Minneapolis police confirm a 2-year-old boy is dead after he was shot by his 4-year-old brother on Wednesday afternoon.
Sgt. Steve McCarty confirmed police responded to reports of a shooting at 1907 7th Street South at about 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday. Responding officers found the toddler suffering from a critical gunshot wound.
Emergency responders loaded the boy into an ambulance, but he died at the scene. The victim's identity has not yet been released.
Police say the 4-year-old was playing with a handgun he found in a bedroom when the shooting occurred. Family members say they aren't sure how the boy found the handgun his father kept hidden on a shelf in the closet.
Sgt. William Palmer confirmed both parents were both home at the time of the shooting. Three of the couple's children -- 1-year-old, 4-year-old, and a 5-year-old that was not home at the time -- are now in protective custody.
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, a 4-year-old cannot be charged with a crime; however, it is a crime to store a loaded gun in a way that a child could gain access to it.
In a release, the Minneapolis Police Department issued a reminder that it is the gun owner's responsibility to ensure their firearms are locked up to prevent tragic accidents. They offer the following recommendations:
Michelle Prestegard told FOX 9 News she cried so hard she doesn't have any tears left.
"I'm home taking care of my 11-month-old grandson -- I was sobbing," she recalled. "I've seen a lot of bad things in this neighborhood, but to see a child on the ground like that. It's just horrible."
Prestegard watched as the paramedics tried to revive the boy, whom family members identified as Neengnco Xiong.
"The paramedics were performing CPR, pumping his chest, for quite a while. They picked him off the ground; he was limp. I knew it was bad," she said.