Kao Xiong, father of 4-year-old who fatally shot 2-year-old brother, charged with two felonies
Xiong's boys were playing when his 4-year-old accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old brother (pictured above).
Kao Xiong left a loaded semi-automatic pistol with no safety wedged between pillows and a mattress in his home's master bedroom. On December 5, his 4-year-old son grabbed the gun and accidentally shot his 2-year-old brother in the stomach. The boy later died.
Yesterday, Xiong, 31, was charged with two felonies in connection with the tragedy -- second-degree manslaughter and child endangerment. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
A WCCO report provides details about the shockingly unsecured state of the firearms in Xiong's Cedar-Riverside area townhome:
The gun was one of at least eight firearms Kao Xiong was keeping inside the home, including bolt action and semi-automatic rifles. One of the guns at the residence had been reported stolen from a residence connected with Kao Xiong and was used in an armed robbery last year before being returned to its owner (someone who was not Kao Xiong, police said).
Kao Xiong told police that he lives in a separate address from his wife and children, which is where the shooting happened.
He said that he put the gun, which he brought to the house in a holster, underneath the mattress because he couldn't take his gun to work with him at an area mental health clinic. He told police he'd never put the gun in that spot before, but his wife said that he stored the gun there regularly.
According to WCCO, Xiong told police he had the guns for hunting purposes.
The day after the tragedy, Xiong did a brief interview with KARE 11.
"The number one issue is lock your gun every time," Xiong said, adding that what happened the day before was "terrible."
"This will change my life," he told KARE. "The world is totally different."
Unfortunately, thanks to the felony charges, Xiong may have to experience his tragically altered world from behind bars for some time.
In a news conference yesterday, Hennepin County Mike Freeman addressed the difficulty of charging a parent who has just lost a child.
"It's hard to charge a case in which a parent has suffered the most tragic condiditon known to parenthood -- the loss of a child -- but the laws are there for a reason," Freeman said, according to the Star Tribune. "This is senseless."
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