy who told him he shot his friend. Beaudoin got the gun from the boy and also found a black pistol in the basement.
Daniel Nelson’s wife told police he has two guns in the home, a rifle and a .45-caliber handgun. She said he usually has the handgun on his waist, but said he left it in the entryway that day. She said he sometimes leaves the handgun on a counter upstairs, but unloaded.
The complaint states Daniel Nelson told police he carries it during the day, and leaves it on his nightstand when sleeping. He said he forgot the gun that day and left it on a stand near the entryway. He said he spoke with his son at about 3:18 p.m., who said he was getting a ride home from a friend’s dad that day. He told him to get in through a window because the doors were locked.
The boy with Eric Nelson told police he grabbed two airsoft guns after getting inside the home that Nelson said were unloaded. He said Eric Nelson showed him three black guns, and he got a gun from somewhere in the house and brought it to his bedroom.
Daniel Nelson faces up to three years in prison and $9,000 in fines.